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Saturday, May 25
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

IU returns to Big Ten play against Michigan

In the six nonconference games since the Hoosiers’ series against Michigan State ended, sophomore second baseman Dustin DeMuth is hitting .500, going 10-20.

DeMuth said he hasn’t requested to be moved up in the order leading to playing Michigan this weekend, saying it’s a decision made by IU Coach Tracy Smith.

“We’ll see,” Smith said. “I’d like to move him up a little bit — I really would — because we need his maturity and veteran at-bats more often in a game. The further we move him up, the more ABs he’s going to get. I can see that being something we’ll probably do here in the weekend.”

In contrast, junior center fielder Justin Cureton has been mired in a 2-20 slump in his last six games.

But his slump is no ordinary one, as he has been hit in the head two times in the six nonconference games.

After the game against Louisville, he had a tissue in his nose.

DeMuth said he isn’t worried about Cureton.

“I think he’s alright,” DeMuth said. “He did get in the face twice. He’s in a little slump right now, but I think he’ll bust out of it pretty soon, and he’ll be fine.”

Smith said Cureton will probably stay atop the order.

“He gives us a little maturity there,” Smith said. “We want him to have better at-bats and understand what type of hitter he is. We don’t have a true leadoff guy anyway. Honestly, I hate to say I don’t think it really makes a difference who’s there. We’ll probably keep him there, at least for the time being.”

Smith praised sophomore pitcher Ryan Halstead’s outing against Miami (Ohio) on Wednesday. The contest in Ohio was the Hoosiers’ first competition on the road since April 8 and ended the team’s longest stretch of nonconference games between Big
Ten series.

The Hoosiers posted a 3-3 record in that span.

“After the Michigan State series, we needed to figure some stuff out,” Halstead said. “Having the bye week right after that series was huge for us. (We were) able to work on some stuff, get guys some opportunities that wouldn’t usually have them and work everything out as a team.”

The six nonconference games benefitted DeMuth, who was second in the Big Ten with 85 hits last season. He said he is reverting to what made him successful as a freshman.

“(I’m) seeing the ball well, letting it get deep and driving it the other way like I did last year,” he said. “I’m starting to feel more comfortable in the box, which is a good thing. (I’m) trying to just get on base and score some runs. Any time I can get on base, I’m happy to do it.”

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