Saturday, April 25, 2009

IU Wins 8-7 to Even Michigan Series at 1

The Hoosiers wasted little time getting runs on the board this afternoon in an 8-7 win in Game 2 of a 3-game tilt with conference foe Michigan. The win improves IU's record to 19-21 overall and 9-4 in Big Ten play. Eric Arnett picked up his 9th win of the season, and Josh Phegley connected for his 11th homerun of the season as the Hoosiers put together a much better performance at the plate than they did yesterday against Michigan ace Chris Fetter.

IU jumped on Michigan starter Alan Oaks (0-3) in the second inning with 4 runs on 4 hits, but the Wolverines got one back in the bottom half of the second after a double plated the leadoff batter who reached on an error. With Indiana leading 4-1, lightning struck and the teams were forced to take a break in the action. After about an hour delay, the Hoosier bats did not cool down as Phegley hammered a pitch over the left field wall to start the 3rd, and after a walk to Alex Dickerson, the Hoosiers forced Michigan to go to the pen early, chasing Oaks before he even recorded an out in the 3rd.

Arnett, the conference leader in ERA coming into the game, has been nearly unhittable all season but struggled a bit in this one (the rain delay was likely a contributing factor) as he gave up 5 hits and walked 4 in the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings combined. With his pitch count at 131, Arnett was having trouble getting the Michigan hitters out, and Coach Tracy Smith decided to go to Chris Squires out of the pen with 1 out in the 7th.

After surrendering 4 runs in the 7th (all of which were to Arnett's credit) to allow the Wolverines to pull within 1, Squires was finally able to stop the bleeding. With 3 saves on the year (including 2 in conference play), Squires, or "Q" as his teammates call him, has been pitching very well of late, and it was more of the same this afternoon. Clinging to just a 1 run lead with the Michigan bullpen holding the IU bats at bay, it was imperative for "Q" to slam the proverbial door on the Wolverines. By allowing just 2 hits and striking out 3 in 2.2 innings of scoreless relief, Squires did just that, ultimately securing a Hoosier victory and his team-high 4th save of the season with a strikeout to end the game (with the tying run on first). The IU pen has been much more reliable in conference play, and we can only hope that is a trend that will continue for the remainder of the season.

At the plate, the IU bats cranked out 14 hits (4 for extra bases). The 5-9 hitters came up big as #5 hitter Kipp Schutz and #7 hitter Jake Dunning each had 3 hits apiece, while #8 hitter Evan Crawford and #9 hitter Vince Gonzalez each drove in 2. Tyler Rogers (#6 hitter), Schutz, and Crawford each crossed the plate twice as well. Back in the leadoff spot this afternoon, Chris Hervey also recorded a pair of hits in support of the cause for the Hoosiers.

This was a great team win all the way around, and I am glad IU was able to even the series at 1 heading into tomorrow's series finale featuring an all-lefty match-up between Matt Bashore and Michigan's Eric Katzman. Game time is set for 1:05pm. Tune in live at Let's hope for 2 of 3! Go Hoosiers!


  1. In all honesty, Arnett should have been pulled earlier. Not his fault, just too many pitches after a 1 hour wait. Now that Squires showed he can be a good reliever, hopefully we can get our starters out a little earlier. Carr also pitched well on Friday so thats a plus to.

  2. Let's hope the rain holds off tomorrow because the last thing we need is another cancellation...especially since I'd take Bashore against any other Sunday starter in the conference!

  3. In all honesty if the middle infielders could have made a few plays they would have saved Arnett 30+ pitches and a few runs. Not just E
    s but LACK of plays made.

    And when did everyone under the sun become a fricken expert on how many pitches each kid should throw? It's a 7 day rotation - not a pro 4 or 5 day rotation. Who do you want in the game - 75% of Arnett or 125% of our bullpen?

    Some guys are worried about not winning the league because of a rainout (act of God) well I'd hate to lose the league because someone's momma or agent (who looks to get PAID) has put in a kid's head he shouldn't throw 12 more pitches.

    For the first time in many many many many ( a whole bunch of) years IU is sniffing 1st place in the league and "experts" want to question the coaches' decisions. Geeze o pete

  4. Scott - were you at the game? He looked visibly tired and our bullpen has been much better as of late. Most of this wasnt his fault and now we know that the rain is the only thing that can beat Arnett! But if we want to win, we have to use the bullpen. I'm not saying anything about pitch count although you obviously have other issues with moms and agents on that issue. I'm simply looking at the kid and seeing that he is not as good as normal. So yes, in this case, Squires at 1-30 pitches would have been much better than Arnett at 100-130 after a 1 hour rain delay.

  5. 4 errors at SS in 2 games!

  6. Harold - I am at every game - NOBODY can perform at the same peek with an hour delay - not pitchers, catchers, infielders, etc - but they have to play - we can't take them all out. You are right - sQuires is the bullpen bright spot as of late - we are going to need him down the stretch - Yes I have issues with moms and agents - primarily because I don't have either anymore. The pitch count issue is mentioned in several threads - yet I chose to retort to it via this one due to my own personal laziness.
    But mostly Harold, I'm just blown away when a coach gets the team in position to be successful and he is 2nd and 3rd guessed from the cheap seats.

  7. Well thats what sports are all about. Everyone has their own opinion, but only the coaches really matters. I simply wanted to express mine. Every fan has the right to 2nd guess the coach. Wins and first place in the conference will erase much of the 2nd guessing though. I think the argument with all the players being affected is much overstated bc a rain delay is MUCH more difficult on a pitcher. I just think we sometimes leave pitchers in to long. Whether this is at pitch 50, pitch 80, pitch 120, or pitch 150 is not the issue with me bc every pitcher is different. It is whether they are tired and/or struggling and I just think we sometimes leave the starters in too long for fear of the bullpen. I would like to see this changed so we dont blow the lead as we almost did today and I think it might since the bullpen has been performing much better.

  8. Harold - 2nd guessing the coach is the beauty of baseball - when the coach does something that works - he's a genius - if it doesn't he's an idiot. We all love watching a guy hit a double after a kid gets thrown out stealing and saying "if only his coach didn't have the kid stealing we would have scored" or why the heck are we bunting in this situation - yep - part of the game.

    Agreed each pitcher is different and should be treated that way. Agreed we need the bullpen to pull their weight - BUT to this point - with the exception of sQuires - they have only deomstrated their ineffectiveness.

    Many times bullpen ERA's are deceiving - depends on the relief man's situatiuon - for instance many a relief guy can come in and pitch well with the team already down 8 or 9 or up 8 or 9 in the middle of the game (basically when the outcome of the game has been decided)- but the same pitcher comes in a tight spot with a small lead and has trouble merely throwing strikes.

    Also our pitchers are at the mercy of our defense - will need plenty of defense today.

    Go Hoosiers!

  9. Squires has definitely been the bright spot out of the bullpen and very CLUTCH as of late as Scott points out. It would be a shame not to mention that the others like Carr, O'Gara, and Leininger are doing much better though and now just have to use that confidence in clutch situations. Good pitching is just ok when your up by 8, good pitching is GREAT when your hold a 1 or 2 run lead or allow the offense to get you back in the when your down by 1 or 2. Lets be GREAT Hoosiers! And, please play defense!

  10. Squires for NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List. The campaign has started. Unfortunately, he still may be only the second best reliever to dominate Michigan so badly. Stoffel at Arizona is still my #1, but Squires is right there behind him.