A good ole’ pitcher’s duel it was. With IU Head Basketball Coach Tom Crean and family looking on, Blake Monar threw 7 strong innings but came out on the losing end of a 2-0 tilt with conference foe Ohio State. The freshman left-hander gave up just 1 earned run, 4 hits and 2 walks and struck out 6, but the Hoosiers could not muster any runs to support him as Buckeye starter Alex Wimmers threw his second consecutive complete game, giving up just 5 hits and striking out 14 in a shutout effort.
Based on Wimmer’s stat line, the Hoosiers obviously struggled at the plate. Right-fielder T.C. Knipp had 2 hits, and Josh Phegley, Alex Dickerson and Jake Dunning each added one apiece. The team had no walks against those 14 strikeouts, and they failed to tally even a single extra-base hit for the game, both of which are concerning statistics.
As much as IU struggled at the plate, the game’s pivotal play was actually a defensive miscue. With one out in the bottom of the 7th inning and runners on first and second, Monar induced the potential inning-ending double play ball he was looking for, but second basemen Brian Lambert let the ball scoot under his glove between his legs. A run scored on the play, and Ohio State followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0 before Monar got a strikeout and a groundout to end the inning. Although Lambert made several nice plays throughout the game, you have to wonder how the game would have turned out had he converted on that double-play opportunity and the game remained tied heading into the top half of the eighth.
The loss dropped IU’s record to 2-4 on the Florida trip and 7-12 on the season. Hopefully the Hoosiers can wrap up this spring break swing on a positive note with a victory tomorrow afternoon against Central Connecticut of the Northeast Conference.
Next game: 3/21 at 2:30pm EST vs. Central Connecticut State University (4-3) at Chain O’Lakes Field in Winter Haven, FL.
Projected Starter: Matt Bashore (0-3)