On the first warm day of the season in Bloomington, the Hoosiers’ bats became red hot.
Wilhite launched a three-run shot over the left field wall, bringing in Christopher Lowe and Will Nolden and giving Indiana an early 4-0 lead.
The Hoosiers wouldn’t back down. Hartong added to his RBI total in the fifth inning with a two-run single up the middle that scored Craig Dedelow and Casey Rodrigue and gave Indiana a comfortable 6-0 lead.
Hartong and Wilhite finished the day with three RBIs each. In 55 at bats, Hartong is now batting .273 with six RBIs, while Wilhite’s 2-for-3 day brought him up to a .296 average.
In the seventh inning, Rodrigue crushed a line drive over the right field wall to tack on two more runs to the IU total. Laren Eustance then knocked in Isaiah Pasteur the following inning to score Indiana its ninth run.
The Hoosier pitching staff managed to put together an overall solid performance as well.
Coach Lemonis gave the ball to Kyle Hart to start the game. It was Hart’s first outing since coming off Tommy John surgery a year ago, and he didn’t disappoint.
With a strict pitch count, Hart was able to go the first two innings without giving up a run. The southpaw threw 37 pitches, 25 going for strikes. He also struck out two out of the nine batters he faced, both coming on changeups.
Lemonis and Hart said after the game that everything seemed to be going well with Hart's recovery, and he was feeling good after his first appearance.
"I felt good," Hart said. "Once I threw a couple pitches over the plate and heard the umpire call a strike, it was like nothing ever changed. I'm not naiive. I know there is a lot of work to be done still. I know the next month, two months, are not only going to be big for me but for this team."
Righty Evan Bell came in to relieve Hart in the third inning. Bell lasted four innings, even retiring seven batters in a row from the third through fifth innings.
Despite the solid outing, Bell did give up the only Eastern Michigan run in the sixth inning on a single to right field.
Freshman lefty Austin Foote took over in the seventh inning, retiring all three batters he faced and recording a strike out.
Lemonis then turned to late-inning pitcher Ryan Halstead to finish off the contest. Halstead allowed only one hit in two innings of work to close out the series.
Indiana will host baseball powerhouse Cal State Fullerton over the weekend. The three game series kicks off Friday at 4:35 p.m. at Bart Kaufman Field.Hart to make first start of 2015 season
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