After only surrendering 16 hits in his last 4 starts and 1 relief appearance, Blake Monar gave up 10 hits in 6 innings in the conference opener vs. Minnesota. All ten hits were singles, most of which were either of the seeing eye or bloop nature. Regardless, it was those well placed hits along with 5 walks and 2 hit batsman that allowed Minnesota to get 7 runs in his 6 innings pitched. Monar has done a great job thus far of limiting the opposition's hits, but we simply cannot allow so many free passes moving forward. As a side note, one stat that I found interesting is that the scorekeeper listed all 7 runs as earned although one of the Minnesota players that scored actually struck out!
Hoff pitched only .1 innings, giving up 2 earned runs, while Leininger pitched 2.2 innings and gave up 3 earned runs. Despite one pitch I am sure he would like to have back in the 9th that led to a 2-run homer, I thought the freshman left-hander looked promising on the mound as he showed good command and a nice curveball.
Minnesota starter Chauncy Handran shut down the Hoosier bats through 8 innings, only allowing 6 hits and 2 earned runs. Handran was not overpowering on the mound as he only struck out 4 and didn't have great stuff, but he worked quickly and the Hoosiers simply did not hit him well all afternoon, oftentimes jumping on the first decent pitch they saw (he only threw 91 pitches in 8 innings). Minnesota's defense also made it difficult on the Hoosiers, making several spectacular plays including a great diving catch by the left fielder in front of the new "party deck" at Sembower. IU's best chance to rally came in the bottom of the 5th as they had already scored 2 runs and had runners on the corners with Sabourin up. With a full count, Sabourin was caught looking on a questionable called third strike to end the inning.
Kipp Schutz and Jake Dunning each had 2 hits apiece on the afternoon, while 5 other Hoosiers tallied 1 apiece. With Cody Webber and Ethan Wilson currently injured, Evan Crawford made the transition back into the infield at 2B where he unfortunately recorded the only error of the game. Although only 1 error may sound like a good thing given the play of the Hoosier defense thus far, I didn't think we played very well in the field. We failed to convert on all double play opportunities, and we didn't charge the ball well in the outfield, too often allowing runners to score from second without even a throw to make an attempt at a play at the plate.
Overall, there was a good crowd at Sembower Field with a listed attendance of 554. Hopefully everyone will come back tomorrow to watch the Hoosiers attempt to even the series at 1 apiece. Go Hoosiers!