Pitching fails IU in 15-4 loss to Wright State

Eight walks, three wild pitches, two hit batsmen and two passed balls.

Another midweek game, another ugly outing for Indiana.

This time, the pitching battery was largely to blame for IU’s 15-4 loss to Wright State before an announced crowd of 1,528 at Bart Kaufman Field. A parade of Hoosier hurlers struggled to find the strike zone, and even when they did, their pitches were ripe for the raking.

After an explosive offensive weekend at Maryland, IU returned home and struggled from the outset against first-year coach Jeff Mercer’s former program. Indiana’s power at the plate was still visible, but inexperience and inconsistency on the mound ultimately doomed the Hoosiers to a second straight non-conference loss.

“It was not good,” Mercer said.

Not at all.

Even with IU’s pitching trouble, this one was still within reach for the Hoosiers as late as the seventh inning. Indiana (17-11) scored all four runs on homers, including solo shots from Cole Barr and Matt Gorski in the second and sixth innings, respectively. Then, Scotty Bradley’s two-run blast in the bottom of the seventh cut Indiana’s deficit to 7-4.

But Wright State (20-8) scored eight runs across the final two innings, batting around in the eighth against IU’s bullpen.

The Raiders went 8-for-19 with runners on base, 4-for-6 with runners on third and less than two out, and 7-for-16 with two outs, overall.

“A lot of those guys on that team will play pro ball and have a long career,” Mercer said. “So if you throw fastballs at 90 (miles per hour) down the middle, they get hit.”

Perhaps more troubling than the pitches the Raiders hit were the ones they didn’t. Three of Wright State’s first five runs were scored by players who reached base via a walk or hit by pitch. One of Wright State’s two runs in the seventh scored on a passed ball by catcher Wyatt Cross.

In the eighth and ninth innings, the Raiders simply teed off on the Hoosier bullpen trio of Brad Busald, Cal Krueger and Matt Litwicki.

Even for a potent IU lineup that has demonstrated a unique ability to pile on runs, Wednesday’s deficit was too much to overcome.

IU collected only one hit — Bradley’s homer — with runners on base.

“You don’t just get to club 15 home runs and win, like, 20-1,” Mercer said. “It doesn’t happen very often. Sometimes it happens. Today they caught (the hard-hit balls) … but you have to be excellent. You have to live to the standard, work to the standard, every day. In every part of the game. Or you get punched in the mouth. And that’s what happened today.”

Indiana hosts Penn State in a three-game weekend series beginning Friday at 6:05 p.m.