Down 3-2 in the eighth inning Sunday against Purdue, junior outfielder Evan Crawford stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs.
Though he swung for the fences, the hard-hit fly ball was caught in center field to end the Hoosiers’ best offensive chance to win the game and earn their fifth consecutive Big Ten series.
The 5-2 loss for IU was the second in three games against the Boilermakers and dropped the Hoosiers’ record to 22-24, 11-6 in the conference.
“Our starting pitching and defense is what has been carrying us through the Big Ten season,” IU assistant coach Ty Neal said. “I would say we were not sharp as a whole this weekend.”
Because of inclement weather Friday afternoon in West Lafayette, IU played a doubleheader Saturday at Lambert Stadium.
In the first matchup, the Hoosiers fell by a score of 15-8 after five different pitchers could not contain the Purdue offense. Freshman starter Blake Monar pitched four and one-third innings, giving up four earned runs and six hits. The loss went to sophomore Joey O’Gara, who allowed three earned runs and five hits in one and two-thirds innings.
Freshmen pitchers Wyatt Hoff and Drew Leininger and junior pitcher Chris Squires closed the game out with a combined six earned runs given up.
Despite 12 total team hits and a breakout game by freshman third baseman Vince Gonzalez – who had two hits, a run and three RBI – IU could not overcome the large deficit.
Immediately following the loss, junior pitcher Eric Arnett took the mound and earned his Big Ten-leading 10th victory of the year as the Hoosiers took care of the Boilermakers, 7-6.
The right-hander threw all nine innings, giving up six earned runs on 10 hits.
The pivotal play of the game for IU came in the top of the eighth inning. With the game tied 6-6 and two outs, sophomore first baseman Jerrud Sabourin stepped to the plate and smashed a solo home run over the right field wall.
In the final inning, Arnett struck out three of five Purdue batters to secure the victory.
While the Hoosiers swung the bat well on Saturday, Sunday’s loss was a different story.
Only five IU players managed a hit against Purdue starter Matt Morgan, and the Hoosiers did not score their first run until the seventh inning.
In that inning, freshman designated hitter Alex Dickerson came home after Crawford reached first base on a fielder’s choice. A throwing error to first base allowed Crawford to score two batters later.
Junior Matt Bashore picked up the loss after giving up four earned runs on eight hits.
Sabourin said the lack of production at the plate was partially because of effective pitching by the Boilermakers.
“The Purdue pitchers did a great job of mixing it up and threw a lot of off-speed pitches,” he said. “Today we just could not hit it as well as we usually do. Hopefully we see them in the (Big Ten) tournament, and the outcome will be different.”
For Arnett, the series loss was not only important because it was a conference game, but also because it came against the Boilermakers.
“Every loss hurts, but when it’s against your rival it hits home a little bit more,” he said. “We just have to keep that same mind-set we have had all year and go out and do our thing.”