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Monday, May 27
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

Rally falls short for Hoosiers

Baseball

Despite a three-run ninth inning rally, IU committed two crucial errors to lose the first game of a home-and-home series with the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks 8-7 Tuesday at Sembower Field.

“It’s no secret that defense has been our nemesis all year for whatever reason,” IU Coach Tracy Smith said. “Talking to (Miami Ohio manager) Dan Simonds, who is a good friend of mine, he said he felt like we gave the game to them, and I feel pretty much the same way.”

After junior Justin Cureton was hit in the helmet and stole second base to begin the bottom of the third, freshman first baseman Sam Travis opened the scoring with a one-out RBI single to drive in Cureton from second and give IU a 1-0 lead.

In the top of the fourth, sophomore starting pitcher Walker Stadler looked as if he induced an inning-ending pop-fly from Miami’s John Crummy. Instead, freshman third baseman Chad Clark dropped the two-out pop-fly as he sprinted toward home plate.

The error allowed a run to score and continued the inning, where Miami (Ohio) would take the lead 2-1 on a Ryan Curl infield-single to second.

The Hoosiers and freshman catcher Kyle Schwarber would respond in the bottom half of the inning when Schwarber launched his seventh home run of the season — a three-run shot to deep right-center field — to help IU regain the lead 4-2.

Like in the fourth, IU had a chance to get out of the sixth inning without allowing a run, but a junior shortstop Michael Basil throwing error on a potential inning-ending double play gave the RedHawks an extra out and allowed a run to score from third. By the end of the inning, Miami (Ohio) would tack on another run to even the score 4-4.

The errors seemed to affect the Hoosiers’ bats as Miami’s starter Charles Zubrod set down nine straight batters from the fifth through the seventh.

Travis said the crucial errors on the field affected the team’s energy and approach at the plate.

“(Those errors) were absolutely demoralizing,” Travis said. “Once again, everyone is going to make errors, but in those situations we need to get it done.”

Smith said the offensive struggles in the middle innings showed the team’s immaturity at the plate.

“It was a very immature approach and we told them that in between innings,” Smith said. “We are going to work on it tomorrow, but if we have any chance of competing in this league we have to get better at that type of stuff.”

The RedHawks would take the lead 8-4 by adding a run in both the seventh and eighth innings and two in the ninth off sophomore losing pitcher Matt Dearden, who allowed four runs on eight hits, one walk and two wild pitches in the final three innings of
the game.

Smith said Dearden (1-6), who has struggled lately, needs to do a better job of understanding that his stuff is good enough to pitch at this level because he has already had success this year.

“He just needs to be more focused, more concentrated and have more belief in what he is able to do out there,” Smith said. “For whatever reason, he isn’t pitching with that aggressive attitude. Part of being a good pitcher is having that conviction to throw whatever you want when you want it, and I think he is lacking that conviction
right now.”

Trailing by four in the bottom of ninth, the Hoosiers would threaten with an RBI fielder’s choice from Schwarber and a two-run, two-out home run from Travis to draw within a run. That would be it for IU as the next Hoosier up, sophomore designated hitter Dillon Dooney, would fly out to right field to end the game.

In the game, Schwarber and Travis combined for three hits — including two home runs — seven RBI and three runs, while Stadler (four and a third innings, five hits, five walks, two runs and no earned runs) got a no decision for his performance.

Travis, who homered during the weekend, said he has been feeling a lot more confident at the plate and hopes to carry that into Wednesday’s game.

“Hopefully, I will get it rolling, and our team will, too, because tomorrow we need to come back strong to get it going before the weekend,” Travis said. “We need to have more confidence because the pitchers did their jobs today. We just didn’t make the plays for them today.”

With sophomore pitcher Ryan Halstead (2-2, 5.62 ERA) on the mound to start the game for IU against the RedHawks’ Alex Brown (0-0 in three appearances), Smith said the Hoosiers will need to work on eliminating the mental errors against Miami (Ohio) if they hope to get momentum heading into a big weekend against Michigan.

“The way we are playing right now, whether we got a win today or not, isn’t going to consistently win in the Big Ten,” Smith said. “My whole focus is getting this team to understand that, and we will do whatever we need to do to play better.”

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