Another Walk-Off Homer Buries Indiana's Season
May 21, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Indiana University baseball team fell victim to another walk-off homerun at Illinois in the season finale, the second such loss of the series. Game three was a see-saw affair with many ups and down, finally coming to an end on the final Illini at-bat.
Indiana came up one run shy in the first two games (4-3, 13-12) before dropping the 7-5 decision on Saturday for a total run differential of just four runs. The Hoosiers conclude the 2011 season with a final record of 30-25.
Alex Dickerson put his name atop the record book, cranking the 47th homerun of his career in the second inning on Saturday. The homer not only tied the game up at 1-1, it also pulled him even with Mike Smith (1989-92) and Mike Sabo (1985-88) for most longballs in school history; doing so in only three seasons donning the Cream and Crimson.
A two-out walk followed by a close call at first going in favor of Illinois extended the Illini fourth inning. A seeing eye single then snuck through the right side giving the lead back to Illinois, 2-1.
Justin Cureton got the run right back in the next half inning, connecting on a solo shot for a 2-2 score.
The Fighting Illini loaded the bases with one out in the bottom half, but had to settle for a sac fly only, regaining their one-run edge.
Two walks sandwiched around a Micah Johnson double loaded the bases in the sixth. Jerrud Sabourin picked up the easiest RBI of his career, watching four straight pitches miss the strike zone for the game-tying walk. The next three Hoosiers were each retired, however, and three ducks were left on the pond.
Indiana took its first lead of the day in the seventh, bringing around two more tallies for the 5-3 lead. With runners on first and second, Brian Lambert dropped down a two-strike bunt for the sacrifice pushing the runners into scoring position. Dickerson was up next and sent a pitch for a long ride to the warning track in center field. Cureton tagged up on the sac fly. Sabourin then made it a 5-3 ballgame with a single into center.
Just as they had all series long, the Fighting Illini immediately matched in the home half of the inning. The first pitch thrown was banked off the scoreboard in left. Another solo shot later in the frame reinstituted the stalemate at five runs apiece.
The Hoosiers went down 1-2-3 in the final innings, setting the stage for another dramatic Illini triumph. The first two batters recorded outs. After a BB for Thursday's hero Casey McMurray, first baseman Matt Dittman handed his team a share of the Big Ten regular season championship with one swing of the bat. The two-run dinger ended Indiana's season.
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