Bottom 10th: Indiana center fielder Tim O’Conner sliced a double down the right field line to bring in Will Nolden with two outs to give Indiana a 1-0 win over Western Kentucky.
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On one level, it’s hard to say Indiana has a pitching problem. The Hoosiers lead the Big Ten and rank 26th nationally in earned run average at 2.81. They’ve had strong starting pitching for much of the season, and even after the loss of closer Ryan Halstead to an early season ACL tear, the bullpen has been strong throughout with a versatile anchor in Scott Effross and a number of long-relief options.
Still, the season-ending injury to junior left-hander Kyle Hart and the struggles of sophomore left-hander Will Coursen-Carr have Tracy Smith concerned about the structure of his pitching staff. The Hoosiers have a pair of reliable starters in senior left-hander Joey DeNato and sophomore right-hander Christian Morris, but that only gets them through Friday and Saturday in weekend series. Mid-week non-conference games are extremely important for the No. 21 Hoosiers, who have been deemed a likely NCAA Tournament regional hosts in several bracket projections this week. That means the Hoosiers not only have to solidify their Sunday starter situation, but also decide on a plan for their Wednesday non-league games.
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The NCAA released official RPI numbers and Indiana is rated No. 9 this week despite Sunday’s loss to Morehead State. The Hoosiers are 21-11.
Ryan Anderson, a 6-foot-9 junior transferring from Boston College, announced on Twitter that he will visit Indiana on May 5.
He will also visit Iowa State on May 2 and Arizona on May 8. Anderson averaged 14.3 points and 7.3 rebounds this season. Anderson will sit out next season per NCAA transfer rules and will have shoulder surgery during that period.
Indiana snapped its nine-game winning streak with a loss to Morehead State on Sunday, but the Hoosiers moved up to No. 21 in the Baseball America Top 25. The Hoosiers are 21-11 heading into the week and play Western Kentucky on Wednesday before a weekend series with Michigan State.
Indiana junior left-hander Kyle Hart posted on his Twitter account on Monday morning that he will have surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left arm. Hart is most likely referring to Tommy John surgery, which is formally known as ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, and this most likely will end his season.
“I will have surgery to repair the torn UCL in my elbow,” Hart posted on Twitter. “Can’t wait to support my teammates the rest of this year. I’ll be back.”
Hart was 3-1 this season with a 2.29 earned run average and 25 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings. He had earned the spot as Indiana’s No. 2 starter behind senior Joey DeNato, but hasn’t pitched since March 30 when he left a start against Ohio State after four innings with pain in his forearm.
UPDATE: Indiana confirmed that Hart will have Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season in the following release.
Hart to Undergo Surgery, Miss Remainder of 2014 Season
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana head baseball coach Tracy Smith announced Monday that junior southpaw Kyle Hart will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the remainder of the 2014 season. He is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for the 2015 campaign.
“This is a tough break for Kyle, but surgery is the best option for him right now,” Smith said. “We look forward to Kyle returning better than ever and leading our pitching staff in 2015.”
Hart posted a 3-1 record with a 2.29 earned run average and one save in six starts and nine overall appearances this year. He won back-to-back Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honors on March 17 and 24, and surrendered just three earned runs in 28.1 innings pitched in the entire month of March.