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Elijah Dunham doesn't sign with Pirates, announces return to IU for junior season



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Sophomore Elijah Dunham cheers as he rounds the bases after his teammate sophomore Cole Barr scores a home run April 10 at Bart Kaufman Field. This was Barr’s 12th home run of the year. Claire Livingston Buy Photos

Junior Elijah Dunham made IU baseball wait on his decision. 

10 Hoosiers were selected in the 2019 MLB Draft, and all made a decision on whether to sign or return soon after the draft. 

Dunham didn’t. 

He was selected inthe 40th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but Dunham announced Friday on Twitter he would return to Bloomington for his junior season. 

Dunham broke out during his sophomore season despite injuries keeping him out for much of non-conference play. In his first start after returning from injury, Dunham hit a grand slam. 

Dunham started 42 games and hit .310 this spring. His batting average is the highest on the team for anyone appearing in over 20 games. Dunham had eight home runs and 29 RBIs, both top-six marks on the team. He was named to All-Big Ten third team. 

In the final weeks of the season, Dunham had the team’s hottest bat. On May 3, Dunham had a .242 batting average. He brought it up to .310 by June 2, doing so in the team’s most important games. He hit .556 over the final week of the regular season as IU clinched the Big Ten regular season title. Dunham had a hit in all three of IU’s regional games as well as three RBIs. 

Dunham has been playing with the Ocean State Waves of the New England Collegiate Baseball League this summer, one of the top summer leagues in the nation. In 89 at-bats, Dunham is hitting .326 with three home runs and 15 RBIs.

With a lineup depleted of stars like Matt Lloyd and Matt Gorski, Dunham will be one of the most important returning hitters. He's a lock to be in the opening day lineup in 2020.

The only question then will be if he stays in the outfield, or moves back to first base where he spent time as a freshman.

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