Indiana allows 4 home runs and 11 walks in 12-6 loss to No. 1 Tennessee

Indiana allows 4 home runs and 11 walks in 12-6 loss to No. 1 Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee is ranked number one in the country for many very viable reasons. They can hit you very well without help, thank you very much.

And when you start handing out gifts to the Vols left and right, well, that’s a recipe for disaster. That was certainly the case for Indiana Saturday night at the NCAA baseball regional tournament in Knoxville. They were defeated 12-6 by the Vols, who took advantage of 11 walks and two hits in the loss.

The Volunteers, who lead the nation in home runs, hit four more on Saturday. That’s never a good thing, but when you consider that six of his other runs came on walks or hit batters just before home runs, that was a big deal.

Indiana made it too easy. Too easy.

“Tennessee is a great team and they’re number one for a reason. But the difference really was the free bases on our part,” Indiana coach Jeff Mercer said. “You have to give them credit, they forced the issue and forced us to intervene.” that aspect. They did not expand, they did not pursue. They made good counts and did a lot of damage when they got there.

The loss forces Indiana to win on Sunday. Their day will begin with a rematch against Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles, who lost 10-4 to Indiana on Friday, beat Northern Kentucky 6-0 on Saturday afternoon to stay alive. The game will begin at noon ET and will be available only on the ESPN-Plus streaming app. If they win, they will have to come back and beat Tennessee at 6 pm ET.

It was a tough night for Indiana starting pitcher Connor Foley. He has a high-90s fastball and can be overwhelming at times, but he’s also just a sophomore and has dealt with the wild all season, walking 42 spotters in 60 innings entering Saturday.

He walked seven and hit one batter in just 2 1/3 innings of work. He threw 91 pitches (only 44 strikes) and allowed eight runs, all earned. Tennessee scored four runs in the second and five in the third to take a 9-0 lead.

“Connor is a fantastic talent, but it’s an issue he’s struggled with all year,” Mercer said of Foley. “I thought he kept his composure well and competed, just to continue developing more skills. He’s still pretty new to pitching and this is something he has to continue to struggle with. All credit to them. They have a great offense and can make you pay when you’re going through an offensive like that.

“Solo home runs don’t usually beat you, but free bases hurt and they took advantage of that.”

The Hoosiers got a three-run homer from designated hitter Devin Taylor in the third inning and scored another run in the fourth after Tyler Cerny was hit by a pitch and scored on Carter Mathison’s double.

They threatened to get back into the game, but left the bases loaded in the fourth inning and two more in the fifth. They scored twice in the eighth on RBIs from Josh Pyne and Morgan Colopy.

Tennessee is now 52-11 on the season and 36-3 at home. They have won five consecutive regionals that they have hosted and appear to be headed for another. Indiana fell to 33-25-1.