The IU baseball team managed just five runs in three games last weekend in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
If the Hoosiers have their way, that won’t happen again this weekend.
IU coach Tracy Smith and his hitters said a second round of games at the Kleberg Bank College Classic in Corpus Christi, Texas, should see an improved effort at the plate.
Smith specifically mentioned having a plan for at-bats as key going into matchups with host Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi on Friday, Connecticut on Saturday and Oregon State on Sunday.
“You’re not always going to get base hits, but you can increase your chances to get base hits by having a plan, and not even base hits, but hitting balls hard,” Smith said.
“We want to hit more balls hard this weekend, but to me it starts well before the swing and the pitch.
“I just felt we swung at a lot of bad pitches last week, and that led to poor results. So we really need to spread around that mindset and mentality before we step into the box.”
The opening-weekend results might have shown as much.
As a team, IU hit 29-for-123 for a collective .236 average and left 31 runners stranded on base.
Junior outfielder Alex Dickerson agreed that pitch judgment contributed to the Hoosiers’ lack of offensive output.
“We’ve got a good hitting team, and we all didn’t hit well one weekend,” said Dickerson, who recorded one hit against each of Boston College and Coastal Carolina. “We’re all saying we’ve just got to kind of swing at better pitches and let it happen.”
The 2010 Big Ten Triple Crown winner added that simply getting back into a game rhythm was another factor in getting the team’s batting back to where IU is accustomed to seeing it.
“Just getting it all out of the way, just getting all the rust off,” Dickerson said. “I think we just got really unfortunate, didn’t get any breaks, along with the fact that we just weren’t striking the ball well. I think you just give this team time, and we’ll get all the hits back in place.”
While the Hoosiers as a whole struggled to register hits in succession and reel in runners the first weekend out, they were encouraged by a particular individual
Freshman third baseman Dustin DeMuth was largely responsible for much of what IU was able to produce from the plate.
The LaPorte, Ind., native scored one of the Hoosiers’ runs in the team’s 4-2 loss to Virginia Tech on Feb. 18 and two days later hit the game-winning single in the team’s 16-inning marathon victory against Coastal Carolina.
In accord with his coach and his teammate, DeMuth said the Hoosier hitters need to “just concentrate good contact on the ball and just try to make them fall in this weekend.”
While IU looks to regain the proficiency that made it the Big Ten’s top batting team in 2010, Dickerson said it is merely a matter of time.
“I really think we’re just going to pick it up one of these days pretty soon, and we’ll be back to where we were last year,” he said.