Hoosiers Garner Senior Day Split
May 14, 2006
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - On Senior Day, the Indiana baseball team played to a split with Illinois in the first of two doubleheaders in the series on May 14. Senior Zach Boswell drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk, driving home sophomore Tyler Cox and propelling the Hoosiers to a 4-3 victory in the opener, before Illinois rallied from three-run deficit to win game two, 9-6. With the split, the Hoosiers are 20-29 overall and 9-17 in Big Ten play, while Illinois moved to 27-22 overall and 13-13 in the conference ledger.
Senior pitcher Clint Crosier continued his solid pitching in Big Ten play with his third complete game of the season. The Corydon, Ind., native pitched nine strong allowing three runs and seven hits, while striking out five on 103 pitches. The IU defense played solid behind Crosier, turning a pair of double plays in the first three innings. IU got out of the first and third innings with 5-4-3 and 6-4-3 twin killings, respectively.
The wet turf came into play in the ninth inning. Cox reached to start the inning on an error by the Illini pitcher and moved over into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by junior second baseman Keith Haas. It appeared as though the Hoosiers would claim the victory as senior center fielder Reggie Watson singled to right field. The Illini fielder slipped on the play, but so did Cox rounding third to leave the Hoosiers with runners on the corners. Brant walked to load the bases, before the Illini got the second out of the inning to set up Boswell's dramatic RBI walk.
Crosier got out of a two-out bases loaded jam in the second after the Fighting Illini loaded the bases on two bunt singles and another infield hit. IU got out of the jam when first baseman Ryan Parker made a diving stab to his right to corral the grounder. He underhanded the ball to Crosier, who was covering first, for the final out of the frame.
Indiana struck first in the bottom of the fourth with a little two-out magic. After the first two batters of the innings were retired, junior catcher Jon Fixler lined a single over the shortstop's head. He came around to score on a gapping double by Boswell to right-center field. It looked as if the Hoosiers would add some more runs, but an impressive defensive play stalwarted the chance. With Boswell on third following a wild pitch, junior shortstop Josh Richardson laced a shot to right field. The Illini right fielder was playing in, but recovered enough to make a diving catch to deny Richardson of an RBI and extra bases.
The Illini mustered a pair of two-out runs in their next half inning. Ryan Snowden singled with one out, and after a hit-and-run moved him over to second, Dave Schultz walked to put runners at first and second with two down. Illinois' designated hitter Chase Kliment hit a lofting two-run double that bounded just in front of the right-center field wall to give the Illini a 2-1 advantage.
Watson and senior left fielder Jay Brant led off the bottom of the sixth with back-to-back singles off of Illini reliever Joel Barickman, and both players moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Fixler. The Hoosiers loaded the bases when Boswell walked on four straight pitches. Richardson coaxed a five-pitch base on balls to drive home Watson, tying the contest at two.
IU regained the lead an inning later in the bottom of the seventh with a pair of extra base hits. Freshman right fielder Andrew Means led off the inning with a two-bagger to left-center field. After two pop outs, Watson doubled home Means on a soft ground ball down the first baseline to give IU a 3-2 cushion.
The Hoosiers could not hold onto the lead as the Ilini tacked on a two-out run in the top of the ninth. Lars Davis was hit by a pitch to open the frame and moved over to third on a sacrifice bunt and a ground out. After a walk to pinch hitter Dominic Altobelli, Snowden singled home Davis on a bloop that just got over the head of the third baseman Cox.
Boswell drove in a pair, going 1-for-3 from the plate with a double. Watson led the Hoosiers at the plate with a 3-for-5 effort, including a double, RBI and run scored. Haas, Fixler and Means each collected a pair of hits for the Hoosiers.
In game two of the double dip, the Illinois scored nine runs over the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. The first six Illini runs over the fourth and fifth innings were unearned, before a trio of runs in the top of the sixth game U of I all the cushion they would need for the victory.
The Hoosiers once again opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the opening inning. After back-to-back singles by Haas and Watson put runners on the corners, IU executed the double steal. Watson took second and moved around to third after a wild throw from the Illini catcher, as Haas sprinted home for the first run. Boswell drove home Watson on a single to right field, giving IU a 2-0 lead.
IU manufactured an insurance run in the bottom of the third. Cox led off the inning with an infield single, and moved up a pair of stations on a sacrifice bunt by Haas and a balk by Illini starter Ben Reeser. After Watson walked to put runners on the corners, Cox came around to score on a fielder's choice into the hole at shortstop by Fixler.
The Illini drew within a run on a pair of unearned runs in the top of the fourth. Hoosier starter Josh Lewis induced a double-play ground ball by Kliment and then got another ground ball from Mike Rohde that appeared to get him out of the jam. The Illini received a hit by pitch and a free pass to put the first two runners on. A throwing error on Rohde's grounder allowed Shawn Roof to trot home, and Davis followed with an RBI double to cut the deficit to 3-2.
The Hoosiers responded with a pair in the bottom of the frame. With two outs, Richardson drew a walk and Means was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Indiana's No. 9 batter, Cox, drove both home with a deep drive to left field. The ball one-hopped the wall in front of the 370-foot sign, allowing Richardson and Means to both come home.
Illinois took its first lead of the ball game with four unearned runs in the top of the fifth. The big blow in the innings was a base-loaded dropped fly ball that allowed three unearned runs to score and give the Illini a 6-5 lead.
IU battled back to tie things up in the bottom of the inning. Watson led off with a double to right and moved over to third on a ground ball by Fixler. Boswell drove him home with a high fly ball to center for a sacrifice fly and his second RBI of the game.
Illinois took control of the contest in the top of the sixth with three runs to eventually claim the 9-6 victory. Snowden had an RBI double in the inning, while Schultz provided a two-run single.
Cox led the Hoosiers with a 2-for-2 effort, including a run scored and a pair of RBI. Watson added his second multi-hit game of the series, going 2-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored. Boswell finished with two RBI, while Fixler drove in a single run.
The Hoosiers and Illini will wrap up the series with a doubleheader on Monday, May 15, starting at noon. The opening game of the doubleheader will be a seven-inning affair, followed by the nine-inning finale.
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