Hoosier Hurlers Lead Indiana to Doubleheader Sweep
May 9, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Indiana baseball team got outstanding pitching and timely hitting to sweep both ends of a doubleheader from Northwestern on Saturday, 3-2 and 5-2. Matt Bashore and Eric Arnett each were impressive on the mound in victories, and IU scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth in each contest to collect two wins from the Wildcats. The Hoosiers improved to 24-24 on the year and 13-6 in Big Ten play, two games behind first-place Minnesota. IU clinched a berth in the Big Ten Tournament with the victory.
Bashore matched his season high with 10 strikeouts to lead IU to a 5-2 victory in game two. The Tipp City, Ohio, native scattered 11 singles in the contest and forced Northwestern to strand nine men on base. He also walked just one hitter in improving to 5-4 on the year and 5-1 in Big Ten action. Chris Squires came on to pitch the ninth to collect his sixth save - five of which have come in conference play.
Game two was scoreless until the bottom of the third, when Joe Muraski allowed a one-out walk to Chris Hervey. After Jerrud Sabourin flew out to center for out number two, Muraski surrendered his first hit of the game - a resounding one at that. The southpaw fell behind Josh Phegley 2-0 and the catcher blistered the next pitch he saw through a steady wind out of the park to dead center for his team-leading 14th homer of the year to make it 2-0 Hoosiers.
Bashore kept the Wildcats scoreless through 5 2/3, but in the sixth NU mounted a two-out rally to tie the game. Chris Lashmet started things with a looped infield single that landed just behind the mound, and Tony Vercelli followed with a single to center field to put runners at the corners. Chad Noble then came through with a line-drive single to right to plate NU's first run, and Paul Snieder followed with a bloop hit that landed just in front of Kipp Schutz in left for another run. After surrendering a walk, Bashore settled down and struck out Geoff Rowan to end the inning with a 2-2 score.
In the top of the eighth, NU got a leadoff double by Vercelli, but Phegley used his arm to eliminate the left fielder. On a 1-0 pitch, Noble swung and missed and Phegley gunned down to second to throw behind Vercelli. Jake Dunning caught the ball on a hop, and with his back to the base runner, laid down a tag between his legs to retire Vercelli and end the threat.
In the bottom of the frame, the Hoosiers got a leadoff single from Alex Dickerson and a sac bunt from Schutz to put a runner on second and one out. Evan Crawford came to the plate next and he hit a tailing liner down the right-field line. Jim Grieco dived for the ball, but it ricocheted out of his glove just barely in fair territory and Crawford stood on second with a double as Dickerson advanced to third. The Wildcats elected to walk Tyler Rogers intentionally to load the bases for Vince Gonzalez and brought the infield in to try to get a force out at the plate.
NU got the grounder it was looking for, but Gonzalez hit it hard enough that second baseman Trevor Stevens only had time to knock it down and get Gonzalez at first for an RBI single. With two runners in scoring position and two down, Dunning gave the Hoosiers a little breathing room, lining a double to the left-center field gap to score two men and make it 5-2. Squires allowed a two-out hit batsman in the ninth, but got Stevens on a liner to end the game.
Game one was a brilliant pitcher's duel between Arnett and Eric Jokisch. Arnett allowed just five hits in a complete-game victory, striking out eight to improve to 11-1, 7-0 in the Big Ten, on the season. His 11 wins and seven conference victories lead the Big Ten. The Hoosiers scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth to post the come-from-behind triumph.
Chris Hervey led off the decisive eighth with a single through the left side and Jerrud Sabourin came up next and drilled a single through the right side to put two runners on with nobody out. Josh Phegley followed with a walk to load the bases. Alex Dickerson delivered the first run of the game for the Hoosiers with an RBI groundout to trim Indiana's deficit to 2-1 and Kipp Schutz followed with an RBI groundout of his own to tie the game at 2-2. That brought Evan Crawford to the plate with two down and Phegley at third. The speedy centerfielder hit a chopper to deep short and beat the throw to first for an RBI infield single that made it 3-2.
But NU made it interesting in the ninth. Arnett issued a leadoff walk only to see the runner erased on a perfect 6-4-3 double play. Back-to-back singles by Kenneth Avila and Rowan then put the tying run in scoring position with two down for Hamilton Wise. Wise hit a slow bouncer on the right side that Sabourin ranged over for and grabbed. The first baseman spun and delivered a quick throw to Arnett, who was covering, and the athletic pitcher grabbed the ball and touched first with a sidestep to end the game.
Arnett was stellar for the first seven innings. In the first, he was victimized by a leadoff walk, a single and a pair of wild pitches for a run - all before recording an out, but he rebounded to strike out the side in the inning to strand a runner with a 1-0 deficit.
The Pataskala, Ohio, native did not allow another hit until the eighth. Consecutive walks started the inning and a bunt single loaded the bases with nobody out. Stevens then came through with an RBI single that made it 2-0 NU and kept the bases loaded with none away. Lashmet came up next and blistered a ball to third. Gonzalez snagged the ball, stepped on third and gunned home to Phegley, who made the tag for an unconventional 5-2 double play. Arnett then induced a groundout to end the inning.
The Hoosiers will try to finish off the weekend sweep on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Sembower Field. The game will be televised live on the Big Ten Network. GameTracker and live audio for the game will also be available on IUHoosiers.com.
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