Lead Disintegrates Late in 4-3 Loss at ETSU
March 2, 2012
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - Indiana Baseball (2-5) watched its late three-run lead slowly evaporate Friday afternoon as East Tennessee State (5-2) scored runs in the seventh and eighth innings before walking-off with two more tallies in the bottom of the ninth to defeat IU, 4-3. The Hoosiers owned a 3-0 edge after six and half innings.
Joey DeNato's superb outing was wasted in the losing effort. His third start of the season lasted seven innings and scattered six hits and two walks while surrendering just one run and striking out five. DeNato's season ERA dips to 2.12 on the season. His counterpart, John Long, went the distance for East Tennessee State. Long posted a final line of: eight hits, three runs, two walks and seven strikeouts; in his complete game effort.
The game ended well for Long, but certainly didn't begin so well. Indiana's lead-off hitter, Will Nolden, slapped the very first pitch of the game into centerfield for a single to get things started. Three batters later, Kyle Schwarber put the Hoosiers up, 2-0, powering an opposite-field homerun over the wall in left field.
Indiana tacked on its third run in the fifth inning, coming in a bittersweet manner, however. With runners on the corners after singles for Justin Cureton and Nolden, Dustin DeMuth grounded into a double play. Despite the twin killing, Cureton came across home to give Indiana its three-run lead.
DeNato continued to stream roll through the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings before finally getting tagged for a solo shot by Clinton Freeman in the seventh. The San Diego, Calif., native immediately hunkered down though, sitting down the next two batters and stranding a pair of Buccaneers on the base paths to preserve a 3-2 IU advantage.
Freeman was at it again the following inning against the Hoosier bullpen, driving in another run to pull his Bucs within a lone score at 3-2. Indiana then had two cracks at some much-needed insurance runs in the top of the ninth. With the bases loaded and one out, back-to-back Hoosiers grounded out to leave all three ducks on the pond.
Preseason All-Atlantic Sun DH Dylan Pratt opened the home half of the ninth by going yard and knotting the score at 3-3. A walk, balk, infield hit and grounder back up the middle quickly followed, resulting in Indiana's second walk-off loss in as many weekends.
Game two of the weekend series is slated for a 1:05 pm first pitch on Saturday. With inclement weather in the forecast, game times are subject to change. Stay tuned to IUHoosiers.com and www.twitter.com/hoosierbaseball for any schedule changes that may occur.
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