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Tuesday, June 18
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

IU drops 2 of 3 at Ohio State

Baseball

The Hoosiers had an opportunity to win the series on the road against Ohio State this weekend, even with the reigning co-Big Ten Pitcher of the Year on the mound for the Buckeyes.

Instead, they settled for one win, dropping to 15-15 and 2-4 in the Big Ten.

OSU pitcher Alex Wimmers cooled a hot-hitting Hoosiers team Friday, tossing a complete-game, six-hitter while striking out 14 and walking none in a 7-1 victory for Ohio State (19-9, 4-2). Wimmers improved to 7-0 on the season, and he is solidifying his draft status, where he is projected to go in the first round.

“He’s the closest I’ve seen as far as getting to the big leagues in a short amount of time,” IU coach Tracy Smith said of Wimmers. “He can throw any four of his pitches for strikes at any given time in the count. He’s definitely as good as advertised, no doubt.”

The Hoosiers knew they had a good chance on Saturday with sophomore pitcher Drew Leininger getting the start. A four-run fourth inning by the Buckeyes resulted in an extra-innings affair, where senior outfielder Michael Earley took over.

With the game tied at four, Earley put a charge in the first pitch he saw and put it over the left-center field wall for the go-ahead lead.

“I went up looking for a changeup first pitch, and that’s what he gave me,” Earley said. “I was just looking to drive the ball in the gap and ended up getting enough lift on it to hit it out.”

Like fellow sophomore pitcher Matt Igel last Saturday against Michigan, Leininger went nine innings, firing 142 pitches with eight strikeouts and lowering his Big Ten-leading ERA to 1.38 after all four runs were unearned.

“It’s to point to where he’s no longer a fluke,” Smith said. “He’s the real deal.”

The Buckeyes attempt at a comeback was a strong one, but Smith called on his closer to secure the victory. With a runner on first and one out, Earley made a diving catch for the second out that gave senior Chris Squires enough of a boost to strike out reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Dan Burkhart on three pitches.

It was his fifth save of the year and 16th of his career, breaking former Hoosier Chris Wilson’s record set from 1997-2000.

“I’m just disappointed that we don’t have more opportunities to turn the ball over to him late in the game with a lead,” Smith said. “Because if we have that lead, we know he’s going to close it out.”

On Sunday, the Buckeyes outslugged the Hoosiers to a 10-8 win to take the series.
Earley, sophomore catcher Josh Lyon and sophomore outfielder Alex Dickerson all homered in a losing effort.  

“We had a chance to take a series win against the top team in the conference,” Smith said. “We’ve got to start taking advantage of these opportunities.”

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