Eighth-Ranked Indiana Victorious in B1G Tournament Opener
May 21, 2014
OMAHA, Neb. - In its Big Ten Tournament opener, the top-seeded and eight-ranked nationally Indiana baseball team (39-13) dropped eighth-seeded Iowa (29-22), 5-2, on Wednesday evening at TD Ameritrade Park. The Hoosiers will face the winner of tonight's Minnesota-Michigan game at 9 p.m. CT/10 p.m. ET on Thursday night.
Casey Rodrigue led IU's 10-hit attack, going 3-for-3 with a single, double and triple. The junior second baseman drove in a pair of runs and scored once.
Every player in the Indiana lineup recorded one hit or one RBI, including sophomore shortstop Nick Ramos, who went 2-for-4 with one run batted in and one run scored.
Joey DeNato matched the program's single-season wins record with his 12th in 13 decisions. The senior southpaw went eight innings and allowed one run on seven hits with zero walks and a season-high nine strikeouts.
In his two career starts in Omaha, DeNato is 2-0 with one earned run allowed in 17 innings. Opponents have just 11 hits off of the 2014 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year to go along with three bases on balls and 17 Ks.
Following DeNato's performance, the Hoosiers starters have gone 48 straight starts without surrendering more than three earned runs.
Iowa picked up an unearned run in the first and threatened with a leadoff double in the second, but DeNato set down the next three Hawkeyes to escape unharmed. IU carried that momentum into the home half of the frame.
A single by Ramos scored junior left fielder Brad Hartong for Indiana's first run of the evening. Two batters later, Rodrigue knocked Ramos in with a two-out double to center to make it 2-1.
Iowa added a single tally to tie it up in the fourth and the Hoosiers once again responded the next half inning. Junior center fielder Tim O'Conner laced a two-bagger down the left-field line and Rodrigue tripled to the right-center field gap to put IU back in front. Junior catcher Kyle Schwarber added an RBI groundout for a two-run cushion.
Junior first baseman Sam Travis thwarted a Hawkeye rally in the fifth when he threw out center fielder Eric Toole at home plate as he attempted to score on an error.
After senior third baseman Dustin DeMuth was hit by a pitch to open up the bottom of the fifth, Hartong extended his hitting streak to 16 and put runners on the corners with a base knock back through the box. DeMuth accounted for the final 5-2 margin when he scored on a junior right fielder Will Nolden's RBI fielder's choice.
DeNato carved up the Hawkeyes the rest of the way. He retired nine of the final 11 batters he faced, and junior Luke Harrison struck out a pair in a scoreless ninth to earn his third save.
IU has won 12 of its last 13 games and 27 of its last 30. In their last 13 starts, the Hoosiers starters have given up just five earned runs in 68.2 innings.
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