IU Pounces On Gophers Early in 4-2 Triumph
May 24, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Top-seeded Indiana Baseball lurched out to an early three-run lead in the top of the first inning and never looked back in a 4-2 victory over Minnesota (31-21). Starting pitcher Aaron Slegers surrendered a lone run in seven innings of work to earn his Big Ten-leading ninth win of the season. The #11 Hoosiers (41-13) advance to the semifinal of the winners' bracket and will face #2-seed Ohio State (35-21) Friday night at 7:05 pm CT/8:05 pm ET on the Big Ten Network.
Slegers' ninth `W' not only paces the conference, but also gives him a share of the fourth most in school history for a single season. He pulls even with five previous Hoosiers to tally nine wins. The all-time record is 12 held by Eric Arnett (2009) and Brian Partenheimer (1997). The 2013 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year has worked the bump for 88.2 innings this season, cracking the IU all-time top-10 (ninth; school record is 108 IP by Arnett in 2009).
Junior Ryan Halstead participated in some record breaking of his own. By closing it out and earning the save, he set two all-time Indiana University records. His 10th save of 2013 is the new single-season mark and he surpassed Chris Squires (2007-10) for the career mark with save number 21. Halstead had previously shared the season record (Squires - 2010; Ryan Smith - 2002) with nine saves as a freshman in 2011.
Sophomore Chris Sujka began the bottom of the first by ripping a pitch off the left field wall for a stand-up two-bagger. His lead-off double kick-started a three-hit, three-run barrage by the #HotStartHoosiers in the first inning. Indiana has scored in the first 25 times this season, owning a 51-18 run margin in the opening frame. Sam Travis got aboard as well with a walk two batters later. He was then waved around third on Scott Donley's double down the line. Unfortunately, Travis had to back track when Donley's extra base hit scoring Sujka took one bounce before landing in the stands for a ground-rule double. It was a temporary stay for Travis at third, however, coming into score the very next batter thanks to Michael Basil's sacrifice fly to right field. Dustin DeMuth dug in next, tattooing a 3-0 count over the center fielder's head, one-hopping beyond the wall for another RBI ground-rule double.
With a 3-0 cushion, Slegers cruised in a seven-inning showing allowing one tally on five hits, no walks with seven strikeouts. The 6-foot-10 righty from Scottsdale, Ariz., faced the minimum in four of seven frames. He tossed 94 pitches on the day, 64 of which were strikes. The seven strikeouts are his second highest career total, fanning eight versus Navy during the spring break trip.
The only blemish on Slegers' line came in the fifth off a two-out RBI-single by the Gophers' nine-hole hitter.
Indiana got the run right back in the home half. Minnesota's left fielder couldn't corral a tailing fly ball off the bat of Kyle Schwarber to keep IU alive with two outs. Travis legged out an infield single to the right side to extend the inning further. Donley then made it hurt, driving in his second run of the game and team-best 51st RBI of 2013. His shot up the middle made it a 4-1 advantage for the Cream and Crimson.
The Gophers scored again in the top of the eighth, cracking back-to-back singles to chase out Indiana's first reliever. Head Coach Tracy Smith then called on Scott Effross to get IU out of the jam, and the freshman from Twinsburg, Ohio did just that. Effross exchanged a pair of ground balls for a run before retiring his third straight batter for the threat-ending fly ball.
Minnesota kept it coming in the ninth, putting another pair of runners aboard. Halstead shut the door though, freezing the final hitter of the night with strike three on the outside corner for the backwards K.
LHP Joey DeNato is expected to toe the rubber for Indiana Friday night versus Ohio State. The Buckeyes will counter with LHP Brian King.
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