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Sunday, June 16
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

IU avoids sweep with explosion at plate


Hoosier fans at Sembower Field saw a little bit of everything in the Big Ten Conference Opener this weekend.

They saw their closer pitching in the sixth inning and then playing center field the next.

They saw the Hoosiers blow a 9-3 lead into a 16-10 loss at the expense of a Michigan six-run 10th inning.

Last but not least, they saw IU score 26 runs on 27 hits on Sunday to round out the weekend.

IU coach Tracy Smith said the pitching rotation was going to be a bit unorthodox to begin conference play, and that’s exactly how it started.

On Friday, the Hoosiers (13-13, 1-2 Big Ten) started freshman walk-on Walker Stadler in the Big Ten opener against Michigan (15-10, 2-1 Big Ten).

Pitching in relief for him was three other freshmen, one of which is a position player as well as junior first baseman Jerrud Sabourin.

Senior closer Chris Squires entered the game in the sixth inning, where he proceeded to strike out both batters he faced.

Not wanting to wear Squires out for the rest of the weekend but wanting to keep him available if things got ugly, Smith put Squires out in center field in the top of the seventh.

“If we pitch and don’t walk people, we actually look like a ball team,” Smith said. “The key is on the mound. If we can take care of that, we’re going to win some ball games.”

Pitching with a depleted pitching staff and bullpen, sophomore pitcher Matt Igel threw a 166-pitch complete game effort on Saturday to give the bullpen some much needed rest.

Unfortunately for Igel, the Hoosiers offense did not take advantage of their opportunities, stranding 11 runners in the 6-4 loss.

After giving up five runs on five hits and five walks in the first three innings Saturday, Igel retained his composure, only giving up one run on a walk and six hits the remaining six innings.

 It was an important day for the Hoosiers relatively young season as they hope they have found another weekend starter.           

Not about to be swept on their home field, the Hoosiers bats came out on fire on Sunday, scoring 26 runs on 27 hits in a 26-6 victory. Four different Hoosiers had four hits in the game. Tyler Rogers went 4-4 with a grand slam and six RBI. The win marked the most lopsided victory for the Hoosiers in the 186-game series with Michigan.

“A lot of teams would have rolled over after dropping the first two games this weekend,” Rogers said. “But we came out aggressive and didn’t let it affect us.”

Sophomore outfielder Alex Dickerson extended his hitting streak to 20 games this season, going 8-14 on the weekend and reaching base in all 26 games for IU this season.

Sabourin took the league lead with his .462 batting average, with Dickerson behind him in second at .446, leading the conference with 11 home runs and 37 RBI.

Sophomore pitcher Drew Leininger made his first start on Sunday since being injured against Akron back on March 20.

Although Michigan scraped across three runs in six and a third innings off him, the Big Ten’s ERA leader only raised his average to 1.66. Leininger will return as the weekend’s Friday starter.

“Catching Drew is like a day off for my arm and knees,” Swift said. “Wherever I call the pitch, that’s what it’s going to be. And he controls the running game so well with his delivery, so it’s like a day off.”

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