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Saturday, April 20
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

Hoosiers fall despite early lead to Xavier Musketeers

Baseball vs. Xavier

Despite jumping out to an early three-run lead, the IU baseball team allowed the Xavier Musketeers’ offense to score 11 unanswered runs en route to a 11-3 loss at Sembower Field.

“I think we got complacent because we still could have put them away after the first inning, but we gave away some at-bats,” IU Coach Tracy Smith said. “You talk about breathing life into a team, we jumped out to our three-run lead and then walked five batters. I think that gave them momentum, and we didn’t respond very well.”

The Hoosiers (10-15) struck first in the bottom of the first when freshman starting pitcher Colin McEnery helped his own cause by driving in junior center fielder Justin Cureton from second base with a sharply hit triple down the first baseline. Cureton led with an infield single and then stole second base to set up McEnery.

McEnery, who finished the game with two hits and an RBI to go with his two innings of shutout pitching, said batting in the three-hole for the first time this season gave him a little confidence boost at the plate.

“I’ve been struggling a little bit offensively, so it was good to get it going with my first triple,” McEnery said. “It’s good to know that even though I have been struggling that the coaches still have confidence to put me in this situation.”

After McEnery’s triple, freshman first baseman Sam Travis — this past week’s Big Ten Player of the Week — drove McEnery in from third with an RBI single to right. Travis would later score on a Will Nolden bases-loaded walk with two outs to give the Hoosiers a 3-0 lead after the first frame.

In the top of the third, Xavier responded with three runs on a two-out, bases-clearing single by designated hitter Selby Chidemo off of IU’s Brian Korte. It appeared as if only two runs would score on the hit, but redshirt freshman right fielder Will Nolden fell down and had trouble fielding the ball, which allowed all the runners to score.

Korte would get out of the third but ran into more trouble in the fourth inning when he allowed Xavier to string together a couple of runners to eventually score on left fielder Daniel Rod’s RBI single. The single gave the Musketeers their first lead of the day, 4-3.

After tacking on another run in the fifth for a 5-3 lead, the Musketeers broke the game open with a three-run inning in the sixth off freshman pitcher Luke Harrison. In the inning, the Hoosiers committed two errors, including a throwing error by Harrison on a dribbler down the third baseline that allowed two runs to score and put Xavier up 8-3.

On the day, the Hoosiers committed five errors, which led to two unearned runs.

On the season, the Hoosiers have committed 57 errors, which has left Smith searching for answers on defense.

“At this point, we are either playing too fast, not mentally thinking about plays before they happen, or we are not playing good enough,” Smith said. “I don’t know if I have ever been around something like this where we are struggling so much defensively. The sad part is it is coming from guys that are very capable.”

Junior shortstop Michael Basil, who was 3-for-4 on the day, said a loss like this is disappointing but that the only way the team is going to get better defensively is through practice.

“We need to slow ourselves down because most of our errors come from people rushing to make it happen too quick,” Basil said. “The more reps you get, the more comfortable you become at slowing things down, which will help us play better.”

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