Jordan Wells / TheHoosier.com
IU head coach Chris Lemonis expected junior right-hander Brian Hobbie to compete heading into his second Big Ten start of the season.
Sure enough, Hobbie did just that. His performance kept IU close as the lone bright spot for IU in Saturday afternoon’s 3-1 Game 2 home loss to Nebraska at Bart Kaufman Field.
“I thought Brian was really good,” Lemonis said. “We didn’t help him a lot. It would’ve been nice if he could’ve gone another inning or so, but we run his pitch count up in some of those innings when we don’t defend.”
Hobbie tossed three strikeouts while allowing just seven hits, two earned runs and a walk in six innings, overcoming a rocky start to keep the contest competitive for the Hoosiers.
Nebraska loaded the bases with zero outs in the top of the first, but Hobbie was able to get junior designated hitter Scott Schreiber to ground out into a double play. Although Cornhuskers freshman right fielder Mojo Hagge scored an unearned run on the play, Hobbie would again force another groundout by Nebraska senior first baseman Ben Miller to end the inning.
At one point, the Springfield, Illinois, native retired seven consecutive batters across four scoreless frames. That streak ended in the sixth inning, when Hobbie allowed back-to-back singles by Nebraska batters.
With runners on first and second and one out remaining in the inning, the Hoosiers briefly called time so Hobbie and IU pitching coach Kyle Bunn could have a conversation on the mound. Hobbie again loaded the bases in the top of the sixth, but got the final batter of the inning to fly out and limit the damage to just one run.
Hobbie said the key to minimizing that damage was keeping the ball in play.
“Not try to do too much, not try to be a super hero too much on every pitch,” Hobbie said. “Just let the go in play, turn some double plays, stuff like that."
In the bottom of the sixth, a leadoff double by freshman first baseman Matt Gorski then an RBI double by senior outfielder Craig Dedelow cut the deficit to 2-1.
Hobbie was pulled in the top of the seventh after surrendering a home run to Nebraska second baseman Jake Schleppenbach with nobody out which extended the Husker lead to 3-1.
Overall, though, it was still a solid afternoon for Hobbie, with 55 of 74 pitches thrown for strikes.
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