Big Ten Tournament Title Goes to Indiana
May 26, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS - Indiana Baseball (43-14) won the 2013 Big Ten Tournament Championship, topping Nebraska 4-3 in walk-off fashion. The 11th-ranked Hoosiers notched a conference clean sweep, also capturing the Big Ten's regular season title.
Justin Cureton added to his conference-best runs scored season total in the third frame. He led off with a single into left and scooted up to second base via a Chris Sujka sacfrice bunt. The tournament's Most Outstanding Player, Sam Travis, followed with an opposite field blast off the wall in right, pushing across Cureton for his 54th run of 2013.
Nebraska reset the table in the fifth, notching a run of their own and tying the score back up at one run apiece. Bryan Peters' triple was shadowed by a single from Pat Kelly.
As IU starting pitcher Will Coursen-Carr settled in for the remainder of the game, the Hoosier lineup came alive again in the sixth. Travis opened by rocking the base of the wall in center field for a lead-off double. A bean-ball sandwiched by groundballs came next, giving way to Travis plating the go-ahead tally. Pinch-hitting extraordinaire Ricky Alfonso later delivered a sac fly to left, pushing the Hoosier edge to 3-1.
Alfonso is now 7-for-20 (.350) with seven RBI as a pinch hitter this season.
The Huskers counterpunched in the seventh, turning a pair of hits into their second run. Nebraska further heightened the drama by filling up the bases and placing the go-ahead run in scoring position with the 3-hole hitter coming to the plate. He lined out to short though, eliminating the threat and preserving the IU advantage heading to the seventh inning stretch.
Drama continued to thicken in next inning as the Huskers plated another run to even things up at 3-3. Tanner Lubach, Saturday's walk-off homerun hero, cranked a sac fly to make it all-square.
Coursen-Carr gutted out a complete game 127-pitch effort, retiring the Huskers in order in the top of the ninth to set up the Donley walk-off hit in the bottom half. `Big Game' Bill Nolden ignited the winner by doubling to start the Hoosiers' final at-bat. A pair of walks, one intentional and one unintentional, came next to load the bases for Donley. The Crown Point, Ind., native crushed the game-winning hit into the left center power alley, giving way to a dog pile celebration near second base.
The NCAA Selection Show starts at noon ET on Monday (May 27), aired on ESPNU. The 16 Regional host sites will be released at approximately 9 pm ET Sunday evening.
2013 BIG TEN ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Additional honorees due to ties.
Most Outstanding Player:
Indiana Head Coach Tracy Smith
On winning the title... "We're proud of the effort of our guys. I thought that was the key. We felt really, really confident with Will (Coursen-Carr). He'd been a mid-week guy for us, but he's a quality pitcher and I think we got to see that today. I think had only thrown a third of an inning in Big Ten play coming in. I'm happy for the guys, happy for the team and happy for Indiana University."
Pitcher Will Coursen-Carr
On getting a second wind.... "I knew once I got past the sixth inning, I would have some trouble, I was going to get tired. But after the sixth inning, I was like alright, `Three more innings left.'"
First baseman and tournament MOP Sam Travis
On his hot hitting during the tournament.... "I just wanted to do whatever I can to help the team win a championship. It's been a goal since the beginning of the year. I knew I had to be locked in, swing at good pitches and do whatever I can to help the team win."
On the emotion after the final run scored... "It was awesome. As soon as (Scott) Donley hit the ball, I knew right away that we won the game. Not a better feeling than that, winning a championship."
Shortstop Michael Basil
On the difficulty of the tournament.... "It was definitely two very tough games at the end of it. They brought (Kyle) Kubat back today, and he was the one that beat us earlier in the season. He threw great at the beginning of the game. It was a hard-fought game. It was pretty tough. But it is more fun when it's difficult. If you blow them out 10 to nothing, it's awesome that you did that. But I'd rather win on a walk-off because it's more exciting."
Check back soon