Hoosiers Drop Series Opener at LBSU
March 15, 2014
LONG BEACH, Calif. - #16 Indiana Baseball (8-7) fell in a bizarre walk-off defeat at Long Beach State (9-7), ending with a bases-loaded passed ball that reach all the way to the backstop. The score was tied 3-3 entering the bottom of the ninth before the Dirtbags escaped with a 4-3 win.
Senior pitching ace Joey DeNato delivered yet another quality start in the series opener, his fifth in as many weekends this season. Pitching in his home state, the San Diego native worked six innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out five en route to a no decision. The five punchouts move his career total to 239, the third most in school history. DeNato now only trails Matt Bashore (2008-09) and Eric Jacques (1986-89) with 244 career strikeouts each.
Despite suffering the loss on an unearned run via the ninth inning passed ball, sophomore reliever Scott Effross lowered his career ERA to 2.30 after tossing 2.1 innings. He is now tied with Bobby Woodward (1966) for the eighth best ERA all-time at IU.
The Hoosiers notched the first two tallies of the evening, plating a run in second and fourth innings.
Dustin DeMuth laid down a bunt single in the second stanza to reach base for the 12th straight contest. A grounder moved him into scoring position and Tim O'Conner's slap into right center escorted DeMuth around to score.
In the fourth frame, Nick Ramos came to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. He found hole a in the left side of the infield and yanked it through to score Brad Hartong and increased the IU lead to 2-0.
Long Beach State had an immediate response in the home half of the fourth, quickly pulling back even at 2-2 on the strength of three base knocks, including a pair of doubles. A solo homer in the sixth then gave LBSU its first lead, 3-2.
Casey Smith was plunked to lead off the next half inning and pushed up to second on a sac bunt from O'Conner. After a fielding error put runners at the corners, Kyle Schwarber pulled a pitch into right for a 3-3 ballgame.
An LBSU pinch hitter started off the bottom of the ninth with a single. With one out and the bases loaded a few batters later, head coach Tracy Smith brought in Chad Clark as a fifth infielder. Unfortunately, the defensive shift never had a chance to come to fruition as a 1-1 toss got away and rolled to the back stop, allowing the winning tally to come home from third.
Game two of the weekend series is set for 5 pm ET.
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