Matt Carr made it into the fifth inning before the seams ripped off a makeshift midweek pitching lineup.
The sophomore hurler had only allowed two runs through the fourth inning of IU’s 9-6 loss against Miami (Ohio).
That was all for naught.
In the next third of an inning, Carr pitched the bases loaded, walked home two runs and gave up a sac fly to Miami first baseman Tommy Nurre for an RBI and third run.
The Hoosiers would never recover and neither would Carr.
Nurre was the last batter Carr faced before handing the ball to IU coach Tracy Smith and walking at a slow, measured pace toward the dugout with his head tilted downward, hat facing the grass.
“I was disappointed and just thought he was very timid today on the mound,” Smith said of Carr. “I am sick and tired of losing these midweek baseball games when I know we’re better than that.”
Fed up with his team’s weekday outings – IU has lost its last three midweek games – Smith said he isn’t too excited about them becoming upperclassmen.
“These opportunities are to get guys reps that don’t get them on the weekend to prepare them for next year,” Smith said. “And I don’t like what I’m seeing.”
It was once again upon the Hoosiers offense to produce as the pitching staff chronically placed batters on base.
Designated hitter Alex Dickerson dug into the strike zone from his high batting position and pummeled a two-run home run. The ball flew over the Sembower Field wall and drifted toward the IU Softball Field, where it fell just shy of the scoreboard.
That home run brought the game to a 2-2 tie in the fourth inning.
After another run scored in the fifth inning, outfielder Kipp Schutz made an awkward play on a foul ball that fought to evade his glove, mirroring the inning put together by the Miami lineup. The score had abruptly leaped from 2-2, with Miami picking up a four-run lead.
Junior catcher Josh Phegley would not be outdone.
He stood in a low stance, forcing the bat to dance around his helmet, before he jumped on a fast ball that sailed through the rain into left field. The three-RBI home run trimmed Miami’s lead to 7-6 in the bottom of the seventh inning.
IU’s near-comeback was short-lived.
Schutz hit a fly ball to left field and Miami’s Chris Nadeau fell on the wet grass. He still made the catch to end the seventh, displaying the ball to all of Sembower Field from his backside.
Freshman pitcher Matt Igel did his best to give IU a chance to resurface. He threw two innings and only allowed three hits. After throwing two errant balls in the eighth inning, his day on the hill was cut short.
Igel had faith in the offense when he trotted off the field. The entire team knew the Hoosier batters could bring a game within IU’s reach, no matter the score, Igel said.
Tuesday was not one of those days.
The RedHawks went on to score two runs in the ninth inning, building a lead the Hoosiers failed to overcome. IU popped up on consecutive at-bats to end the game.
Constantly losing in midweek contests is draining, Phegley said.
“It does take a little bit out of you,” Phegley said, “to come to the park and leave looking at the scoreboard when you’re on the tail end of it.”
IU is still fighting for the postseason. The team is 10-4 in conference but 10-18 otherwise, a mark Phegley seemed baffled by.
“It’s almost like a two-sided season,” Phegley said. “We go into the weekend differently. If we had the same approach in the midweek, we might come out a little better off.”