It was a great day for baseball in Bloomington, and just over 900 fans came out to support the baseball Hoosiers this afternoon. Unfortunately, IU was unable to parlay that support into a victory to open a 3 game tilt with Penn State, falling 9-7 to the Nittany Lions. After trailing 7-1 heading into the bottom half of the 5th, IU put 3 on the board in both the 5th and the 7th to tie the score but ultimately came up short as PSU squelched IU's comeback effort with the decisive 2 runs in the 8th.
Following his most impressive outing of the season at Iowa last weekend, left-hander Blake Monar struggled on the mound for the Hoosiers, giving up 7 runs on 9 hits (with no walks and 1 strikeout) in 4.2 innings of work. After giving up only 4 extra-base hits (all doubles) on the season coming into the game, the freshman left-hander yielded 3 to the Nittany Lions, including a pair of homeruns to left fielder and #3 hitter Mike Deese (2R HR in the 1st, 3R HR in the 5th). Monar didn't have his sharp off-speed pitches working this afternoon and left too many fastballs up in the zone, and he just couldn't seem to find a rhythm as a result. Let's hope this is just a minor blip on what has been an otherwise solid freshman campaign for Monar.
In relief, Matt Carr came in and threw flawlessly in the 6th and 7th innings shutting down Penn State in order both innings while allowing IU to tie the game at 7. In the 8th, however, he gave up 2 hits that moved runners to 2nd and 3rd with only one out. Tracy Smith chose to go to Chris Squires who allowed each of those runners to score (one on a hit; the other on a fielder's choice) before ending the top of the 8th trailing 7-9.
At the plate the Hoosiers used 10 hits and 4 walks as well as a trio of Penn State errors to plate 7 runs for the game. Jerrud Sabourin, Josh Phegley and Alex Dickerson (who clubbed his 11th homerun of the season in the 4th) each had 2 hits and accounted for all 5 (Sabourin, Phegley - 2; Dickerson - 1) of IU's RBIs for the game. PSU starter T.J. Macy struck out 9 in 7 innings of work, and the Hoosiers struck out 12 times for the game.
After coming up with several key hits in the 5th and 7th, the Hoosiers couldn't come through in the clutch in the last 2 innings as they left a pair of base-runners stranded in the 8th and left them loaded in the 9th to end the game.
It was very impressive to see the team come back from a 6-run deficit, but this was still a tough loss for the Hoosiers. Hopefully tomorrow will be a different story. Eric Arnett will take the ball for IU as he tries to extend his streak of consecutive complete games to 4. Game time is set for 1pm. It should be another great day for baseball, so head on out to Sembower Field and cheer on the Hoosiers!