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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

IU baseball shakes off slow start for a 9-3 victory over Butler

IU VS BU

IU baseball started Wednesday afternoon’s game like it had almost all season.

Butler University starting pitcher John MacCauley struck out five of the first six batters, as the IU lineup went down in order through the first two innings. IU’s offense look destined for a poor performance from the plate.

Then came the bottom of the third. 

Sophomore outfielder Drew Ashley reached base on an error and senior catcher Wyatt Cross singled in the next at-bat. Junior infielder Jeremy Houston moved Ashley to third on a fielder’s choice before junior outfielder Matt Gorski came to the plate and cleared them all with a three-run bomb to the IU bullpen in left field. 

“It felt great to get back and get to big wins against two solid wins,” senior outfielder Logan Kaletha said. “I felt the offense produced really well in the last six innings. We’ll be really solid if the offense can keep producing the whole nine innings.”

After a handful of wild pitches by freshman pitcher Gabe Bierman and passed balls allowed by Cross gave Butler an early lead, Gorski’s three-run home run put IU ahead, giving IU the momentum. 

Bierman settled down after the shaky second inning and turned in a four inning, four strikeout performance with just one earned run allowed in his first career start.

“He is going to be really good,” IU Coach Jeff Mercer said. “He is a competitive guy, a tough guy. His sinker really played. I mean it’s a real sinker. As he grows up and develops, he’s got a chance to really work through a lineup. There’s a lot of things to like about him but his ability to rebound after that second inning was impressive.” 

IU has settled down its approach at the plate, becoming more patient. During the first two weekends of the season, IU struggled with enormous amounts of strikeouts. IU turned that patience into the tune of five walks which contributed to two more runs, padding the IU lead. 

Kaletha hit his second home run of the year in the seventh inning while senior catcher Ryan Fineman cleared the bases with a double, contributing to a four-run seventh. 

Butler’s offense never got going Wednesday afternoon. Only one of Butler’s three runs were earned. Junior pitcher Andrew Saalfrank complimented Bierman’s outing with three solid innings of his own. Sophomore Connor Manous and freshman Braydon Tucker closed down the back end of the game with two shutout innings. 

After a rough weekend in Knoxville, Tennessee, IU did exactly what it needed to do in two midweek contests. IU took care of business Tuesday against the University of Cincinnati on Tuesday and then Butler on Wednesday to bring its record back to 4-4. 

“It was awesome,” Kaletha said. “From here on out, I think you’re going to see a lot of great baseball from us. We’re getting more confident when it comes to our approaches and our swings.”

IU will be back in action Friday as it heads to Conway, South Carolina for a three game round robin tournament with Coastal Carolina University, the University of Connecticut and Northeastern University.

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