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IU baseball hitters strike out 15 times in 5-2 loss to Kentucky


Senior catcher Ryan Fineman runs back to the dugout Sunday at Bart Kaufman Field. Fineman hit a fly ball out to right field, and it was caught at the bottom of the third inning against Minnesota. Alex Deryn

IU baseball freshman Jake Skrine crushed the first pitch he saw deep off the wall in left field. He drove in a run to cut his team’s deficit to two in the seventh inning. 

It had the feeling of a late inning comeback IU has seen throughout the 2019 season. 

Tuesday night in Lexington, Kentucky, that comeback never materialized. 

IU was unable to make up a three run deficit and lost a chance to boost its résumé with a 5-2 loss to the University of Kentucky. 

Sophomore Tommy Sommer was the starting pitcher for the Hoosiers, but it was his catcher that put the team in an early hole. 

Senior catcher Wyatt Cross allowed a breaking ball from Sommer to get through his legs and roll to the backstop. The mistake allowed two Kentucky runners to score. 

IU would get a run back in the third inning as sophomore Drew Ashley drove in fellow sophomore Justin Walker. 

In the sixth inning, after already adding a third run, Kentucky was able to extend its lead with another catching error by IU. Senior Ryan Fineman took over for Cross behind the plate and attempted to pick off a Kentucky runner at third base. Fineman’s throw got into left field, and Kentucky senior Ryan Shinn was able to score to make the score 4-1.  

Skrine’s double made the score 4-2 and left two runners in scoring position with just one out. The Hoosiers failed to add any runs as Walker and Fineman struck out. . 

The bullpen was unable to hold Kentucky off the board. IU sophomore Connor Manous allowed Kentucky to increase its lead to three runs with a run-scoring single to center field in the bottom of the seventh inning.

IU’s top hitters, junior Matt Gorski and senior Matt Lloyd, combined to go 0-8 with three strikeouts in the loss. Kentucky's five pitchers combined to strike out 15 IU batters, tied for the third most strikeouts IU has had in a single game this season. The IU lineup which leads the nation with its 1.72 home runs per game average, never hit a ball over the outfield wall in the loss.

Sommer finished the game with four-and-two-thirds innings pitched striking out seven while allowing four runs, only three of which were earned.

Kentucky sophomore pither Jimmy Ramsey earned the win. Ramsey struck out seven Hoosiers over four innings. He allowed just one run on three hits.

With the loss, IU dropped to 31-17 overall. It has now lost three of its last four games, and four straight to Kentucky. IU’s record against teams in the top 50 of the Ratings Power Index falls to 3-7. IU was 28th in the RPI entering Tuesday's game while Kentucky was 42nd. 

IU will now move back into Big Ten play this weekend and travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan to face the Big Ten leader, Michigan. The Hoosiers are 2.5 games behind the Wolverines in the standings heading into the weekend. Senior Pauly Milto is expected to pitch for IU on Friday, junior Tanner Gordon on Saturday and Andrew Saalfrank on Sunday. 

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