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Tuesday, April 16
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

Hoosiers seek redemption after early season loss to Cardinals

Freshman Reliever Drew Leininger throws the last pitch of the first game of IU's double header with Penn State on Saturday afternoon. This strike cemented the Hoosier's 12th strikeout.

IU had finally begun to grasp the concept of winning – then Louisville came along.

It didn’t matter that the Hoosiers had won five of six heading into Jim Patterson Stadium on April 7, when they suffered a 15-1 drubbing at the hands of the Cardinals.
Now, two weeks later, IU has found consistency. It has tallied eight Big Ten wins and a second-place conference standing.

The Hoosiers will get another shot at the Cardinals at 4 p.m. today on Sembower Field at their most stable point in the season.  

“They put a pretty good whooping on us,” junior shortstop Jake Dunning said. “We just have to keep the ball down. We kept leaving the ball up there, and they kept hitting it.”

A collection of young pitchers gave up 16 hits and 15 runs against the Cardinals.
The Hoosiers went through four pitchers in the game. The bulk of the runs came against freshman pitcher Drew Leininger, who lasted only three and one-third innings but gave up nine earned runs.

Sophomore Kyle Leiendecker also accounted for five runs on four hits.

At times, IU has been inconsistent in offense and defense. The Louisville game was its only showing where the pitchers, hitters and defense struggled.  

The team as a whole has improved since the Louisville contest. They have seen the resurgence of former ace and junior Matt Bashore and an improved batting average.

Seven of the nine batters in the regular rotation are batting above .300, and the starting pitching has racked up wins every weekend.  

Other improvements have come in the infield. Juniors Dunning and Tyler Rogers made several impressive plays in leading IU to its third straight conference series win this weekend and caught the eye of their coach.   

IU coach Tracy Smith has consistently stressed the fundamentals of the game all season. While much goes into making a pitch or hitting a home run, Smith uses a simple philosophy when approaching wins.

“It’s very important that they play well for us,” Smith said of Dunning and Rogers. “If you pitch it, and you play good defense, you give yourself a chance to win. And that’s really been the key to our season at this point.”

Tomorrow’s game is proving ground for the young pitchers, Smith said.

While IU has improved, the team’s young pitchers continue to struggle. The midweek pitchers maintain a collective ERA of 11.67, a number improved by junior pitcher Chris Squires’ 4.25 ERA.

Freshmen Leininger, Matt Igel and Wyatt Hoff all have an ERA of 18.00, after making multiple appearances.

A lack of run support didn’t help the inexperienced players on the incline. IU scored only one run, the last of which came in the eighth inning with the game well out of reach at 13-0.

“The old term used is ‘midweek pitching,’” Smith said. “Some of the younger kids really need to step it up, and see this as a wonderful opportunity to go out and develop and help this team win.”

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