Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hoosiers Hit Projected First Round Draft Pick Hard but fall in 10

In the second game of their week-long spring break swing, the Indiana baseball Hoosiers came up short against the Gamecocks of Jacksonville State University, losing 9-8 in 10 innings. Despite the loss, the Hoosiers can feel good about roughing up JSU’s projected 2009 MLB first round pick Ben Tootle. The junior right-hander threw in front of approximately 20 scouts and regularly hit between 94-97mph, but he couldn’t contain the Hoosier hitters. In 4.2 innings of work, Tootle gave up 5 runs on 5 hits while walking 4, hitting a batter and only striking out 2. Tootle was noticeably rattled after Tyler Rogers stole home in the fourth, and back-to-back homeruns by Alex Dickerson (6) and Michael Earley (1) in the fifth sent the Gamecocks’ ace packing for good for the afternoon.

Freshman Blake Monar pitched 5 innings of no-hit shutout baseball before struggling with his command in the sixth. He got a no-decision on the afternoon after giving up 5 earned runs on 2 hits and 4 walks with 3 strikeouts in 5.1 innings of work.

A scary moment occurred in the sixth after Wyatt Hoff relieved Monar with the bases loaded. After giving up a single through the left side, the next batter hit a line drive right back up the middle that was eerily reminiscent to a similar hit Hoff took to the face earlier in the season (this was only his second game back from surgery to repair a broken nose). Tracy Smith quickly removed him in favor of Matt Carr after the close call, but let's hope he wasn't too shaken up.

The Hoosiers took an 8-6 lead into the bottom of the eighth but couldn’t hold on as the Gamecocks notched a pair in the latter half before bringing home the winning run in the bottom of the tenth on a one-out double to left-center field.

Despite throwing the ball really well over his 2.1 innings of work, junior Jake Dunning took the loss for the Hoosiers. He gave up 1 run on 2 hits with 3 strikeouts. Josh Phegley drove in 3 runs, and Alex Dickerson drove in 2 and had 3 hits in the losing effort.

The loss drops IU’s record to 6-8 on the season, but it was encouraging to see them hit so well against high quality pitching like Tootle. Hopefully the team can continue to swing the bats well and limit the walks, hit batters and errors that hurt them so much today.

Next game: 3/16 (tomorrow) at 4pm EST vs. the University of Northern Iowa (7-7) at Chain O’Lakes Stadium in Winter Haven.

Projected Starter: Matt Bashore (0-3)