Brad Hartong is coming on for the Indiana baseball team.
The former junior college All-American from Long Beach, Calif. has made four starts in a row. In those four games he has five hits and has scored seven runs. He also has eight RBI.
Wednesday night, Hartong was 2-for-4 including a two-run homer and had four RBI to help lead the Indiana baseball team to an 8-4 victory over Indiana State in non-conference action at Bart Kaufman Field.
"He has been getting more confidence and truthfully more opportunity,'' Indiana baseball coach Tracy Smith said of Hartong. "I thought he was big. I thought he kind of set the tone there and opened things up for us.
"He had a big hit for us Sunday against Iowa and it was nice to see him kind of carry over that confidence and momentum a little bit.''
IU had another offensive explosion with eight runs and 12 hits. The Hoosiers have now had at least nine hits in each of their last eight games.
Indiana (19-10) has now won seven in a row. IU's last loss was a 12-8 decision to the same Indiana State team on March 26. The Hoosiers are back in action this weekend when they play host to Morehead State in a three-game series.
Thomas Belcher pitched four innings of mid-game relief to pick up his first victory for the Hoosiers. Scott Effross came on to retire three batters in the ninth.
IU used the long ball to break the game open beginning in the fourth. With the score tied 1-1, Hartong hit a two-run homer to left field plating Dustin DeMuth to put IU up 3-1.
In the fifth, it was Big Ten player of the week Sam Travis who pounded a three-run homer to right center to put Indiana on top 6-1. In the seventh, Hartong had a two RBI single to right to build the lead to 8-1.
"I just think as a team we've been really hitting the ball well lately,'' Travis said. "I saw a couple of good pitches today and was able to hit the ball hard.''
Travis was 2-for-5 with three RBI. Casey Rodrigue was a third IU player to have two hits Wednesday.
Indiana State (21-9) would score three in the top of the eighth but the Hoosiers held on for the victory.
Brian Korte got the start for IU, going the first three innings and allowing one run. Belcher pitched the next four, becoming the pitcher of record.
"I was really pleased with Brian's start,'' Smith said. "And we could have gone more with him but the plan was to try and break things up. I thought Brian Korte was really good and then Thomas Belcher came in and threw strikes. And that was good to see because neither one of those guys has really had the ball a lot lately.''
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch