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Baseball loses second-straight game at home



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Second baseman Matt Lloyd throws the ball to first base to make the out against Cincinnati on Tuesday, March 6, at Bart Kaufman Field. Lloyd recorded an RBI single in Wednesday's win at Indiana State. Anna Tiplick Buy Photos

Since returning home to Bloomington after 11 neutral site and road games to start the 2018 season, IU's offense has gone cold.

The Hoosiers posted just five hits in both Tuesday's 8-3 loss to Cincinnati and Friday's 2-1 loss to Pacific at Bart Kaufman Field.

Junior utility player Matt Lloyd posted four hits, including three doubles, against Pacific, but junior outfielder Logan Kaletha was the only other IU player to record a hit.

"From an offensive perspective, we just haven't shown up this week," IU Coach Chris Lemonis said. "We've been really good all year, then all of a sudden, just nothing. Not just hits but not execution, either."

Lloyd's second double of the game, which came in the third inning, scored Kaletha for IU's lone run.

His third double in the ninth gave the Hoosiers a chance to tie the game and force extra innings. However, Lloyd was replaced as a runner at second base by freshman Justin Walker, who was picked off by Pacific senior pitcher Cooper Casad for the game's penultimate out.

"In this scenario, you can't get picked off," Lemonis said. "He just hasn't been out there too much. He's going to be a great player, just a tough play." 

While IU struggled to hit at the plate, it's starting pitching was dominant.

Junior pitcher Jonathan Stiever pitched a season-high eight innings while allowing just one run and striking out a career-high 12 batters.

"I was able to get ahead, for the most part, besides the first inning," Stiever said. "It's a lot easier to pitch when you're ahead in the count and being able to let the defense play behind you."

Stiever has been a consistent strikeout presence for IU this season, as he now leads the team with 32 strikeouts this season. He walked only two batters as well during Friday's game.

"Jon Stiever pitched his heart out," Lemonis said.

After throwing 108 pitches, Stiever was replaced to start the ninth inning by sophomore pitcher Cal Krueger, who allowed three hits, one walk and the eventual game-deciding run.

The hits, run and walk all came after Krueger had retired the first two Pacific batters of the inning.

With runners on first and second and two outs, Krueger got Pacific sophomore center fielder Keaton Glover to hit the ball to IU sophomore shortstop Jeremy Houston.

Houston hesitated after he fielded the ball, though, and threw the ball late to freshman first baseman Elijah Dunham to try and get the third out. While this happened, the Pacific runner at second base, freshman Wyatt Hoffman, rounded third base and ran to home plate.

Dunham's throw to junior catcher Ryan Fineman was off target, and Hoffman was safe at home.

"I gotta go back and see it," IU Coach Chris Lemonis said of the play. "I still don't know what happened."

It was the first run of the season allowed by Krueger.

IU has now lost its first two home games of the 2018 season, although the Hoosiers still have eight straight nonconference home games in Bloomington before Big Ten play starts next weekend, including two more games against Pacific on Saturday and Sunday. 

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