IU finally put all the “pieces to the puzzle” together this morning as they came away with a 10-1 victory over the University of Hartford (1-8) at Henley Field in Lakeland, Florida. Eric Arnett pitched brilliantly on the mound, throwing 7 strong innings and giving up only 1 run on 4 hits and 2 walks with 6 strikeouts. The win snapped IU’s 4-game losing streak and brought Arnett’s record on the year to 4-1 and lowered his ERA to 2.57. The big right-hander from Pataskala, Ohio now has an impressive 35 strikeouts against only 10 walks in 35 innings of work on the season.
The bullpen and defense did their jobs this morning as well. Matt Carr came in and pitched 2 innings of scoreless relief, giving up only 1 hit and striking out the side in the 9th. The defense committed no errors (which may have been a bit generous by the scorekeeper thinking back on the game) and turned 2 double plays in support of Arnett and Carr.
A number of Hoosiers turned in solid performances at the plate against Hartford. Sterling Mack, Vince Gonzalez, and Jake Dunning each had 3 hits and Josh Phegley had 2, both of which were doubles. Mack drove home 3 and Gonzalez drove in 2 as the Hoosiers scored in double figures for the 5th time this season. After starting only 1 game and having no hits in 9 at-bats prior to yesterday, Gonzalez is now 5 for his last 7 at the plate with a double and 2 RBIs. With 5 hits in his last 2 games, Dunning has raised his average to .317 on the season, while Mack is hitting .357 in 14 at-bats after going 3 for 5 in the leadoff spot today.
It was encouraging to see the Hoosiers play well in all facets of the game today. They hit, they fielded, and they pitched as they are capable. Let’s hope this trend continues as the competition improves with Ohio State tomorrow.
Next game: 3/20 at 6pm EST vs. Ohio State (13-2) at Chain O’Lakes Field in Winter Haven, FL. This will be IU’s only regular season matchup against the Buckeyes as they are not scheduled to face each other in the conference season.
Projected Starter: Blake Monar (2-0)