Indiana Daily Student

Indiana baseball shows offensive improvement, inconsistent pitching in series loss to Xavier

Junior designated hitter Hunter Jessee swings at a pitch in the first game of a doubleheader against Xavier on March 20, 2022, at Bart Kaufman Field. Jessee had two runs batted in during the win over Xavier.
Junior designated hitter Hunter Jessee swings at a pitch in the first game of a doubleheader against Xavier on March 20, 2022, at Bart Kaufman Field. Jessee had two runs batted in during the win over Xavier.

Indiana dropped its second series in a row after losing 13-7 against Xavier University in the last game of the home series on Sunday afternoon. 

The Hoosiers dropped three of their four games against ​​the Musketeers and now stand at four games under .500 with a record of 8-12. The Hoosiers have been able to start putting consistent runs across the board after struggling earlier in the year, but now they can't bring home the wins. 

Indiana went 5-1 during the first week and a half of March, but has gone 2-5 in games since then, losing two consecutive series to non-conference opponents. In losing all three games to Troy University and only recording one win in its series against Xavier, Indiana recorded its first third home loss of the season after starting 5-0 at Bart Kaufman Field. 

Indiana’s issue hasn’t been scoring. Since the beginning of its series with Troy, Indiana has scored a combined 66 runs, including a 20 run performance against the University of Kentucky. 

Related: [Indiana baseball drops four-game series against Xavier, splits Sunday doubleheader]

Despite strong weekend efforts from junior Matthew Ellis and freshman Josh Pyne, the offense couldn’t fully find its groove and the team still couldn’t find a way to win. The two infielders combined for 11 RBI’s in the four games against Xavier. 

Indiana's biggest issue comes from the pitching mound. 

No Indiana pitcher that has had three or more appearances this season has an earned run average below 3.00. Currently, the team sits with a 6.61 ERA, putting them at 11th in the Big Ten. 

Indiana has struggled with walks this year. Indiana pitchers have walked 118 batters, the most in the Big Ten. Indiana lost numerous starting pitchers last year, including four pitchers to the MLB draft, but head coach Jeff Mercer said he knew what to expect from his current roster and has high hopes for them. 

“It is a young team, it's an inexperienced team,” Mercer said. “That's the reality of it. A little bit of a frustrating part of it is (that) it's a very talented team.”

Entering the series against Xavier, Indiana was tied at sixth for most walks in Division 1 baseball. Throughout the series, Indiana went to the bullpen a total of 15 times in the four-game span, and Mercer said he knows where his pitching staff has to change. 

“For our guys that are shell-shocked that college baseball is a lot better than what we experienced last year, they've got to get over that,” Mercer said. “They have to move on and we have to make adjustments to execute pitches better.”

Indiana has seven home games left in its 13-game home stand. Indiana's next game will be against Indiana State University at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

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