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IDS Writer Matt Byrne Here, Hoosiers Just Keep On Winning

Matthew Byrne

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Hi everyone, I'm Matt Byrne, the Indiana baseball beat writer for the Indiana Daily Student. Impressive week for Indiana's freshmen, huh? Ethan Phillips looked fantastic in the win over top-15 Louisville, Devin Taylor keeps doing Devin Taylor things with that 400-foot-plus HR in his homecoming victory at Cincy. Tyler Cerny also homered, continuing to break out from his minor slump from April 7-15. Brayden Risedorph, much like Phillips, threw four scoreless at Cincy. Head coach Jeff Mercer has talked about taking great pride in high school playersit's working. Remember that Carter Mathison, Josh Pyne, and Brock Tibbitts are only sophomoresand knocked the cover off the ball last season. 

I've been curious about what's different in this year's team. Yes, numerous players are performing great. But, what's it like behind the scenes? I asked Mercer, who said players are dead-set on not repeating last year's 27-32 seasonwhich featured no sweeps and poor losses. Starting CF Bobby Whalen has been vocal in that, among other veterans. In private one-on-one conversations with players, Mercer has said the message is generally the same: no one cares about rankings or standings; they just want to win. I want to pull an anecdote from the VERY TIMELY series-clinching win against Iowa, on April 9. Tyler Cerny's error in the 8th inning allowed the go-ahead run to score, putting Iowa up 2-1 in the series-deciding game. 

Mercer: "(Cerny) makes the next play, and he comes in the dugout. I just told him I was like, just move on... He's upset, and he's frustrated, and he wants to winTyler is super competitive. You got three or four guys before I can even get the words out of my mouth, say the same thing (move on), and he ends up getting on base and then starts the double play that essentially wins the game in the ninth inning." Cerny almost grounded into an inning-ending double play in that bottom half of the 8th inning, but sprinted to beat it out. Indiana then scored three runs to complete one of their many comeback wins. Indiana's Sunday wins at Auburn and Texas to open the season (after losing the first two games of both series) should've hinted at the team's come-from-behind mantra this year. The freshman class is outstanding, likely inspired by the upperclassmen not wanting to repeat last year. 

The pitching staff has also vastly improved from last year, and is less prone to those free-base snowball innings. I can only recall that happening once this season in the 12-2 midweek loss to an excellent Kentucky team. That happened a bunch last yearIndiana's 27th and final win came on May 28, 2022. It's April 20Indiana is 27-11. Talk about an excellent turnaround (so far). The Hoosiers have received tons of love recently, especially after the top-15 Louisville win. Numerous outlets forecast Indiana as one of the top-16 seeds to host an NCAA Regional. Please don't kick me out, but I don't see that happening. There are plenty of lower-RPI teams Indiana has yet to play, lowering the strength of their schedule. Indiana has to come very close to basically winning-out to host. Still, it's been an incredible season thus far and getting back to the NCAAs since 2019 would be a fantastic accomplishment. 

Here are some articles I've written this season! 

‘Want to be where they need me’: Phillips’ outing pushes Indiana past No. 12 Louisville 7-3

Indiana baseball walks off Iowa 2-0 with Colopy’s home run, Sinnard’s shutout start

Phillip Glasser’s batting numbers personify Indiana baseball’s 15-0 stretch at home

‘Too tough to quit’: Tibbitts has multi-hit game in 15-5 win after breaking nose Friday

‘Unstoppable force’: transfer Luke Sinnard at the forefront of Indiana’s rotation


Matt Byrne

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