Last season started with Coursen-Carr pegged as a weekend starter.
Then he lost control. ?Literally.
He lost his starting job and was put in the bullpen. He always had the talent, but he didn’t have the ?command any longer — posting 25 walks in just 38 innings. After starting this season in the bullpen, the junior was named the starter for Tuesday’s game at Indiana State, his first start in more than a year.
Coursen-Carr came out strong but slowly slipped during the course of his four innings. He allowed four runs, all earned, on five hits, while walking three, hitting a batter and striking out two. He took the loss as IU fell 6-2 in Terre Haute.
“He was okay,” IU Coach Chris Lemonis said. “I thought there were some glimpses of really good, but he still walked three and hit a guy. There’s really good stuff in there. He’s really talented. He’s just got to be more ?consistent.”
Coursen-Carr earned the start after four solid appearances out of the bullpen and because the Hoosiers (21-12, 5-6) have two midweek games this week.
“It was nice to get the opportunity, I just wish I had been able to help the team out a little bit more,” Coursen-Carr said. “My fastball command was alright. I just didn’t have my secondary pitches working at all.”
Coursen-Carr didn’t allow a run through the first two innings. It was the third when the walks finally caught up.
With two men on base and facing the Sycamores best power hitter Jacob Hayes, Coursen-Carr hung a curveball. The ball landed in the trees behind right field. A three-run home run.
“I think today was a good step forward for him,” senior catcher Brad Hartong said. “He’s just gotta attack the strike zone. He’s got such good stuff. He’s got a good curveball, a real live fastball and a good changeup. He’s got three pitches that he gets outs with.”
An issue Lemonis said Coursen-Carr had in Tuesday’s game was his location of pitches in 0-2 counts and struggling to finish off at-bats.
“I think it’s just a mental edge,” Hartong said. “You have to stay focused the whole at-bat. If we’re throwing a pitch to waste one, you want to throw it to that spot. We’re not throwing a pitch just to throw a pitch, it’s for a certain reason.”
While the control problem remains, Lemonis said he thinks Coursen-Carr can bounce back.
“He’s a hard working kid,” Lemonis said. “He does everything we ask. He’s handled it pretty well. He just wants to pitch well.”
Now Coursen-Carr will return to the bullpen, where he will continue to put in work in hopes of regaining his form from freshman year. With the array of injuries the Hoosiers have had this season, Coursen-Carr could become very important to the pitching staff down the line.
“The coaches have been supportive,” Coursen-Carr said. “I’ve been working on it for about a year and a half now, so I’m just trying to figure it out.”