Hoosiers Rock Eastern Illinois, 16-7
March 2, 2007
Memphis, Tenn. - The Indiana baseball team exploded for its most runs in the Tracy Smith era, notching a 16-7 victory over Eastern Illinois in the opening game of the AutoZone Classic. Evan Crawford went 4-for-6 in the contest with three runs and three RBIs, while Keith Haas went 2-for-6 with a three-run home run.
Josh Phegley and Tyler Cox each had three hits for the Hoosiers, while Josh Richardson scored three runs for IU (2-2). Jason Ferrell pitched four innings of relief to pick up the win (1-0) in his IU debut. Ferrell finished with three hits and three walks allowed in four innings, striking out three. Joe Vicini and Eric Arnett combined to allow just one base runner over the final three innings to finish off the victory. Brandon Murphy (0-1) was credited with the loss for Eastern Illinois (2-2).
The Hoosiers got on the board in the top of the first on an RBI double by Phegley. With Richardson on second and Haas on first, Phegley ripped a 1-0 pitch off the wall in deep left field. Richardson motored around to score, but Haas was gunned down at the plate by shortstop Adam Varrassi to limit IU's damage to one run in the inning.
EIU countered with a run of its own in the bottom of the first. Leadoff man Brett Nommensen singled and stole second on the next pitch, then was sacrificed to third by Jordan Kreke. He then scored on an RBI groundout by Erik Huber to knot the score at 1-1. The Panthers added three runs in the bottom of the second on five singles off starter Doug Fleenor to make the score 4-1.
Indiana rebounded in the top of the third with seven runs in the inning, sending 11 men to the plate. The first eight Hoosiers reached base on six hits, an error and a walk, including Phegley's second RBI double of the game, this one to right center. Cox, the ninth man to bat in the inning, hit a drive to the right-center gap, but it was tracked down by Huber, who caught Sterling Mack of second to post the inning's first two outs. Crawford added an RBI single in the inning, as the Hoosiers took an 8-4 lead.
But EIU refused to go quietly, notching two runs in the third to chase Fleenor from the game, then adding a run in the bottom of the fourth on a home run to left center by Huber off Ferrell.
Indiana fought back with two in the top of the fifth, stringing together a trio of hits with two outs. Cox got the action started with a single through the right side and promptly stole second. Crawford scored Cox on a bloop double that fell behind the shortstop, and Crawford scored on a single by Richardson to make the score 10-7 in favor of the Hoosiers.
The Hoosiers added six insurance runs in the top of the ninth. Kipp Schutz started things off by ripping a ground-rule double to left, and he moved to third on a Michael Nilles infield single. Two batters later, Andrew Means ripped a two-run single, and he scored on a single by Crawford. Haas capped the inning off with his first home run as a Hoosier, ripping a 2-2 pitch over the left-center field wall to plate three more runs.
Indiana is back in action on Saturday, March 3, at 3:30 CST, when it faces host Memphis in its second game at the AutoZone Classic. IU will finish off the weekend against Northern Iowa at 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 4.
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