WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana — Adversity was the word IU Coach Chris Lemonis used to describe the skid IU baseball has recently run into.
After a 5-3 nonconference defeat to Purdue on Wednesday, IU is on its first three-game losing streak since early April of last season.
“Not taking care of the game itself — we’re beating ourselves,” Lemonis said. “We’re walking guys at the wrong time and not making plays. Other teams are taking advantage of it.”
Against the Boilermakers, IU gave up six walks.
Since last week against Ball State, IU pitching has now walked five or more batters in three of its last five games.
“Hopefully we can get back out there and command the zone and play great defense,” Lemonis said.
The Hoosiers, who own the best earned run average in the nation, have now given up five or more runs in three of their last four games.
A large part of the pitching struggles comes from the absence of junior starter Pauly Milto.
The usual Saturday starter for IU missed his scheduled start against Ohio State last weekend as he deals with a sore arm.
Lemonis is still unsure of when Milto will return, but his absence has forced IU to use its bullpen much more.
Milto has pitched six or more innings this season in six of his nine starts.
Including last Saturday’s game against Ohio State, no IU starter has made it through the fifth inning.
“It bounced everybody in a different spot,” Lemonis said. “It’s changed some stuff. We had two games in the midweek last week, everybody got stretched.”
Most teams enter a stretch where they need to deal with adversity, but regardless Lemonis hopes IU can get past it quickly.
“I don’t like adversity,” Lemonis said. “I would rather play well all the time, but it happens.”
A week ago, IU defeated Ball State in extra innings to improve its in-state record to 9-1.
It was evident that IU had established itself atop the state, however, the Hoosiers will now have to prove themselves against the Big Ten.
IU will open a stretch of 12 conference games in its next 14 matchups.
With questions still surrounding the health of Milto, IU’s pitching will need to find a way to bring the fifth-place Hoosiers up in the conference standings.
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