O'Conner Walk-Off Hit in 10th Inning Gives Hoosiers 1-0 Victory
April 16, 2014
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Indiana Hoosiers returned to their winning ways on Wednesday night at Bart Kaufman Field, using a walk-off RBI single by Tim O'Conner in the bottom of the 10th inning for the 1-0 victory against Western Kentucky.
Indiana (22-11) did not register its first hit until the ninth inning, when Kyle Schwarber led off with a thunderous double deep into the gap in right center. But he would be stranded at third base to end the inning.
The Western Kentucky half of the 10th inning started with Clint Hardy reaching on a error. He then moved to second base on a passed ball and over to third with one out after a sac bunt. But Indiana reliever Scott Effross got a soft ground out to second and a fly out to right to end the threat.
The Hoosiers half of the frame got rolling when Will Nolden singled through the right side of the infield. He then stole second base and remained there with two outs and O'Conner at the plate. After fouling off a couple pitches with two strikes, O'Conner got just enough of the seventh pitch of the at bat to send it down the right field line. The ball landed on the line just into the outfield and rolled into foul territory, allowing Nolden to score easily from second base with the game-winning run.
Nolden also played a key part in keeping the game scoreless back in the seventh inning when he threw a WKU runner out at the plate from right field.
It is the first career walk-off hit for O'Conner, helping the Hoosiers improve to 2-1 in extra inning games this year. It is also the second shutout of the season for IU, with the other coming in the season opener at Texas Tech, also by a 1-0 score.
Lost in the 10th inning heroics was a stellar job by the Indiana pitching staff, starting with senior Brian Korte. He tossed five innings of shutout baseball, surrendering just four hits. Thomas Belcher came on in relief to start the sixth inning and he allowed just two hits in his 1.1 inning of work before giving way to Jake Kelzer. The Bloomington product was dominant in his 2.2 innings, as he struck out four and did not allow a hit. Scott Effross (3-1) pitched the 10th inning to get the win, and he also did not allow a hit.
The Western Kentucky staring pitcher, Ryan Thurston, took a no-hitter into the ninth inning and left having given up just one hit while striking out seven and not figuring in the decision. After Brennan Pearson got one out, Ian Thompkins (0-1) tossed the final 1.1 and gave up one run on two hits to take the loss.
Indiana will continue its homestand this weekend when they host Michigan State. The first pitch for Friday's series opener is at 7:05 p.m.
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