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Baseball snaps losing streak as Pauly Milto returns to starting role



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Junior infielder Luke Miller takes a swing against Cincinnati on March 6 at Bart Kaufman Field. Miller hit two home runs Thursday night as IU beat Maryland, 6-5. Bobby Goddin Buy Photos

IU baseball's struggles since the end of April have coincided with injuries suffered by two of the team's most important players — junior infielder Luke Miller and junior pitcher Pauly Milto.

Miller returned to the starting lineup after dealing with a foot injury during last weekend's series at Minnesota, while Milto made his first start in nearly a month due to arm soreness Saturday at Nebraska.

Both players made significant contributions Saturday as the Hoosiers beat the Cornhuskers, 6-3, to put an end to the losing streak for IU. Prior to Saturday's win, IU had lost seven consecutive games on the road and five consecutive games overall.

While Friday night's loss featured missed opportunities for IU at the plate, it was Nebraska's turn to be wasteful on offense Saturday. 

Despite loading the bases against Milto in the bottom of the first, Nebraska scored just one run on a sacrifice fly. It was the only time Nebraska led in the game. 

A solo home run to right field by freshman catcher Drew Ashley, who played second base Saturday, tied the game in the second. In the fourth, IU exploded for four runs off two swings of the bat.

First, Miller sent a three-run home run, his first homer since March 17, into the right field seats. Sophomore infielder Scotty Bradley followed with a solo home run to right field as the next IU batter after Miller. It marked the third time this season IU hit back-to-back home runs.

Ashley also singled and scored a run in the top of the fifth, capping the scoring for the Hoosiers.

Milto settled down after the first and pitched 6.2 innings in the game, earning his first victory since April 7. He allowed five hits and also struck out five batters.

Junior utility player Matt Lloyd entered the game to pitch for IU in the ninth, with the three-run margin of victory allowing Lloyd to pick up a save. It was his fourth save of the season, and only the 10th time all season he pitched in a game.

IU and Nebraska will conclude the series at 12:05 p.m. Sunday. Junior Tim Herrin will be IU's starting pitcher.

Cameron Drummond

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