May 13, 2012
EVANSTON, Ill. -
Indiana Baseball (26-26, 13-8 Big Ten) rode Chad Martin to a 2-1 series-clinching victory over Northwestern on Sunday. Martin surrendered a lone run in 8.1 innings and retired 17 straight batters en route to earning the win.
Martin was dominant for much of day, scattering five hits, walking two while striking out six Wildcats. Northwestern (17-33, 6-18) went six consecutive innings without getting to Martin for a hit. The hitless streak ended in the bottom of the ninth on a single into center field. Ryan Halstead was there to close the door though, picking up his 11th career save to move him into a share of fifth place for most saves in school history.
Will Nolden came up with the big hit for Indiana in the second stanza. With two outs, "Big Game Bill" stroked a two-RBI single into right field to score the game's only two runs.
The Hoosiers have now won five of seven Big Ten series and are tied with Penn State for second place in the conference standings at 13-8. The top-two teams receive first-round byes in the Big Ten Tournament. If the season ended today, IU would snag a bye over PSU by virtue of winning two out of three in Happy Valley earlier this season.
Dillon Dooney started the second by smoking a line drive corralled by Northwestern shortstop Kyle Ruchim. Michael Basil was then struck out swinging and it looked like a quick inning was coming. Strike three on Basil went through the wickets of the catcher, however, and Basil sprinted down the line to reach first safely. Dustin DeMuth made them pay for the error in the next at-bat, pulling a pitch through the right side. He not only moved Basil over to third with the hit, but also alertly moved up to second on the outfield throw going to third base. DeMuth's aggressive base-running proved to be beneficial two batters later when Nolden connected on his clutch base knock to score both runners in scoring position.
Not only did Indiana have zero errors, the defense flashed the leather for several web gems in the Hoosiers' fifth straight Sunday winner. Michael Basil
and Chris Sujka
highlighted the defensive effort. Basil robbed Nick Linne of a base hit in the seventh, sliding to a knee to snare a ball deep in the hole and instantly popping up to his feet to fire Linne out at first. Sujka made a diving grab in right for his first crowd-pleasing play. He then one-upped himself in the bottom of the ninth, gunning out the would-be game-tying run on an outfield assist to secure the IU lead.
The Sembower Field Countdown is at four games now, a midweek game against Evansville on Tuesday followed by the regular season-concluding series with Ohio State running from Thursday-Saturday.