Hoosier Comeback Falls Short in Series Opener
April 30, 2010
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Micah Johnson snapped a 21-game homerless drought by going 4-for-6 with a pair of home runs, but it was not enough as the Indiana baseball team fell 12-10 in the series opener with Purdue on Friday at Sembower Field. The Hoosiers (20-20, 6-7 Big Ten) put the tying run on base in the eighth inning after trailing 11-4, but the Boilermakers (25-16, 7-6) emerged victorious.
Josh Lyon and Michael Earley each added homers for Indiana, as IU marked its eighth game this season with three or more longballs. Johnson's four hits were a career high and he finished a double shy of the cycle. Sterling Mack matched a career high with three hits and Alex Dickerson and Ethan Wilson each added two hits apiece in the loss. Ryan Bridges and Tyler Spillner had three hits each for Purdue, and Brad Schreiber hit a decisive two-run homer.
Matt Bischoff picked up the win for the Boilers to improve to 7-1 on the year, but IU touched him up for eight runs on 13 hits. Drew Leininger struggled in the loss, falling to 6-3, but the Hoosier bullpen was a major bright spot, surrendering just three hits, one walk and no earned runs in 5 2/3 innings. Matt Jansen picked up the save with 2 1/3 innings of shutout baseball.
Early on, things looked golden for the Hoosiers. Purdue used a pair of well-placed singles to score a run in the top of the first, but Indiana jumped all over Bischoff in the bottom. Johnson led off with a homer to center and Mack followed with a double to right. Jerrud Sabourin then brought Mack home with a single to right center to make it 2-1 Indiana. Dickerson followed with a single of his own through the right side, but Sabourin hesitated after rounding second and was caught between second and third for the first out of the inning. The out proved costly when Earley ripped a 1-2 pitch off the scoreboard in right center for his seventh longball of the season to make it 4-1. Lyon followed with a double, but Bischoff rebounded to get the next two batters to limit the damage.
Purdue countered with a crooked number of its own in the second. An error and two groundball singles loaded the bases with nobody out, and then Jon Moore hit a deep flyball to left, but Dickerson caught it at the fence to limit the damage to a sacrifice fly that made the score 4-2. A hit batsman again loaded the bases, and Leininger got the groundball he was looking for, but the ball took a wicked hop to carry over Michael Basil's glove and into center for a two-run double. PU got two more runs on a wild pitch and a balk to make it 6-4.
PU added three more runs in the third and then two more on Schreiber's homer in the fourth to make it 11-4 and chase Leininger from the game. The Hoosiers showed the beginnings of their rally in the bottom of the fourth, as Dylan Swift led off with a single and Johnson brought him home on a triple to the wall in left center. Mack scored the sixth Hoosier run of the day on a single to center, but Bischoff rallied to get Michael Earley and Josh Lyon to end the inning.
After Purdue plated an unearned run against Matt Ernest in the top of the sixth, Johnson added his second homer of the game, another shot to center, to make it 12-7. Then, after Matt Igel tossed a hitless seventh, the Hoosiers made it a two-run game in the bottom of the frame. Earley was hit by a 1-0 pitch to lead off the inning, and then Lyon crushed a 2-0 offering onto the IU Softball Field to make it 12-9. Wilson then drew a walk and Brian Ritz singled to right to put two on and nobody out. Two batters later, Johnson hit a hard grounder to short, but beat out the throw at first. Meanwhile, Wilson came all the way around from second on the play, and after being beaten by the throw, the sophomore hurdled the glove of catcher Kevin Plawecki and landed on home plate to score the 10th run of the game for Indiana.
Unfortunately, that was as close as IU would come, though they did rally in the bottom of the eighth. Earley drew a one-out walk and Wilson singled up the middle with two down to put runners at the corners. Tyler Rogers came on to pinch hit and fought off several tough pitches, but his at-bat ended with a 3-2 pitch that resulted in a towering flyout to right. Indiana went in order in the ninth, partly due to a brilliant diving catch at third by Cameron Perkins to rob Swift of a sure base hit.
Indiana and Purdue will do battle again on Saturday at Sembower Field with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. Live audio and statistics will be available at IUHoosiers.com. Stay tuned to IUHoosiers.com for all the latest on IU Baseball.
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