#12 Hoosiers Top Evansville, 10-8
April 9, 2013
EVANSVILLE, Ind. - The 12th-ranked Indiana Hoosier baseball squad (26-4) escaped with a road win over the Evansville Purple Aces (14-19), riding a powerful lineup to 10 runs on 14 hits. Sam Travis was the biggest cog, going 3-for-4 with a homerun, four RBI and a run scored.
Seven different Hoosiers crossed the dish, paced by Justin Cureton's four tallies. The Indianapolis native entered the week ranked seventh nationally with 38 runs before adding four more in IU's midweek contest. In addition to Travis, four additional Hoosiers drove in a run or more; none more crucial than Casey Smith's game-winning homerun in the top of the seventh inning. His solo shot broke up an 8-8 tie.
The Indiana pitching staff had to deal with shaky defense behind it, lowlighted by three errors and another poorly played fly ball which ultimately resulted in a two-run triple for Evansville. Nine free passes (8 BB, 1 HBP) issued didn't help the cause either. Luke Harrison steadied the ship in the sixth inning, however. He inherited two runners and one out, inducing a groundball and fly out to keep the score tied at 8-8. He notched the next five outs as well before handing it over to Joey DeNato for a rare relief appearance. Ryan Halstead entered in the ninth, securing his 17th career save, pulling within four of passing Chris Squires (2007-10) for the all-time school record of 20 saves.
Indiana was all over Ace starting pitcher Cole Isom, tagging the southpaw for a quartet of runs in the first inning. The #HotStartHoosiers have now scored in the first inning in 18-of-30 games this season and own a 34-6 run margin in the opening frame.
The Purple Aces managed to score a pair runs despite no hits in the home half of the first. Indiana answered with two of its own in the next half inning, getting RBI from Travis and Scott Donley. It was Donley's second RBI in as many at bats, inflating his Big Ten-leading season total to 39 runs driven in.
Two innings later, Travis gave Indiana its largest lead of the night with a two-run homerun pushing the IU advantage to six runs at 8-2. But with some help for the Hoosiers, Evansville clawed its way back to an 8-8 tie with three-run fourth and fifth innings.
With momentum squarely in the corner of UE, Casey Smith obliterated a 3-1 pitch deep into the night for the go-ahead tally. Cureton scored and Travis drove in their fourth run for insurance in the eighth inning. And Indiana nearly needed it as the Aces loaded the bases with just one out in the bottom of the ninth, placing the winning run aboard. Back-to-back strikeouts by Halstead thwarted the comeback effort though, sealing Indiana's 26th triumph of 2013.
Back on the bus and back to Big Ten play for Indiana this weekend. The Hoosiers will face Michigan State for a three-game road series running Friday-Saturday-Sunday in East Lansing.
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