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Saturday, April 20
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

Hoosiers fall in Big Ten series for 1st time this season

After Illinois dropped the opener, the Fighting Illini rallied, winning 11-6 Sunday and the series 2-1. It was the Hoosiers’ first series loss in Big Ten play.

In each of the three Big Ten series in which Indiana has played, the Hoosiers won the contest on Friday, scoring double-digit runs each game. On Saturday, the opponent would rally for a win to even the series and force a rubber match.

“I don’t know how consistent we are in our approaches at the plate yet,” IU Coach Tracy Smith said. ”That probably has something to do with that. We’re not as consistent in every single at-bat. I would say probably that.”

Smith tabbed freshman Luke Harrison to start the third game against the Illini.

Harrison, who held the Ball State Cardinals to one run on four hits while striking out six in three innings of work, did not enjoy such success against Illinois.

He did not retire a batter, allowing three runs on three hits. Smith said he started Harrison to shorten the game to get it to sophomore reliever Matt Dearden.

The Hoosiers scored five runs in the first two innings to take the lead twice against Illini starter Josh Ferry.

In the third, junior reliever Matt Milroy entered to pitch. He shut down the Hoosiers, allowing three hits in five innings and striking out 10.

In the fifth, the Hoosiers trailed 6-5. Sophomore designated hitter Dillon Dooney walked to begin the frame. Junior shortstop Michael Basil reached via fielder’s choice, as Basil’s speed disallowed the Illini to turn the 4-6-3 double play.

The Hoosiers had men on first and second with one retired. Milroy struck out Sujka swinging and DeMuth looking to end the threat.

“That was huge for them,” he said. “That was a whole different ball game if he would have let us score. But he clutched it up and shut us down.”

Freshman first baseman Sam Travis said the Hoosiers didn’t have the intangibles on this day.

“It really wasn’t our day all around,” he said. “Obviously that could’ve been a momentum-builder, but we didn’t really have momentum going into that anyways. We needed momentum to get us through that game, and that could’ve got us going, and maybe put us over the top, but who knows?”

A grand slam by junior left fielder Justin Parr gave the Illini an 11-5 lead, and this time, the Hoosiers were unable to rally.

Basil said winning the series would have been the best way to earn payback.

“We could’ve taken the series,” he said. “That would’ve been the biggest thing. Friday, we came out strong and feeling pretty good at that point. We needed to get another game. We just didn’t come through right there.”

Despite the loss, the Hoosiers are still in a three-way tie for second place with Ohio State and Nebraska.

“That’s huge,” Travis said. “It’s always good to be on top. It’s a lot harder to work your way up once you dig yourself in a hole.”

Basil said it is important for the Hoosiers to be near the top of the standings.

“It’s very big,” he said. “We need to realize we’re still in the battle for this. With how tight the race is, it’s going to be a battle to be getting into the Big Ten Tournament. Every series and every game, we need to understand that it means something, that it could make a difference at the end of the season.”

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