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Tuesday, April 23
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Indiana, Purdue renew baseball rivalry

Hitting, pitching and defense are the fundamentals the baseball team wants to improve upon when it plays Purdue this weekend at Sembower Field.\n"We're going to have to pitch good, play good defense," sophomore third baseman Vasili Spanos said. "We're going to have to hit the ball. That's plain and simple. We need to do that against a good team."\nThe baseball team has lost 15 of its last 20 games and is batting only .278 in the Big Ten, compared to opponents' .316. Meanwhile, Purdue has won 17 of its last 20 games and faces an IU team with a 6.35 ERA. The Hoosiers also haven't had a game without an error in three weeks.\nIt won't get any easier for the troubled Hoosiers (20-23, 3-12 Big Ten). The Boilermakers (24-17, 14-4) are half a game behind first-place Minnesota in the Big Ten and ranked 29th in the nation by Collegiate Baseball. \n"They're having a good year," Spanos said. "It looks like they're doing everything right, according to their record."\nWhile Purdue has been surging to the top of the Big Ten, the Hoosiers have been doing just about everything wrong. IU hasn't won more than one game in a weekend series and could have its first losing season under coach Bob Morgan.\nThe Boilermakers are batting .313 and best the Hoosiers with a team ERA of 5.56. They began their season by knocking off No. 11 Rice. This past week Purdue crushed Valparaiso 13-6, but fell to Xavier 6-5. The Hoosiers had the week off after dropping two of three games to Eastern Kentucky over the weekend.\nJunior Brad Edwards (1-5, 6.63 ERA) is scheduled to start Friday's game, and senior Nick Otte (7-3, 4.86 ERA) will pitch the first game of Saturday doubleheader. Sophomore Jacob Cary (0-3, 5.15) is slated to start Saturday's nightcap, and junior Matt Rice (1-3, 4.84) will conclude the series Sunday.\nIU pitchers have allowed opposing batters to hit .297, and the Hoosiers must throw strikes to have a realistic chance of quieting the Boilermakers.\n"We just have to throw strikes, cut down on our walks and hit-batsmen," sophomore reliever Nick Vitielliss said. "We need to go out there with the mentality that we're going to get the batters out. I think if we're going to throw strikes, we're definitely going to get the batters out."\nWhile the Hoosiers have struggled as a team, a few individuals are harvesting success in the conference. Senior second baseman Dan Haegele registered his 200th career hit against Northwestern April 15, and Spanos is on a nine-game hitting streak. Senior outfielder Blake St. Clair ranks among the top 10 in the conference in seven categories, including second in RBI with 44.\n"Compared to last year, this is another year of maturity, mentally and physically, which has helped put me to a higher level of play," St. Clair said.\nFor the Hoosiers to play at a higher level, St. Clair said his team must refine the fundamentals of baseball.\n"One game we'll have hitting, one game we'll have pitching and no hitting," he said. "We just have to put them both together and play some defense too and win some ballgames"

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