EIU Rally Knocks Off Indiana, 6-3
March 17, 2009
LAKELAND, Fla. - Eastern Illinois scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to rally for a 6-3 win over Indiana on Tuesday. The Panthers improved to 10-4 with the win, while IU is now 6-10 on the season. Josh Phegley and Sterling Mack each hit solo home runs for Indiana in the loss.
Chris Squires pitched effectively for the first seven innings, but was charged with all six runs in falling to 1-1 on the season. Jordan Kreke came out of the bullpen for the final 2 1/3 for EIU. The only man he failed to retire was Mack, whose solo shot to right gave IU a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth. Mack took the first pitch he saw from Kreke over the wall in right for his first career homer to put IU ahead.
But Eastern Illinois finally cracked Squires in the eighth. The Panthers, who had scored just two runs despite 14 hits over the first seven frames, came alive with four hits in the bottom of the eighth to gain a lead they would not relinquish. The big blow in the ninth came off the bat of Brett Nommensen, who tripled to deep left center to plate a pair of runs. Nommensen finished the day 3-for-4 with a solo home run, three RBI and two runs scored.
Prior to the eighth, Squires pitched bend-but-don't-break baseball effectively for IU. Thirteen of EIU's 14 hits to that point were singles - the lone exception a Nommensen solo homer in the bottom of the fifth that tied the game at 2-2. Squires induced three double plays and also got defensive help from Chris Hervey in the win. The senior tri-captain threw out one runner at the plate and caught a ball on the warning track - both plays ending innings for the Panthers. Hervey also had two hits in five at bats at the plate for the Hoosiers.
Indiana jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second. Kipp Schutz reached on an error to lead off the frame and two batters later Jake Dunning singled through the right side to move him to third. With Chris Hervey at the plate, Dunning took off and drew a throw down to second. The toss down was ahead of Dunning, who intended to get in a rundown to score Schutz, but he did not need to as the throw careened off of the second baseman and into right field to score the left fielder.
EIU used three well-placed singles to knot the score in the bottom of the second, but Phegley gave IU another lead in the third. The sophomore slugged the first pitch he saw deep over the wall in right field for his sixth home run of the season. He is now tied with Alex Dickerson for the team and conference lead with his six longballs.
Eastern Illinois starter Brian Morrell struck out six and allowed just five hits and one earned run in five innings of work. The Panthers also got 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief from Matt Miller. Drew Leininger came on to get the final two outs of the eighth for Indiana, getting a flyout and a caught stealing to end EIU's four-run frame.
The Hoosiers are back in action on Wednesday evening when they head to Deland, Fla., for a matchup with Stetson. Game time is slated for 6:30 p.m. at Melching Field. Live audio and statistics will be available on IUHoosiers.com.
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