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Rutgers Baseball drops pair to No. 17 Indiana

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The Scarlet Knights lost the first two games of the pod to the Hoosiers and will prepare for Nebraska on Sunday and Monday.

(Ben Solomon/Rutgers Athletics)

Rutgers entered the weekend on a five-game win streak preparing to host a three-team, four-day pod at Bainton Field.

It began when the Scarlet Knights faced No. 17 Indiana. The Hoosiers came in as the top team in the Big Ten and handled Rutgers 8-3 in the opener on Friday. Ace Harry Rutkowski allowed just two earned runs in seven innings pitched but the bullpen was unable to contain the Hoosiers, allowing six runs in the 8th inning.

With a trip to the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2007 being an attainable goal, it was important for Rutgers to bounce back on Saturday.

Mike Nyisztor was up for the challenge but Indiana was able to prevail 5-3 in 11 innings over the Scarlet Knights.

For much of the afternoon, it did not look promising for Rutgers at the dish. McCade Brown carried a perfect game into the seventh inning before Nyistzor launched a solo shot to left field to put his team up 1-0. Despite the lackluster effort at the dish over the first seven innings, Rutgers stayed even as Ben Wereski was incredible.

The left-hander worked seven shutout innings while allowing just two hits and striking out six. The Hoosiers were happy to see Wereski exit the game after 94 pitches. Indiana would score runs in each of the final three innings to secure the victory. It began when Collin Hopkins delivered a game-tying RBI single with two outs in the top of the ninth.

The Hoosiers would get two more in the top of the 10th on a Jeremy Houston single and a Grant Richardson groundout. The never-say-die instinct of the Scarlet Knights kicked in during the bottom half of the inning.

Rutgers was able to load the bases with nobody out as Chris Brito walked to begin the inning followed by two straight walks. Braden Scott would strikeout the next two batters and was close to getting out of a jam and ending the game. Nyistzor, who had a great game in the field as well, would strike again with a two-RBI single to right field to tie the game.

Indiana answered in a big way in the top of the 11th when Jordan Fucci delivered a two-run homer to put the Hoosiers on top for good. Braydon Tucker got the final three outs for Indiana.

This would have been a huge victory for Rutgers but they still have a chance to salvage the weekend with matchups against Nebraska on Sunday and Monday. RU swept the Cornhuskers in Lincoln last weekend. The Scarlet Knights are now 17-15 on the year, which is good for seventh in the Big Ten.