Although the Hoosier pitching staff gave up 8 runs in a 10-inning 10-8 win at the University of Evansville on Tuesday evening, only 4 were earned. The rest were attributable to 4 IU errors. Freshman Drew Leininger started the game and threw 2.1 innings, giving up 4 hits and 3 runs (2 earned) while walking 3. He was relieved in the 3rd inning by Matt Carr. Carr pitched well in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings and only allowed one unearned run over that span. In the 6th, however, Carr ran into trouble when he loaded the bases with Aces on a walk, an error, and a bunt single. The bases loaded jam ended his day as Joey O'Gara came on for a little damage control on the mound.
However, O'Gara promptly gave up a big 3-run double (all 3 runs accredited to Matt Carr - 1 unearned) that cleared the bases. After only one batter and 2 pitches, freshman southpaw Matt Igel (who came into the game with a 9.64 ERA) relieved O'Gara and pitched brilliantly for 3.2 innings. He allowed just one hit and a single unearned run (accredited to O'Gara) while striking out 5 and walking none in route to his first career win in a Hoosier uniform.
In the 10th, Coach Tracy Smith decided to go with closer Chris Squires to secure an IU victory. Squires did not disappoint as he allowed one hit and struck out 2 in shutting the door on the Purple Aces to pick up his 7th save of the season.
The IU pitching wasn't nearly as bad as the score indicates, and instead, it was the Hoosier defense that really let the midweek hurlers down. We are going to need to tighten the defense this weekend against Michigan State in order to have any hope of taking home the Big Ten regular season title or at least a favorable seed in the Big Ten tournament.
Fortunately for the Hoosiers, though, the offense continued its midweek terror with 13 hits and 4 homeruns. Leading the way for IU in this one were Evansville native Kipp Schutz (3-4) with 3 hits, a homerun and 2 RBIs and Josh Phegley (2-4) with 2 solo homeruns and 2 walks. Jerrud Sabourin (2-6) had a huge 2 RBI double in the 10th to give the Hoosiers the 2 run lead going into the bottom of the 10th, and Jake Dunning (2-5) also added a solo homer. Alex Dickerson (2-6) and Michael Earley (0-1, 1 BB, 1 HPB, 1 SB) each scored twice as well.
As we all know, the midweek games really do not matter at this point because our only chance at the postseason is via a Big Ten tournament championship. Nevertheless, hopefully we can carry this momentum into the weekend and on into the Big Ten tournament! Go Hoosiers!