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Indiana Baseball Drops Home Opener

Indiana baseball trailed from the first inning Tuesday afternoon in its home opener at Bart Kaufman Field, losing 8-3 to the Cincinnati Bearcats.

A solo home run from Cincinnati’s Connor McVey off Indiana starting pitcher Andrew Saalfrank gave the Bearcats a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first. The Bearcats extended the lead to three in the third inning and Cincinnati starting pitcher AJ Kullman, kept the Hoosiers off balance all game with his power sinker.

“We really chased early,” IU head coach Chris Lemonis said. “I don’t know if we were trying to hit a home run because it was windy and I will tip my hat to their guy he threw that power sinker in there and we just chased down all day long.”

The home opening loss is disappointing for Indiana because of how good they started the year. Indiana’s 9-2 record coming into the game was the best start in program history since 2003 when the Hoosiers started 10-1.

After taking three out of four games against San Diego over the weekend and averaging over seven runs scored in the series, Indiana recorded a season low five hits against Cincinnati Tuesday afternoon.

The Hoosiers could never string a rally together against the Bearcats, and when they finally did get runners on they failed to bring them in, as seven Hoosiers were left stranded on the afternoon.

“Couldn’t get it going there offensively and then we couldn’t get the big hit,” Lemonis said. “We had first and second and bases loaded and a chance to make it a game, we just never seemed to get that one big swing.”

One Hoosier who did have his bat working Tuesday night was sophomore left fielder Matt Gorski. He went 2-for-4 with a stolen base in the game and after starting the year hitting just .125, he’s hit .500 in his last five games.

“I think it’s a lot of the confidence piece,” Gorski said. “I started off a little shaky and then got in the cages with coach Cheese and coach Lucas and got my swing back and now I feel a lot better at the plate.”

Lemonis knew he would have to piece together today’s game pitching-wise, but decided to give Saalfrank the nod to start.

He lasted just two innings, allowing three runs while striking out two.

Indiana sophomore starting pitcher Andrew Saalfrank delivers a pitch Tuesday against Cincinnati. Saalfrank allowed three runs in two innings of work in the Hoosiers 8-3 loss. (Amelia Herrick/HN)

The IU skipper mixed and matched six different pitchers to finish out the last seven innings of the game. The bullpen has been solid to start the year, but Tuesday they combined to allow five runs on 12 hits while striking out just five.

“We were actually rested, I thought we had all of our guys available they just didn’t pitch great,” Lemonis said. “They just come in and throw strikes and we have a lot of pieces from a left-handed sidearmer to a good breaking ball guy so we’ve been able to match them up pretty good and put them in there.”

Lemonis apologized for the way his team played Tuesday because they’ve been much better than what they showed in the loss to Cincinnati.

Looking ahead, Indiana’s next nine games are all at home with University of the Pacific coming to Bloomington this weekend as the Hoosiers are hoping to get back in the win column.

“Wins, we want wins,” Lemonis said. “Getting in a groove and playing well, we’ve been road warriors the first three weeks, but we’re just trying to get back home and play good baseball.”

Zain Pyarali

I am a junior from Edwardsville, Illinois majoring in Sports Media. I formerly worked for the Indiana Daily Student for two years serving as the Sports Editor and beat reporters for Men’s Basketball, Men’s Soccer, Baseball and Field Hockey during my time with the student newspaper. Currently I am the Men’s Basketball beat reporter for IU Student Television while I also broadcast games for BTN Student U. Email me: zpyarali@thehoosiernetwork.com and follow me on Twitter: @ZainPyarali

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