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‘It was not good’: Pitching struggles play big part in Indiana baseball’s 15-4 loss to Wright State

Indiana Head Coach Jeff Mercer’s former team got the best of him Wednesday when Wright State beat the Hoosiers, 15-4.

Mercer played for and graduated from Wright State in 2009 and was the head coach for the Raiders the last two seasons while serving on the coaching staff the previous five.

“It was good to see them before the game started, I love those guys and have a great relationship,” Mercer said. “Once the game starts you just go play.”

The playing part was the difficult part of the game today for Mercer and Indiana. His current team couldn’t handle the firepower of the Wright State offense which equated to consistent pitching and defensive struggles for the Hoosiers.

On the mound, the Hoosiers used seven pitchers with none of them going more than 2.2 innings nor finding much success. The seven combined for 15 runs allowed on 14 hits, including two home runs, with eight walks on the day.

Early on, Indiana gave Wright State a fight, but the walks Indiana allowed gave opportunities to the Raiders to score. The bats really started to make an impact for Wright State late in the game. 10 of Wright State’s runs were scored in the last three innings. Mercer acknowledged the pitching struggles and compared the bullpen to the workforce for his plans with them moving forward.

“It was not good,” Mercer said. “Hopefully some of those things clean up. It’s a competition and the reality of the world is if you can’t do a job then you don’t get to do that job anymore.”

Mercer thought the fastball was a key aspect to the team’s struggles from the mound.

“Our inability to throw a fastball where we want to,” Mercer said. “We didn’t do that.”

Indiana’s head coach did say though that he was excited and impressed with freshman McCade Brown who started and made his first career appearance. Brown went 2.2 innings while allowing one hit, four walks, and three runs and striking out two.

The pitching struggles for the Hoosiers contributed to the defensive struggles too. The eight walks allowed for baserunners for Wright State along with two hit-by-pitches.

Additionally, Indiana allowed three past balls and had three wild pitches on the night too. Senior catcher Wyatt Cross filled in for senior starting catcher Ryan Fineman as he is currently injured. Cross struggled some adjusting to many different pitchers to work with. He had two errors on the game, including a failed pick-off to third that allowed a run to score in the eighth when Wright State put up six of their 15 runs.

Mercer liked what he saw from his back-up catcher through the struggles.

“I thought Wyatt’s done a really good job,” Mercer said. “I know there was a few miscues today but it’s really hard to catch when guys are cutting fastballs from one side to the other and fluttering breaking balls.”

Indiana will look to get back on track this weekend when they return to conference play and host Penn State for a three-game series.

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