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Tuesday, Oct. 3
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

Lyon roars in replacement role to lead Hoosiers

No Alex Dickerson? No problem for the IU baseball team. That seemed to be the case Wednesday for junior Josh Lyon.

Manning positions in left field and the batting order for an inactive Dickerson, Lyon hit two home runs and earned four RBI to lead the Hoosiers (4-3) to a 7-6 win against Xavier in Mason, Ohio.

“I thought it was pretty big, winning a close game on the road against one of our regional rivals, sort of,” said Lyon, who went 3-for-5 on the day. “I think in past years we’ve struggled with our midweek games, and I thought it was big beating one of the Midwest teams on the road for a midweek win.”

Lyon’s first homer came in the top of the first inning with teammates Justin Cureton and Jerrud Sabourin already on base. Freshman designated hitter Dillon Dooney followed Lyon with a home run of his own to give IU an early 4-0 lead.

The junior’s second home run led off the fifth when Lyon hammered a pitch from Xavier pitcher Brian Muransky over the right-field fence to put the Hoosiers up 6-5.

While Lyon produced like Dickerson, who rested after colliding with the outfield fence last weekend against Oregon State, he said there wasn’t added pressure to do so.

“I wouldn’t say that so much, just that we just want to come out every day and perform like that,” Lyon said. “That’s our real goal, but I think with (Dickerson) being out, we definitely knew we would all have to put our fair share of effort in the game.”

IU coach Tracy Smith said he was pleased with Lyon’s day at the plate as well as the Hoosiers’ overall offensive output. The team hit a collective .303, registering 10 hits.

“Any time you’re missing a player like Dickerson, that’s the good thing about this team,” Smith said. “We feel like we’ve got some guys that can fill in, and maybe they’re not going to replace Alex Dickerson, but I think we’ve got some guys who are going to be pretty darn close.”   

IU sealed the win in the top of the eighth when freshman catcher Ty Downing’s single to center field batted in senior outfielder T.C. Knipp to give the contest its final tally.
But as that heavy score would indicate, IU needed more than heavy hitting against the Musketeers (2-5).

Junior Matt Igel struggled with Xavier’s hitters as the Hoosiers’ starter, allowing five runs — two unearned — in the first two innings to erase the early four-run advantage IU gained in the first.

Igel’s relief — six pitchers in all, three of whom saw action in the fifth inning — also seemed to have trouble with the Musketeers, who recorded eight hits total.
Enter IU freshman Joey DeNato.

Seeing his first action out of the bullpen, the lefty from San Diego struck out two batters and recorded three outs on pickoff throws of baserunners to set up freshman closer Ryan Halstead for the save.

Smith said DeNato, who picked up the win for IU, seemed more comfortable coming out of the bullpen.

“We liked him much better in that role tonight just because he was more relaxed and more like the guy we saw all fall and certainly in indoor (practices),” Smith said. “And he has a weapon with that pickoff. It really neutralizes the running game, and ... it was a real momentum breaker.
“I was very pleased with him out of the pen today for sure.”

While DeNato delivered late, the hitting continued to progress from the opening weekend, and Smith said the Hoosiers’ bats are getting closer to where they need to be.

“It’s the right track, because for us to do that, we’ve got to have other guys hitting around,” Smith said. “As soon as those guys get more consistent at bat and get more game at-bats under their belt, I’ll think we’ll be certainly closer to last year.”

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