As the Hoosiers look to solidify their weekend rotation across the regular season’s final stretch, Cal Krueger gave them a nice boost on Sunday.
The IU right-hander earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors on Monday after turning in six solid innings in Sunday’s series-clinching win over Penn State.
Krueger struck out four and walked three, allowing only one unearned run on five hits. It’s the first time in his young career the Jasper native has earned a Big Ten honor.
“He’s just a freshman, but he pitched well,” IU coach Chris Lemonis said after Sunday’s win. “He gave us some really good innings.”
Krueger threw 52 of his 86 pitches for strikes, coming within nine pitches of matching his career high from a long-relief appearance two weeks ago against Maryland. During the third and fourth innings Sunday, Krueger quickly retired the first two batters before putting runners on first and second and finding himself in a minor jam.
Lemonis says one of Krueger’s next hurdles to clear is avoiding those two-out rallies and getting out of innings as cleanly as he begins them.
“I think (the next step) is getting through some of those spots and keeping your focus a little bit longer to finish innings and not let them have a little bit of an inning,” Lemonis said. “He had a couple innings where it was three or four pitches and he had two outs, the he got a couple baserunners on.”
Across his past two starts, Krueger has allowed three runs (two earned) on 11 hits over 10 2/3 innings, walking four and striking out seven.
For the season, Krueger has a 2.61 ERA and opponents are hitting .243 against him.