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Milto Leads Indiana to 3-1 Win Over Pacific

Indiana junior starting pitcher Pauly Milto gets set to deliver a pitch Saturday March 10 against Pacific. Milto went 7 innings allowing just one run and struck out nine in the 3-1 win. (Zain Pyarali/HN)

For the second straight game, Indiana baseball received a lights out performance from its starting pitcher. Saturday, the Hoosiers were able to back up junior starter Pauly Milto just enough in the 3-1 win over Pacific.

Milto threw seven innings allowing one run on three hits and tied his career high with nine strikeouts. He faced the minimum through the first five innings; Pacific didn’t record its first hit in the ball game until the top of the sixth.

“Having both off-speed pitches is really nice being able to throw it in there whenever I wanted to in any count,” Milto said. “Just using movement, you got to break plains, make different plains, be able to sink it in there hit spots and keep it low on the knees.”

Milto has been the best starting pitcher for Indiana during this young season. In his first two starts he didn’t allow a run over 15 innings while striking out 13.

Last time out against San Diego, Milto was touched up allowing six runs on 12 hits in just 4.2 innings. But on Saturday, being back at home for the first time this year, Milto found his groove again.

“It’s baseball, you’re going to have ups and downs ride the rollercoaster and forget about it and move on,” he said. “I was able to just re-adjust and come back and be myself.”

Even when the Tigers made contact against Milto, not much damage was done. He forced nine groundouts compared to just one fly out on the afternoon.

IU head coach Chris Lemonis credited Milto for locating the ball well in the zone Saturday as 58 of his 94 pitches were thrown for strikes.

“He’s been really good with command lately,” Lemonis said. “Threw pitches for strikes and he’s been like that pretty much all season. (San Diego) was the one start he didn’t have as good of command, but every other start he’s been pin-point.”

Milto lowered his season ERA to 2.36 after the win Saturday, and dating back to last season his starter ERA is at 3.42 in his last 14 starts.

Back to back quality starts from Hoosier pitchers helps Indiana’s bullpen get some rest as well. BJ Sabol and Matt Lloyd were used out of the bullpen Saturday, while just Cal Krueger was used on Friday after Jonathan Stiever went eight innings strong in game one.

“We have a fresh bullpen,” Lemonis said. “And even BJ and Matt threw in minimal spots today, just very clean.”

The Friday and Saturday starters for Indiana are locked down with Stiever and Milto, but the Sunday spot is still a big question mark for Lemonis. He said postgame that freshman left-hander Tommy Sommer will get the nod in the series finale.

Sunday will be the second start of the season for the 6-foot-4, 207-pound Sommer. He went four innings in his first start against San Diego last weekend allowing two runs on five hits while striking out three.

After Indiana received masterpieces from Steiver and Milto to begin the series, they’ll look to the freshman and a well-rested bullpen to lock down the series win.

“We talk about the lead duck all the time,” Lemonis said. “Usually when your starter goes out there the day before and does well it kind of has that trickle down effect and everyone follows him.”

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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