Bizarre Day at Sembower Field Ends With Series Split
March 27, 2011
EVANSVILLE/BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana and Evansville split a two-game series which spanned two days, 130 miles and 14 pitchers. The Hoosiers (14-8) took game one in 10 innings, 6-5, while the Purple Aces (11-8) grabbed the second game, 7-5.
Game one started in Evansville on Saturday before a heavy rainfall forced the game to be postponed after four innings. With the Purple Aces already booked to come to Bloomington on Sunday, the two teams simply picked up the first game inside Sembower Field on Sunday before playing game two as well. Indiana began the day as the "visitor" on their own scoreboard, before a all electricity was cut off a few innings into the the game. An overheated electrical box between Sembower and the IU Softball Field caused clouds of smoke, a visit from the Bloomington Fire Department and two unlit scoreboards.
Second baseman Micah Johnson was a nightmare for Evansville in both contests. The Indianapolis, Ind., native went 3-for-4 in each game, stole a ridiculous six bases and scored six runs in the pseudo doubleheader. Dustin DeMuth posted a pair of stellar performances as well, going a combined 5-for-9 with a run and RBI in both games.
Indiana starter Blake Monar was rolling on Saturday before the skies opened up and began pouring buckets. He allowed just two balls to reach the outfield in his one-run, four-inning showing. Evansville's Kyle Lloyd was just as effective, resulting in a 1-1 tie when play was postponed.
Action resumed on Sunday in Bloomington, starting at the top of the fifth inning. A duck snort into right and line drive off the glove a leaping Michael Basil garnered singles for the Purple Aces in the sixth. Cody Fick gave Evansville the lead two batters later, roping a shot down the left field line to drive in a pair.
Johnson started the next half inning by slicing a double into the Hoosier bullpen along the left-side wall. Sabourin stepped in next and delivered a tailing shot into left center to trim the IU deficit at 3-2.
The rally continued the next inning, beginning with a DeMuth single up the middle. Following a sacrifice bunt by T.C. Knipp, Johnson cracked an RBI-single to further crush the Purple Aces. Sabourin was a repeat hero as well, connecting for his second run-producing base hit in as many innings; putting IU ahead 4-3.
The see-saw battle continued in the bottom half of the frame as Evansville surged back ahead, 5-4. The Purple Ace lead was short-lived though, thanks to DeMuth. Justin Cureton drew a ninth inning walk and advanced to second on a balk. With the Hoosiers down to their final out, DeMuth laced a double into left to create a 5-5 stalemate
Evansville was able to put a man in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth, but a spectacular defensive play by Johnson recorded out number three and forced extra innings.
As if Johnson hadn't done enough already, he worked his way to second base with a walk and stolen base in the tenth. Wes Wilson then snuck one inside the chalk line down the third base side, allowing Johnson to speed around third and across home for the 6-5 lead.
Freshman Ryan Halstead took the mound in the ninth and remained for the tenth. There, two Purple Aces found themselves in scoring position, threatening the Hoosier victory. Halstead ended all thoughts of an Evansville upset, however, inducing the game-ending groundout.
The Cream and Crimson is now 5-1 in extra inning games, and has one eight games when tied or trailing in the eighth inning and beyond.
The Hoosiers dug themselves a five-run hole early on in game two, giving up a five-spot in the second inning. Trailing 7-1 at the seventh inning stretch, Indiana's bats finally came alive and the comeback began. Dickerson, Wilson and Josh Lyon combined to drive in four runs, cutting the gap to just a pair of runs with six outs to play.
Evansville loaded up the bags in the eighth inning with just one out. Fifth-year senior Matt Carr kept the Hoosier comeback alive though, coming in from the pen and getting IU out of the inning unscathed.
The tying run came to the plate three times for Indiana in the ninth. Dickerson was stranded at first, however, after his lead off single. The Purple Aces held on for the 7-5 triumph.
Head Coach Tracy Smith and his IU Baseball program picked up two games for the upcoming week. The Hoosiers are slated to play non-conference foes on back-to-back afternoons midweek. On Tuesday, Northern Kentucky comes to town and Shawnee State is the scheduled opposition for Wednesday. Both games have first pitch set for 3:05 pm.
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