Arnett, Dickerson Lead IU to 3-2 Victory
March 28, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Eric Arnett pitched a brilliant complete game, matching a career high with 10 strikeouts, to lead the Indiana baseball team to a 3-2 victory over No. 25 Minnesota (14-7, 1-1 Big Ten) on Saturday. Arnett allowed just two hits over his final six innings of work and struck out a pair of hitters in both the eighth and ninth, including the final batter of the game, to finish off the victory. Alex Dickerson hit an opposite-field, two-run homer in the sixth to give the Hoosiers (8-15, 1-1) the win.
Tom Buske had a strong start for the Gophers as well, allowing just five hits and two walks in his 6 1/3 innings of work. The senior allowed three runs, two of them earned, in collecting his first loss of the season (4-1). Dickerson and Evan Crawford had two hits apiece for Indiana in the victory. Derek McCallum hit a solo home run and drove in two for Minnesota in a losing effort.
With the wind blowing out to left, McCallum took an 0-2 pitch the other way with two down in the first and knocked his fourth home run of the season to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. After Arnett had a perfect second, the Gophers scored again in the third. Kyle Geason got a one-out single up the middle and Matt Nohelty followed with an infield single to put a pair of runners on. Arnett then walked A.J. Pettersen on four pitches to load the bases.
The Pataskala, Ohio, native got the grounder he wanted off McCallum's bat, as the second baseman hit a hard ball back to Arnett, but the pitcher hesitated on the throw to second. The Hoosiers got the first out at second, but Jake Dunning was disrupted by a takeout slide and his relay to first brought Jerrud Sabourin off the bag to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead. Arnett then got Michael Kvasnicka to pop out to end the threat.
With the Gophers leading 2-0 and a light rain falling, the Hoosiers rallied off Buske in the fifth. Kipp Schutz reached on an error to lead off the inning and he moved up 90 feet on a beautiful sac bunt by Dunning. Tyler Rogers then lifted a pop up to shallow right center, but McCallum stumbled going back on the ball and it fell harmlessly between the outfielders for a single, though Schutz remained at second. Crawford then hit a grounder to McCallum, who mishandled the ball to load the bases, and Vince Gonzalez followed by drawing a walk on a 3-2 pitch to trim the lead to 2-1 Minnesota. Buske, though, struck out Sterling Mack and got Sabourin on a flyout to maintain a one-run lead.
Then in the sixth, Josh Phegley drew a 3-2 walk to lead off the inning and Dickerson followed. The freshman got a 1-1 fastball out over the plate and crushed it out of the park to left field to give Indiana its first lead. Phegley finished the game 0-for-3 to snap his hitting streak at 13 games.
Indiana threatened to deliver insurance runs in both the seventh and eighth. In the seventh, Crawford hit a leadoff double down the right field line and moved to third on an 0-2 sacrifice by Gonzalez. Chris Hervey then pinch-hit for Mack with lefty Kyle Rassmussen on the mound. On a 1-0 pitch, the Hoosiers put the suicide squeeze on, but the Gophers pitched out and caught Crawford at the plate for the second out. Hervey delivered a single to left before Sabourin grounded out to end the inning.
Minnesota threatened to tie it up in the top of the eighth. Pettersen got a one-out single and after Arnett struck out McCallum on a 3-2 pitch, he hit Kvasnicka with a 2-2 fastball to put a pair of runners on with two down. Arnett then struck out Kyle Knudson to end the threat.
In the bottom of the frame, the Hoosiers went for an insurance run. Dickerson walked and was on first with two down when Dunning roped a single to right center. Dickerson tried to move to third on the play, but Kvasnicka delivered a perfect throw to gun down the freshman to end the inning.
Arnett set the Gophers down 1-2-3 in the ninth to end the ballgame. The junior started things with a strikeout of Nick O'Shea and then got Eric Decker on a grounder to second that saw Rogers make a nice backhand to retire the speedster by a step at first. With two down, the count went full on Justin Gominsky, and Arnett zipped a fastball past the swinging left fielder to end the ballgame.
In addition to matching his career high in strikeouts, Arnett also matched his mark with nine innings of work. He also struck out 10 and went the full nine in a 5-3 loss to East Carolina three weeks ago.
The rubber match between the two teams is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. at IU's Sembower Field, where admission is free. Fans can also follow the game with IUHoosiers.com's live audio and GameTracker.
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