In a game which featured the first signature offensive performance of the season from junior utility player Matt Lloyd, it was the consistency of sophomore pitcher Cal Krueger that gave IU, 4-1 overall, its fourth-straight win.
Pitching for the third time this season out of the bullpen, Krueger maintained his 0 ERA and picked up his third win of 2018.
Like most of IU’s games this season, the 7-6 win against Rutgers was a back-and-forth affair.
Momentum swings occurred often in Port Charlotte, Florida, as the Scarlet Knights kept clawing back against the Hoosiers.
IU junior starting pitcher Jonathan Stiever showed improvements from his first outing of the season against Oklahoma, which remains IU’s only loss.
Stiever pitched 5.2 innings against Rutgers and was charged with four runs. He escaped a bases-loaded, no-outs situation in the second inning by giving up just one run, which allowed the Hoosiers to maintain an early lead.
The lead was provided via small ball from Coach Chris Lemonis’ team. Junior infielder Luke Miller twice recorded RBI groundouts while sophomore infielder Jeremy Houston recorded a run-scoring sacrifice bunt during the game’s first three innings.
IU led Rutgers 5-2 when Stiever was replaced by freshman pitcher Nick Eaton in the sixth. Eaton faced just one batter, and walked him, before Lemonis brought in senior pitcher Brian Hobbie.
Hobbie allowed a two-run single in the inning, which brought the Scarlet Knights within one run of the Hoosiers.
A pair of freshman combined to stretch the IU lead to 6-4 in the seventh, as infielder Cole Barr singled to score outfielder Sam Crail. It was Barr’s first hit and RBI as a Hoosier.
However, Rutgers tied the game at 6 in the eighth after Hobbie got into trouble by allowing two batters to reach base. Krueger entered the game and allowed a two-run double, but also struck out two batters to avoid further damage.
IU responded in its half of the eighth, loading the bases with junior outfielder Logan Kaletha, Lloyd and senior outfielder Logan Sowers.
This meant Lloyd posted three hits and a drawn walk in the game.
Junior infielder Cade Bunnell drew a walk to score the go-ahead run.
Krueger then struck out two more Scarlet Knights in the ninth to seal the victory. He now leads the country in wins with three.
IU will continue the Snowbird Baseball Classic tomorrow afternoon against Boston College.
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