7-run fourth dooms Hoosiers in 10-3 loss to Aggies

Jonathan Stiever retired eight of the first nine batters he faced in Friday’s NCAA Tournament opener.

His second time through the Texas A&M lineup wasn’t nearly as smooth.

The No. 3 Aggies plated seven runs with two outs in the top of the fourth, chasing Stiever early in No. 2 Indiana’s 10-3 loss in the Austin Regional opener at Disch-Falk Field.

“Tough game,” IU coach Chris Lemonis said. “You get in the fourth and you give up seven runs with two outs, (it) just took the wind out of our sails.”

The Hoosiers are now one loss away from ending their season. They’ll face No. 4 Texas Southern on Saturday in an elimination game at 2:30 p.m.

After a strong start to Friday’s contest, Stiever labored during a rough fourth inning. Stiever coasted through the first three frames before retiring only two of the nine batters he faced the second time through the order.

“It is probably most of it on myself, not being able to get ahead in the count,” Stiever said. “When I was able to make quality pitches, they were able to take advantage in those scenarios. Give them credit, but I am more frustrated with myself in those scenarios.”

The right-hander yielded back-to-back singles to start the fourth before quickly retiring the next two batters. He was almost out of the jam when Logan Foster sliced an RBI single to right field. Will Frizzell followed with a two-run double to give the Aggies a 3-0 lead.

Texas A&M continued to pile on, hurting Stiever in the process when Cole Bedford lined a comebacker off Stiever’s ankle to load the bases.

Stiever took a few warmup pitches before electing to stay in the game. But he walked the next batter — A&M’s No. 9 hitter — on four pitches to force in a run, then gave up a bases-clearing double that extended A&M’s advantage to 7-0.

The junior lasted merely 3 2/3 innings, throwing 71 pitches in that span.

“A little bit is just falling behind and leaving a pitch out there a little bit,” Lemonis said. “I think a couple of the breaking balls stood up, was what it was. I look at myself. I have our centerfielder (playing in), the ball started carrying out of here. So yesterday it didn’t carry at all and we got a couple balls over our head.”

IU’s seven-run deficit was insurmountable on an evening when Aggies starter John Doxakis mowed down Hoosier hitters. Doxakis, who has emerged as a second ace for A&M in recent weeks, struck out 12 and allowed only one hit across six innings.

“He was mixing up his pitches well with that slider and with that fastball he was throwing in and out,” IU senior Logan Sowers said. “He was getting some good calls, too, so I think that helps. But he threw really well. Give him credit.”

Doxakis struck out seven of the first nine batters he faced, allowing only one baserunner through the first three innings. He hit Jeremy Houston with two outs in the third, but the Hoosiers lost their opportunity when Houston was picked off first to end the inning.

All told, IU struck out 17 times and managed only five hits. Luke Miller hit a pair of solo home runs for the Hoosiers, who didn’t score their first run until a throwing error by A&M third baseman George Janca allowed Houston to come home with two outs in the sixth.

Now, the Hoosiers are in a similar position to where they were a week ago. This time, however, their next loss ends their season.

“We have Pauly Milto going tomorrow, one of our better starters,” Lemonis said, “and then everybody else is behind him in tomorrow’s game so we can survive and advance. We have our back against the wall now and we’ll just play it one game at a time from this point on.”

2 comments

  1. Just sad. This team has not progressed like I thought they would. You just can’t turn it on at any time. Texas teams can play ball. I don’t really seeing IU or BiG teams doing much. Hopefully this will build resilience for future. Maybe Minny can do something.

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