Halstead, Six-Run Inning Lead IU to Road Victory
April 25, 2012
OXFORD, Ohio - A strong performance from Ryan Halstead on the mound coupled with a six-run outburst in the second inning pushed Indiana Baseball (19-23) to a road victory over the Miami (OH) RedHawks (21-21), 6-3. The Hoosiers pounded out 12 hits on the day, paced by Chad Clark's three base knocks.
For the fourth time in the last seven days, IU benefitted from a quality start on the bump. Halstead toed the rubber for 6.2 innings, allowing a lone run on six hits, one walk and striking out a pair of RedHawks. Jonny Hoffman had a short but effective outing to earn his third save. The Oceanside, Calif., native entered the game with one on and one out in the bottom of the ninth. His second pitch rolled to Michael Basil at short, who teamed with Dustin DeMuth to turn the game-ending double play.
The bottom of the order got it done for IU as the 7-8-9 hitters combined to go 6-for-12 with three RBI and three runs scored. Trace Knoblauch, Tim O'Conner and Dustin DeMuth each tallied two hits and a run with Knoblauch driving in two and DeMuth posting one RBI.
Basil set an aggressive tone right away in the second stanza, swinging at a first-pitch single into right field. Clark followed with another hit, which gave Chris Sujka the opportunity to lay down a sac bunt and advance both runners into scoring position. Knoblauch came up next, and quickly fell behind 0-2 in the count. He battled back though and found a hole in the left-side infield to score both Basil and Clark. `Knobby' then continued the aggressive tone set by Basil and alertly scooted up to second on the throw in from the outfield.
O'Conner kept it coming as well, pushing a bunt in-between the pitcher and first baseman, and winning the foot race to the bag as no one covered on his bunt single. Aggression was the name of the inning as O'Conner took off on the very next pitch for his first of two steals on the day. DeMuth then made it a 3-0 lead, stinging a ball into center field to score Knoblauch.
Up next, Justin Cureton may have hit the hardest ball of the inning. The rope into left was caught, but still resulted in another Hoosier run and sac fly for Cureton as O'Conner tagged up on the play. After the next Hoosier reached on an error, Sam Travis rubbed it in with a two-run double sailing over the left fielder's head and increasing the IU advantage to 6-0.
Three straight singles for Miami nabbed a run in the bottom of the third. Halstead then walked a man to load the bases. They would move no further, however, when Halstead induced a grounder to end the threat.
Clark was at it again in the fifth, starting a two-out rally with a double into deep right center. Two batters later, Knoblauch belted a liner into center, but Ryan Curl's perfect dart nailed Clark at home and the score remained 6-1.
Back-to-back Hoosier defensive errors filled the bags up with RedHawks in the eighth. It was déjà vu though when DeMuth gobbled up another groundball to strand the MU trio just as he had back in the third frame.
Miami came right back in the bottom of the ninth, plating a pair of runs to pull within 6-3 and placing the tying run in the on-deck circle. Head Coach Tracy Smith made the call to Hoffman in the pen at that point. As mentioned before, Hoffman needed just two pitches to slam the door shut, getting a 6-4-3 twin killing to seal the deal.
It's back to Big Ten play this weekend. Indiana will head to Ann Arbor, Mich., for a three-game set against the Wolverines. Friday night 7 pm contest will be broadcast nationally on the Big Ten Network.
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