April 1, 2012
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
Indiana Baseball rattled off 10 unanswered runs against Iowa (10-14, 3-3 Big Ten) to eliminate an early five-run deficit and win its second Big Ten series in as many weekends. The Hoosiers (12-16, 4-2) are now tied with rival Purdue for second place in the conference standings a quarter of the way into the B1G slate.
Head Coach Tracy Smith had plenty of options for his `Player of the Game' award, ultimately recognizing Ryan Halstead as the game MVP in the post-contest team meeting. Halstead entered the game in a 5-0 hole and promptly retired the next 16 batters in order to finish off the final 5.2 innings in `perfect' fashion, not allowing a single Hawkeye to reach base. Other candidates included a 4-for-4 Dustin DeMuth, Kyle Schwarber (three hits, an RBI, two runs) and Sam Travis, who belted his third homerun of the year and drove in a total of three runs. Even that extended nomination list doesn't include Justin Cureton (two-RBI triple, tying run) or Collin McEnery and his go-ahead pinch-hit RBI in the seventh.
Trailing 5-0 in the third inning, a roped liner off Tim O'Conner's bat was snagged by the Iowa third baseman and Chris Sujka was doubled off at first. It simply looked like it wasn't going to be the Hoosiers' day at that point. Little did they know though that Halstead was going to completely shut down the Hawkeye offense and give his Hoosiers a chance at their second come-from-behind victory of the weekend.
With a runner aboard in the top of the fourth frame, Halstead made his way from the bullpen. He caught Iowa's cleanup hitter Phil Keppler looking at strike three to end the threat and a potential rout. Two freshmen, Schwarber and Travis, ignited the momentum reversal in the home half.
Schwarber powered a chopper through the right side whizzing by the second baseman's mitt to get the rally started. Travis followed by crushing a two-run homer to absolute straight-away center field.
Indiana kept it coming in the team's next at-bat, plating three more runs and puling even at 5-5. Cureton's stroke deep into the left center gap pushed across two runs as he motored around for a triple. The score became `all-square' after Schwarber shoved another pitch into right field, scoring Cureton.
Hard-hitting Schwarber led off the seventh by piercing his third base hit through the infield, this time going opposite field into left. After a pair of free passes (one walk, one HBP) loaded the bases, McEnery stepped into the box as a pinch hitter. The Orland Park, Ill., native delivered in the clutch, recording a two-RBI single to give IU its first lead of the game. DeMuth's fourth hit came next, sneaking just inside the third base bag to push across another run. A Will Nolden grounder later in the inning notched run number nine.
Indiana's 10th tally came via an RBI-single for Travis. That hit elevated his season batting average over the .400 mark, settling in at .404.
The Cream and Crimson will host a midweek contest against Ball State on Wednesday (Apr. 4) before hopping back on the road for a three-game set at Illinois over the weekend.