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Saturday, April 20
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

Smith gives newcomers opportunity in game against ISU

A mid-week contest against a nonconference opponent gave IU Coach Tracy Smith the opportunity to play some team members who do not play often.

Junior shortstop Michael Basil said such chances are good for the team.

“When you have some guys who watch the games a lot of the time and don’t get in, it makes them feel sometimes like they’re not a part of it as much,” he said. “When everyone gets to come in and play, it really makes everyone feel like they’re a part of what’s going on. It gets everyone into the games throughout the rest of the season, too, to know that, ‘Hey, I might get a crack at this.’ It keeps them into the game. It keeps the dugout up.”

A lack of effort by freshman catcher Kyle Schwarber gave backup catcher and fellow freshman Danny Sader extended playing time.

In the fourth inning, Schwarber was charged with a passed ball. Pinch runner Lucas Hileman, on first base at the time, took advantage of Schwarber’s lackadaisical pursuit of the ball and hustled to third.

With left fielder Kyle Burnham at the plate for the Sycamores, Schwarber was pulled in the middle of the at-bat.

“That’s stuff you can’t put up with 30-something games into the season,” junior Micah Johnson said. “We’re trying to prove you can’t play like that. It’s nothing against them. He’d do that for anybody. I’ve been benched before. If you’re not giving a full effort, he’s not going to put up with it.”

Smith said he hopes the bench is not a motivating factor.

“We were taking guys out just for the number of mental mistakes we had,” he said. “I think it was guys that haven’t played and got an opportunity to play, to me, showed what can happen if you play with a little intent and a little focus. It was what we weren’t doing early. For whatever reason, I guess it takes me to substitute guys to get guys to focus and concentrate. Hopefully we grow up on that in the future and not have to use substitutions to be ready to play.”

In the bottom of the ninth, with the game tied at seven, Johnson pinch ran for freshman Ricky Alfonso.

Off his surgery, the Hoosiers’ lone preseason All-American promptly stole second on the first pitch of Basil’s at-bat.

“Skip told me you got to go in the first three pitches, which I usually do anyways,” he said. “I definitely think that was something I had planned.”

Redshirt freshman outfielder Tim O’Conner was the only available position player who did not see action that day.

Junior pitcher Hunter Brown, a junior college transfer from Grossmont College in El Cajon, Calif., made his first career appearance, in the sixth inning.

Though he faced one batter more than the minimum, the Encinitas, Calif., native pitched a perfect frame — including a strikeout. However, right fielder Robby Ort reached on a throwing error by Sader. After a balk advanced Ort to second, Brown got Hedges to line out to junior center fielder Justin Cureton.

Sophomore reliever Ryan Halstead earned the win for the Hoosiers, their second consecutive Wednesday walk-off win.

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