Indiana Baseball Wins Big Ten Championship
May 23, 2009
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Indiana baseball team finished off its Big Ten Tournament run in familiar fashion, upending No. 2 seed Minnesota 13-2 in the Tournament Championship Game on Saturday night. It is the first tourney title for IU since 1996 and the second in school history. The Hoosiers also earned the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Indiana won all four of its games in decisive fashion, outscoring its opponents 47-9 during the tournament. The Hoosiers delivered at least 15 hits in every game and limited its opposition to just 26 hits throughout the tourney. Junior pitcher Matt Bashore was named the Tournament's Most Valuable Player after throwing a seven-inning shutout performance against Minnesota in the second round of the tourney.
He was not alone on the All-Tournament team from the Hoosiers, as Eric Arnett, Vince Gonzalez, Jake Dunning, Kipp Schutz and Alex Dickerson joined him on the honored squad. Freshman hurlers Blake Monar and Matt Igel also had quality starts for the Hoosiers in earning victories during the tourney.
On Saturday, it was Igel who threw well in giving IU a victory. The freshman surrendered just four hits and two runs, striking out one in five innings of work. Chris Squires pitched the final four innings of the ballgame to collect his eighth save of the season. The junior surrendered two hits and two walks, striking out four during his outing.
Offensively, Chris Hervey was the star, going 3-for-4 with four RBI. Dunning (3-for-3) and Dickerson (3-for-5) joined him in the three-hit club, as every member of the starting lineup hit safely in the game and every player scored a run for the Hoosiers. Brian Lambert scored three times to lead the way in that category.
Indiana struck first with a pair of unearned runs in the top of the second inning. Gonzalez drew a one-out walk and Lambert was hit by a pitch to put a pair of runners on. Tyler Rogers followed by hitting a grounder to third, but it was mishandled by third baseman Kyle Geason and all runners were safe to load the bases. Dunning then delivered a sac fly to make it 1-0 and Hervey followed by ripping a liner to the right-center field gap. Lambert came around to score on the play, but Rogers, who was trying to stop rounding third, got hung up on his way to the plate to end the inning.
In the third inning the two teams traded solo home runs to make the score 3-1. Sabourin got the first of the longballs, as he smashed a ball off the right-field foul pole for his sixth homer of the season. In the bottom of the frame, it was the Big Ten's leading hitter Derek McCallum blasting his 17th round-tripper over the center-field wall to put the Golden Gophers on the board.
In the top of the fourth, the Hoosiers came through with another big number, putting four runs on the board to make it 7-1. With one out on the board, Lambert and Rogers delivered consecutive hits to put runners on first and second. Dunning then came to bat and dropped down a perfect bunt to third. Geason barehanded it and tried to gun Dunning down at first, but his throw careened into the Gopher bullpen to score both Lambert and Rogers and move Dunning all the way to third.
With the score now at 5-1, Hervey followed with a single to left field that plated Dunning for run number six. Sabourin delivered Indiana's fifth straight base hit, ripping a single to center, and Eric Decker mishandled it to allow Hervey to move to third. Phegley then scored the seventh run of the contest for IU on a sac fly to right.
Igel surrendered just his second run of the ballgame in the bottom of the fifth, when Minnesota got a leadoff single and a walk to put two runners on with nobody out. Igel then got leadoff hitter Matt Nohelty to bounce into a brilliantly turned double play by Dunning to put a runner at third with two down, but AJ Pettersen scored him on a bunt single to make it 7-2.
The Hoosiers tacked on four more scores in the top of the seventh. Three singles in the frame helped plate the runs, with the key blow being a two-run single by Hervey that made it 11-2. Rogers also helped IU score a run with a bases-loaded hit by pitch and Lambert scored on a wild pitch in the inning as well. The Hoosiers tacked on two more insurance runs in the eighth on a two-run double to left center by Schutz that made it 13-1.
Indiana will now play in its first NCAA Regional since 1996 next weekend at a campus site that is yet to be determined. The NCAA selection show is scheduled for Monday at 12:30 p.m. on ESPN. Stay tuned to IUHoosiers.com for all the latest on Indiana's trip to the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
Check back soon