Knoblauch Delivers Knock-Out Blow for 4th IU Walk-Off
May 15, 2012
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana Baseball is closing out Sembower Field the right way, pulling off the fourth walk-off victory at home this season on Tuesday; a 5-4 winner over Evansville (30-23, 9-9 MVC) on Tuesday. The surging Hoosiers (27-26, 13-8 Big Ten) have won eight of the last 11 overall, and seven of nine in conference play.
Despite out-hitting the Purple Aces, 12-5, Indiana needed to come from behind twice in the ball game capped by a two-run bottom of the ninth. Trace Knoblauch stroked a liner just over the out-stretched arm of Evansville's second baseman, landing in shallow right center and allowing Micah Johnson to gallop his way home from second and score the winning run.
Brian Korte came out of the pen in the third inning and steadied the ship. The southpaw worked the hill for five innings, allowing two runs on four hits, one walk while striking out two.
Evansville got out to a 3-0 lead, beginning with a no-hit second inning which still managed a run. The Purple Aces then pushed across a run in both the third and fourth innings as well.
With Korte slowing down the UE offense, Indiana's bats got it going in the fifth. Kyle Schwarber started the frame by reaching on an error, one of three times on the day he'd do so. Dillon Dooney, Indiana's unquestioned hottest hitter, stroked another hit next. He placed a ball just past the lip of the outfield grass in center. Evansville then beaned a bunt-attempting Johnson to load the bases. Michael Basil put the ball in play for a fielder's choice RBI before a wild pitch plated IU's second run. Heads up baserunning from Basil resulted in advancing from first to third on the errant toss reaching the backstop. His aggressiveness paid off when Knoblauch legged out an infield single in the next at-bat, and Basil trotted in the final 90 feet to even the score at 3-3.
Over the next three innings, the difference was sacrifice fly execution. While Indiana failed to convert on their sac fly opportunity, the Purple Aces did not and took a 4-3 advantage heading into the final frame.
With Schwarber on third in the bottom of the ninth, Micah Johnson battled through a long at-bat and powered a full-count pitch through the right side to tie things up at four runs apiece. Everyone in attendance knew Johnson was going to take off for second at some point, but it didn't matter as the speedster stole easily to put himself in scoring position. Knobluach capped off the comeback with his walk-off RBI-single and the Hoosiers earned win number 27 on the year.
Sembower Field hosts its final three games ever this week, a three-game set against Ohio State running from Thursday-Saturday. All three contests are 3:05 pm starts and the Big Ten Network is broadcasting Saturday's regular season finale.
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