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Monday, May 27
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

Monar gets nod against Buckeyes

Baseball vs. Northern Kentucky

Looking to rebound from a mistake-laden 6-1 loss to Miami (Ohio) on Tuesday, the IU baseball team will take on Ohio State in a weekend series beginning Friday at
Sembower Field.

The Hoosiers uncharacteristically struck out nine times (four of those looking), committed three errors and allowed nine free passes to RedHawk hitters either via walks or hit batsmen.

IU coach Tracy Smith said the mental mistakes were not from a lack of talent, which is what frustrates him the most.

“Just lack of concentration,” Smith said. “One of the poorest games that I can recall just in terms of playing the game between the ears. Even if the breakdown doesn’t happen on the mound and the errors don’t happen, we still were very poor offensively.”

IU (18-10, 2-1) looks to leave those blunders in Oxford, Ohio, as the Hoosiers focus their attention on the Big Ten home opener this weekend with Ohio State (10-12, 2-1).
Smith will start the weekend series sending his two aces, juniors Blake Monar and Chad Martin, to the mound.

After only pitching 3.1 innings last year due to a shoulder injury, Monar showed flashes of his freshman-year form against Michigan last weekend.

The Rockport, Ind., native went seven innings against the Wolverines, striking out 10 batters, giving him the team lead with 33 on the year.

Monar said he was a little rusty at the beginning of the 2011 season but started to put the total package together against the Wolverines.

“Last weekend my change-up was good and that was really the first time it had been good all year and I think that attributed to a lot of my success,” Monar said.

The junior left-hander pitched in the weekend rotation as a freshman with 2009 first-round draft picks Eric Arnett and Matt Bashore, but Monar is now in the No. 1 role as the Friday starter.

“It’s nice to go out there and set the tone for the weekend,” he said. “I think the Friday game is big because if you win that first one it takes a lot of pressure off everybody else.”

Following Monar on Saturday afternoon will be Chad Martin and his Big Ten-leading 2.09 ERA.

The Sunday starter is yet to be determined, but Smith said he will be looking for someone who can attack the strike zone against the Buckeyes.

“They are a winning program and those guys know how to win,” Smith said. “With how balanced the Big Ten is, it’s the team that eliminates the walks and eliminates the mistakes that is probably going to win the baseball game.”

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