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‘We didn’t do anything well’: Sloppy all-around performance ends Indiana baseball’s eight-game win streak

Elijah Dunham gets ready for an at-bat against Kent State Wednesday evening. (Kurt Spitler/HN)

Indiana’s eight-game win streak came to an end Wednesday night due to a plethora of miscues and errors.

Kent State came into Bloomington and took advantage of Indiana’s many missteps and won a 12-inning contest, 9-8. The Hoosiers were able to overcome their four errors in the season finale against Iowa on Sunday. That was not the case Wednesday.

Indiana ended with six errors, two wild pitches, four hit-by-pitches, several passed balls and a balk. Only four of Kent State’s nine runs were earned.

“We really didn’t do anything well, literally anything,” IU Head Coach Jeff Mercer said. “It’s really a minor miracle that we were in the game into the 9th, 10th 11th innings… We did literally nothing fundamentally right. We didn’t execute any of the plans that we outlined before the game. We didn’t do anything that could even be confused for decent baseball.”

It all started in the second inning, where starting pitcher Cam Beauchamp allowed four runs, none of which were earned. Two errors, a wild pitch and two infield singles contributed to the four second-inning runs.

The errors continued in the seventh, where an error on first baseman Matt Lloyd cost Indiana another run. In the eighth, Kent State added another run after a throwing error from centerfielder Grant Richardson.

Despite all of this, Indiana was able to tie it up with back-to-back homers from Lloyd and Elijah Dunham in the eighth, forcing extra innings.

The theme continued in the 11th inning. The second extra inning included a balk, a hit batter, and most importantly, two runs from Kent State. After Indiana answered with a two-run homer from Wyatt Cross, Kent State scored what proved to be the game-winning run off a wild pitch in the 12th inning.

“You’ve gotta be able to go play and execute,” Mercer said. “We missed signs, we missed pitches, we didn’t execute the fastball.”

Coming into this game, Indiana had a .962 fielding percentage with 33 errors, an average of 1.4 errors per game. Normally, the bats have been able to hide poor fielding days. Even eight runs weren’t enough to do that on Wednesday.

Indiana had four home runs, but 15 strikeouts combined with poor relief pitching and a multitude of fielding errors were too much to overcome just purely off of talent and long balls.

“I thought we got too big early in the game with our swings,” Mercer said. “We tried to do too much because the wind is blowing out and there’s a nice crowd and he’s throwing 85 miles per hour.”

This isn’t the first time the Hoosiers have struggled in the field this season. However, most would think eight runs would be enough to mask those miscues. Most would also think scoring that many runs and knocking four balls out of the park would result in some positive takeaways. However, Mercer wasn’t happy with any part of Wednesday’s performance.

“If we had won, let’s say somehow we win this game, I’m telling you the exact same thing, I’m telling those guys the exact same thing,” Mercer said. “We don’t have a choice but to refocus and get back to work.”

Mercer also mentioned that at times this season they’ve been too reliant on a star performance from a starting pitcher or a hot bat and at times they believe those performances and their talent will lead to a win, even with fielding errors and strikeouts.

“We don’t have the ability to go out and just show up and win games,” Mercer said. “When we won games, we haven’t played terrifically well. We haven’t played fundamentally. I think sometimes we think we’ll just score 12 runs and we’ll get a heroic performance from Pauly Milto or Tanner Gordon… I think we rely on our ability too much.”

Indiana is forced to turn around and get ready for a three-game series with Maryland this weekend. Mercer mentioned several times that they “don’t have a choice” about rebounding quickly with a Big Ten series starting in just two days.

Indiana will put their perfect 3-0 Big Ten record on the line starting on Friday against the Maryland Terrapins in College Park. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.

Austin Render

I am a sophomore from Fort Wayne, Indiana majoring in Sports Media. Last year I worked with IUSTV Sports doing recap and feature packages for IU field hockey, women's basketball and baseball. I am one of the current WIUX Co-Sports Directors. I am a student broadcaster for WIUX as well as Big Ten Network Student U. You can reach me at austinrender99@gmail.com and you can follow me on Twitter @austinrender.

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