Indiana Daily Student

IU losing streak extends to four games

<p>Junior pitcher Jonathan Stiever fields a ball during the April 6 loss to Purdue at Bart Kaufman Field. Stiever pitched 6.2 innings as IU lost to Illinois on Friday night.&nbsp;</p>

Junior pitcher Jonathan Stiever fields a ball during the April 6 loss to Purdue at Bart Kaufman Field. Stiever pitched 6.2 innings as IU lost to Illinois on Friday night. 

Junior Jonathan Stiever gave IU baseball his usual Friday start.

Stiever delivered a quality start for the Hoosiers, giving up three runs in 6.2 innings pitched. However, it was not the usual Friday result for the Hoosiers. 

IU’s offense put together two runs in the first inning, but had zeros across the scoreboard the rest of the way in a 3-2 loss to Illinois on Friday night at Bart Kaufman Field. 

“It’s a little frustrating, but part of the game,” IU Coach Chris Lemonis said. “We just gotta keep fighting through it.”

The loss extended IU’s longest losing streak of the season to four games.

“It’s been a tough week and a half, we just come up on the short side,” Lemonis said. “We’re pressing a little bit now, which we haven’t pressed all year. We got to relax and be able to put balls in play.”

IU found a little hope late in the game as junior infielder Luke Miller came in to pinch hit with two outs and no runners on in the ninth.

Miller had been out with a foot injury since April 6, but still stepped into the box tied for the team lead in home runs.

On the first pitch he saw, Miller hit what is normally a routine fly ball to center.

Illinois junior centerfield Zac Taylor lost the ball in the air, however, allowing it to drop for a double.

The play brought IU’s leadoff man — junior outfielder Logan Kaletha — to the plate with a chance to tie the game. But with the recent struggles of the Hoosiers, it's moments like these that have not gone their way.

Kaletha went down swinging on three pitches.

“In this game, the harder you try, the less you get,” Lemonis said. “We have to find a piece, and somebody’s got to get a hit with runners out there to get some things going.”

IU’s offense struggled against Illinois junior starting pitcher Andy Fisher, whose sinker forced the Hoosiers into 16 groundouts.

“That ball was moving all over the place,” Lemonis said. 

Stiever battled against the nation’s top hitter in junior infielder Bren Spillane.

Spillane came up big for the Fighting Illini as his double in the sixth inning tied the game before Illinois took the lead in the seventh on an RBI single.

Spillane also picked up two walks, despite striking out twice as well.

Despite the loss, Stiever remains a bright spot in an IU rotation that has struggled during the losing skid.

Stiever is reported to have hit 97 miles per hour while pitching during the game, and he started by striking out five of the first six batters he faced.

"Jon’s getting better every week,” Lemonis said. “He pitched great. They hit a couple balls on him, but the same Jon we get every Friday night.”

IU will look to end the losing streak Saturday with sophomore Cam Beauchamp scheduled to start.

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