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Monday, May 20
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

Hoosiers roll Michigan in first Big Ten series

Baseball vs. Evansville

As the IU baseball team (18-9, 2-1) left Ann Arbor, Mich., on Saturday after taking two out of three games from the Michigan Wolverines (7-18, 1-2), skipper Tracy Smith saw a different Hoosiers team.

In past years, winning two games in a weekend series would be reason to
celebrate, but this IU team is on a mission.

“You could almost sense yesterday that this team was very disappointed that we didn’t sweep them,” Smith said. “What that tells me is that these guys have one thing on their mind and that is winning a conference championship. You know you are in a right spot when your guys are disappointed winning two out of three.”

Junior pitcher Blake Monar started the series off with a seven-inning 10-strikeout outing Friday, leading IU to a 12-5 victory.

The left-hander allowed two runs in the opening frame before settling in and giving Smith the quality outing he was looking for.

“It certainly takes a lot of pressure off the defense when he’s on,” Smith said. “I thought he was aggressive in the strike zone and when he’s doing that he can be pretty darn good.”

Freshman Dustin DeMuth and junior Alex Dickerson combined for half of the Hoosiers’ 14 hits in the opener.

Due to inclement weather scheduled for Sunday, the Hoosiers and Wolverines played a doubleheader Saturday afternoon.

Following up the gem by Monar on Friday, junior Chad Martin looked prime for the Hoosiers’ second win of the series in Saturday’s opener.

The right-hander needed to be on his game as IU nursed a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning.

However, an error by Martin led to a two-out home run by Michigan’s Kevin Krantz and proved to be the difference in the 3-2 loss.

“When you are in a tight ball game like that, if you mentally loaf for one second it can cost you the game,” Smith said. “Outside of him relaxing for one pitch, he was pretty dominant.”

Any ill effects from losing Saturday’s opener were shut down by a pair of freshman pitchers.

Matt Dearden got the start in the ever-fluctuating Sunday spot in the rotation and went six innings in the 10-3 win.

“We haven’t been real consistent out of that No. 3 spot so what we figured on is we would go with the matchup, and (Michigan) was clearly a better hitting team off of lefties,” Smith said.

Helping Dearden out at the plate was sophomore Justin Cureton. Despite hitting out of the nine hole in the Hoosiers lineup, Cureton went 2-for-5 at the plate, including hitting his first career home run.

For the fifth time this season Ryan Halstead saved the game, this time going three innings to close out the series for IU.

Smith will take on his former team Tuesday in Miami (Ohio) before returning to Sembower Field on Friday for the Big Ten home opener against Ohio State.

The first Big Ten series of 2011 is in the books. Seven more await IU before it can accomplish the real mission of 2011 Big Ten Champions.

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