Hoosiers Victorious For Third Straight Friday
April 6, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Indiana Baseball reclaimed its share of first place in the Big Ten standings Friday night, cruising to a 12-3 victory over Illinois (15-12, 1-3 Big Ten) in the series opener under the lights. The Hoosiers improve to 14-16 overall, but more importantly, are now 5-2 in conference play. Freshman Sam Travis, riding a 17-game hitting streak, drove in a team-high five runs.
Indiana exploded for seven runs in the third inning; a frame the Hoosiers sent 11 batters to the plate en route to seven hits. Chris Sujka kick-started the outburst by laying down a lead-off bunt single for the first hit of the game for either team. Will Nolden failed to do what Sujka did, successfully lay down a bunt, but in the end one-upped him with an RBI-single up the middle after Sujka had advanced to second on a wild pitch. With some heads-up baserunning, Nolden scooted up to second on the throw home. The bunt party then continued in the next at-bat as Justin Cureton beat out the throw on his sacrifice attempt, placing Hoosiers on the corners.
Big-bopper Kyle Schwarber came up next and quickly found himself facing a 3-0 count. Head Coach Tracy Smith gave him the green light and the freshman ripped a worm-burner past the first baseman and scorching down the line for an RBI-double. After getting a second chance when a pop fly behind the dish was not corralled by Illinois' catcher, Travis capitalized by placing a double into the right field corner and pushing IU ahead 4-0.
The next two Hoosiers reached as well, Michael Basil via a walk and Dillon Dooney with his RBI-single. Facing a full count, Dooney lunged over the plate to slap a low-and-away pitch into shallow center field.
Illinois was able to record its first out in the next at-bat, but not without having to exchange it for yet another Hoosier tally. Chad Clark put the ball in play to score Basil with an RBI-groundout. Indiana circled around the entire lineup when Sujka came to the plate for the second time of the half inning. There was no laying down a bunt this time, however, pulling the ball down the line and popping up off the third base bag to reach the outfield and notch run number seven.
Clark would make it an 8-nothing ballgame in the fifth, crushing a towering homerun over the left field wall. It marked his second RBI of the game and third long-ball of the season.
Indiana continued to pour it on the sixth stanza, inflating its advantage to 10-0. Nolden opened by walking on four pitches. A nicely-timed hit-and-run call from the Skipper resulted with runners in scoring position on a Cureton single; allowing Nolden to go from first to third and Cureton alertly sprinting to second on the throw to third. Schwarber subsequently lifted a sac fly for the first run of the inning. Cureton also came across the plate as a weakly nubbed ball by Travis was good enough to push IU's lead to 10-0.
The Fighting Illini kept battling in the late innings, getting to DeNato for a run in the sixth and seventh innings. Jonny Hoffman entered with runners on second and third and Illinois threatening to get back in the game. Hoffman was having none of it though, needing just one pitch to induce an inning-ending groundball.
Travis was not amused by the shutout disappearing, cranking a two-run bomb in the next half inning to regain Indiana's 10-run edge at 12-2.
Illinois would squeak another one across before all was said and done, creating the 12-3 final score.
Game Two is slated for 3:05 pm local (4:05 EST) on Saturday. Indiana will send LHP Kyle Hart (1-2, 2.87) to the bump while Illinois counters with RHP John Kravetz (4-2, 4.78).
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