In IU’s first of two games against Maryland on Saturday, freshman pitcher Cal Krueger pitched as close to a complete game as possible.
Sophomore ace Jonathan Stiever was cruising through his start Friday — three innings with just one hit allowed — when a storm system delayed the game until Saturday afternoon. Krueger was the pitcher to start the game again in the bottom half of the third inning.
The mid-relief pitcher who hadn’t pitched more than four innings in a game in his career tossed six innings and allowed two earned runs on five hits against the No. 22 team in the nation. Kreuger tamed the Terrapin bats for every inning of Saturday’s opener and the Hoosiers scored nine runs to beat the Maryland Terrapins, 9-2.
“It was good to jump out and get the first one,” IU Coach Chris Lemonis said. “I felt real comfortable throwing (Krueger) out there, and when we got that lead, I thought he just ran with it.”
It didn’t take long for Krueger to get run support. In fact, he hadn’t thrown a pitch before the Hoosiers jumped to a 3-0 lead. Senior outfielder Craig Dedelow, junior outfielder Logan Sowers and freshman first baseman Matt Gorski were hit-by-pitch and walked with bases loaded to drive in runs.
Maryland junior pitcher Ryan Hill had also thrown 40-plus pitches before Krueger threw his first.
Krueger benefited from a 3-run home run from infielder Luke Miller and a Tony Butler home run as well, while allowing runs on a triple and a fielder’s choice in the fifth inning.
“We went out there and just acted like it was a start,” Krueger said of his outing. “The stuff was good. I just tried to attack hitters and get ahead in the count.”
The same could be said for junior mid-reliever Kade Kryzsko as well. In the second game of the double-header, junior starting pitcher Brian Hobbie surrendered nine hits and four earned runs in four innings of pitching. Hobbie was pulled after he gave up one run without recording an out in the fifth inning, and the Hoosiers were down 4-2.
Lemonis brought in Kryzsko with the bases loaded and no outs. The reliever induced a ground ball to Butler at second base, who turned the double play with freshman shortstop Jeremy Houston. Kryzsko was able to get out of the fifth inning while allowing just one run and with IU at a 5-2 deficit.
Kryzsko went on to pitch his longest outing of the season — 3.1 innings, four hits and four runs allowed — but the Hoosiers were not able to overcome the deficit to the Terrapins and lost, 9-2.
Lemonis said after the game that he left Kryzsko in the game for too long, as the junior surrendered three of hs four runs allowed in the eighth inning when he was pulled for freshman Andrew Saalfrank.
The strong middle relief pitching didn’t get the double-header sweep for the Hoosiers, but it did save their arms for the rubber match against the Terrapins on Sunday at 11:05 a.m. in a series that has high stakes for IU.
“We played hard all day,” Lemonis said. “It’s just that their guy out-pitched us in the second game and they got some big hits.”
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IU will look to build momentum as it heads to the final stretch of the season.
The No. 6 Hoosiers will face No. 4 Texas and No. 19 Florida in a two day meet in Austin, the site of this year’s National Championships.
IU has defeated both Texas and Florida for three straight seasons.