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Sunday, Dec. 10
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

IU to face recent rival in Louisville

Shortstop Jake Dunning fields a ground ball at practice March 26 at Sembower Field. The baseball team will play Louisville at 4 p.m. today on the road.

Fresh from its first Big Ten series win, IU (12-16, 3-2) will travel to Louisville (20-9, 5-4) for the first of four contests in a game-filled week.

The Hoosiers will take Jim Patterson Stadium at 4 p.m. today in Louisville having won five of their last six games.

IU and Louisville have faced off four times in the past two seasons, with the Cardinals walking away with three wins. Junior catcher Josh Phegley said the two teams have competed fiercely.

“We’ve gone back and forth with them in the past years,” Phegley said. “We’re going to have to show up to play. They have a great team, so there won’t be any slouches on the mound for midweek pitching.”

IU coach Tracy Smith’s club has a much-improved defense and pitching staff, which will have to perform valiantly for IU to pull an upset against one of the Big East’s best teams.

A key to that will be junior shortstop Jake Dunning, who has fortified a once-struggling infield still slightly prone to committing errors. The infield is a work in process, but the major difference has come in the win column. Smith said Dunning made an immediate impact at shortstop.

“He has settled in really nicely,” Smith said. “But that’s what we got him for, and we expected him to be successful.”

In the third or fourth inning of many games, IU often allows a big hit or commits a damaging error. That has not been the case in its most impressive stint of the season.
The team has consistently scored early in contests and kept leads, a feat it once failed to accomplish.

“We’re going to score if guys come out with confidence and get that momentum flowing,” junior pitcher Matt Bashore said. “Every day, we feel like we’re going to get runs.”

IU gained as many runs as it has all season against Illinois, putting up 14 runs in its game one win in Champaign, Ill. But IU reverted to its old ways and then allowed Illinois to come back for a 5-4 win.

The loss ended IU’s longest streak of the year. After the game, junior pitcher Eric Arnett said his team will focus on the task at hand.

“We lost a tough one (Saturday),” he said. “But I don’t think we’ll look into this loss too hard. I think we’ll go into Louisville and continue what we have been doing.”

Smith said his team won’t take the field with a black-and-white, win-or-lose mentality. Rather, it will collectively place its energy on being as poised as possible.

“The one thing we’ve been lacking is a little bit of swagger and confidence,” Smith said. “We don’t want to be too concerned about win or lose. We want to play as well as we can that day.”

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