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Tuesday, June 18
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

IU faces rematch with No. 8 Louisville

Baseball

Coming off an undefeated home stand and with Big Ten conference play right around the corner, the Hoosiers (12-10) will get another shot to take down one of the best teams in college baseball as they face No. 8 Louisville (20-3) at 3:05 p.m. today at Sembower Field.

Three weeks ago, the Cardinals outplayed the Hoosiers for a 9-7 win. It wasn’t until the eighth inning, however, that Louisville took the lead. Trailing 7-5, Cardinals infielder Phil Wunderlich hit a two-run home run to tie the game.

Louisville would push across two more runs, but it was Wunderlich’s home run off IU freshman pitcher Mike McKinley and his demeanor rounding the bases that drew the most attention from the Hoosier dugout. Wunderlich yelled at McKinley as he made his trip to home plate, and after the game, Smith said there was “no place at all in baseball for that.”

He said he doesn’t expect his team to try anything similar today.

“I don’t think there will be any retaliation,” IU coach Tracy Smith said. “We’re going to go out and play as hard as we can and play the game the way it’s supposed to be played.”

As sophomore outfielder Alex Dickerson said, the best form of retaliation is victory.

As was the case against Louisville three weeks ago, the game hinges on the pitching.

Freshman pitcher Casey Smith, who graduated high school early to come to IU, pitched five strong innings and only gave up two runs on two hits and no walks against the Cardinals last time out.

This afternoon, it’s going to be sophomore left-handed pitcher Matt Igel’s turn. Against Taylor on Saturday, Igel (0-2) impressed, tossing 1.2 innings of no-hit ball.

“The inning he came in is the best we’ve seen him throw all year,” Smith said. “But it just goes back to the consistency part. If we can get him to go out and be the pitcher he was then, he’s as good as there is.”

Production from the top half of the Hoosiers’ order is one thing that has been consistent recently. In the last five games, the No. 1-4 hitters are batting an average of .432, helping IU win seven out of its last eight games. Freshman third baseman Micah Johnson has been batting leadoff, despite showing power at the plate with his seven home runs and 22 RBI.

“Johnson is probably more of a three-hole hitter,” Smith said. “But we want to get as much production as possible from those guys and bring our best hitters up to the plate as many times as we can.”

The Hoosier team has averaged more than nine runs in its last three games, but Igel’s pitching production this afternoon could be equally as important as the team’s offense.

In the 12 IU wins this year, the starting pitcher has gone at least five innings nine times.

“We don’t really have a set three right now,” Dickerson said. “If we can find some consistency in our pitching and get our starters to give us some good efforts, I like our chances.”

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