Feb. 18, 2012
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -
Joey DeNato hurled six shutout innings and Chris Sujka drove in four runs as the Indiana Baseball team (1-1) defeated Cincinnati (0-1), 7-4, in the second game of the opening weekend.
DeNato earned the `W' on the mound, allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out five. The San Diego, Calif., native picked up where he left off last season, recording a team-high seven wins during his freshman campaign. He had some help from the bullpen on Saturday, most notably from fellow sophomore Aaron Slegers. Slegers retired the first six batters he faced and ultimately earned his first career save by working the final 2.1 innings of the ball game.
For the second time in as many days, Indiana faced their opposition's pitching ace. With Cincinnati's Friday night game against Purdue postponed due to rain, the Bearcats sent their No. 1 guy, Andrew Strenge, to the bump. The Hoosiers were able to take advantage of back-to-back Strenge walks in the top of the second. Next was one of just two hits surrendered by Strenge. It was an impactful hit, however, as Sujka blasted a first pitch fastball sailing over the wall in left center for a three-run homerun. It marked the first homer at Al Lang Stadium this weekend, coming in the fifth contest played at the facility.
Backed with a three-run cushion, DeNato rolled through six innings and sat down the final eight batters he faced. Before Slegers checked in to the game, he was handed a fourth run thanks to some well-executed small ball by IU in the top half of the seventh. Michael Basil opened the frame with a single up the middle and moved up to second via a Tim O'Conner sacrifice bunt. Trace Knoblauch took care of the rest, belting an RBI-single into center field, scoring Basil.
The Bearcats made things interesting in the home half of the seventh, pushing across three runs and narrowing the gap to a lone tally. After an RBI-double by UC's designated hitter notched their third run, Slegers emerged from the pen and quickly induced a groundball to end the threat.
With all the momentum seemingly on the side of Cincinnati, O'Conner laced a line drive into the left-center gap to start an IU scoring spree in the ninth. By the time Indiana recorded its third out, Sujka posted his second extra-base hit, fourth RBI and Indiana inflated its run total to seven.
Cincinnati snuck another run in with two outs in the final half inning, creating a 7-4 final score.
Indiana wraps up the opening weekend on Sunday, taking on the Pittsburgh Panthers in a 1 p.m. showdown to close out the Big Ten/Big East Challenge.