Indiana Daily Student

IU falls to No. 21 Kentucky

<p>Then-freshman pitcher Tommy Sommer pitches the ball during IU's 9-8 win against Ball State on April 18 at Bart Kaufman Field.</p>

Then-freshman pitcher Tommy Sommer pitches the ball during IU's 9-8 win against Ball State on April 18 at Bart Kaufman Field.

On Tuesday night, IU had an opportunity to break out of its recent slump on a national stage against the No. 21 Kentucky Wildcats at Bart Kaufman Field.

In front of a season-high 2,822 fans, the Hoosiers failed to take advantage of scoring opportunities time and time again, eventually losing 7-6 after a back-and-forth game that lasted nearly four hours.

“It’s been like that for two weeks, we just keep losing close games,” IU Coach Chris Lemonis said. “We’re leaving guys out there and not executing.”

Kentucky (31-17, 11-13) got off to a hot start, scoring a run in the top of the first inning when senior third baseman Luke Heyer doubled off the center field wall. The Wildcats would extend the lead in the fourth, tacking on a trio of runs via a sac fly, a double and a single to make the score 4-0.

The Hoosiers battled back and picked up a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth on a sac fly from freshman utility player Drew Ashley and an infield single from sophomore shortstop Jeremy Houston. 

However, from that point on, Kentucky would manage to stay one step ahead of the Hoosiers.

Heyer would go deep in the top of the fifth, hitting the ball over the left field wall and over the Hoosier bullpen, to bring the lead back to four runs for the Wildcats. In the bottom of the inning, the Hoosiers would chip away at the lead with an RBI single by sophomore outfielder Matt Gorski and a home run from junior catcher Ryan Fineman to cut the Kentucky lead to 6-5.

It was a pitcher’s duel from that point on with IU freshman Tommy Sommer and senior B.J. Sabol combining to allow just one run on four hits. The duo struck out eight batters during nearly five innings pitched. Four Wildcat pitchers would also combine to allow just one run over the last four innings of the game.

“I thought Tommy pitched really well, and B.J.,” Lemonis said. ”I thought that’s a really good lineup over there, so I was pleased with those two guys at the end.”

The loss continues a stretch of the season that has been particularly rough for IU (31-14, 9-8). They’ve lost their last four games and eight of their last 10. 

”Besides that Saturday game at Minnesota, we’ve been in every game,” Lemonis said, “It’s a one-run, two-run game across the board and we’re just not taking care of business.”

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