It also kept IU’s unblemished record in weekday games intact, moving to 8-0 so far this season.
Sophomore catcher Kyle Schwarber said that winning midweek games helps improve the team’s RPI, a computerized ranking system used to help determine whether a team is worthy of making the NCAA Tournament.
“It’s something that we need to take care of and I felt that we didn’t take care of last year,” he said. “This team’s just got a whole new demeanor about themselves from last year. It’s given us momentum, especially going into the weekend coming off a win.”
One run per inning in the first three innings provided the Hoosiers an early 3-0 lead.
Xavier scored once in the third as Musketeers’ catcher Derek Hasenbeck hit an RBI single back up the middle, but IU broke the game open in the fifth as sophomore designated hitter Ricky Alfonso doubled down the right field line to drive home sophomore first baseman Sam Travis and senior shortstop Michael Basil.
Alfonso’s double drove in two of the first three IU runs in the fifth frame, as the score expanded to 6-1 in the team’s favor.
“I was just trying to put the ball in play,” Alfonso said. “I was fortunate. He left a change-up up and I was just able to get a good piece of it.”
Sophomore right fielder Will Nolden followed with an RBI groundout, and sophomore second baseman Chad Clark’s RBI single pushed the lead to 8-1.
Senior center fielder Justin Cureton fouled out to first baseman Joe Forney to end the top half of the fifth inning.
The Musketeers responded with four runs in their half of the fifth, as sophomore reliever Luke Harrison struggled to keep his pitches down, IU Coach Tracy Smith said. The Hoosiers also had two errors in the inning.
“We didn’t play real solid defense behind him,” Smith said.
Freshman starter Will Coursen-Carr went three innings, his shortest start of his young career. He surrendered one run on three hits, striking out one and walking two Musketeers. Smith said he wanted to make sure the Fort Wayne native was fresh for this weekend’s series against Illinois.
Schwarber hit his Big-Ten leading seventh home run on a 3-0 offering in the third inning. He said his barrel ran into a pitch and “It happened to go out. It’s not really a big deal.”
Junior reliever Walker Stadler said there was a little bit of sense of winning this game for their teammates from Cincinnati, as Basil played his last scheduled game in his hometown.
“It was one of our goals at the beginning of the season to focus on those midweek games, because last year we didn’t fare so well,” Stadler said. “This year, one of our goals is to get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and part of that is winning the midweek games, because every game counts.”
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