Sell-Out Crowd Witnesses Wild Walk-Off Winner
June 1, 2013
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Bart Kaufman Field, hosting Indiana's first NCAA Regional baseball game in Bloomington's history, became an epicenter of jubilation for Hoosier Nation as IU erased a three-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth for a 5-4 walk-off winner. Chad Clark's no-doubt homerun capped off the four-run ninth to advance Indiana in the Bloomington Regional winner's bracket.
The Hoosiers (44-14) face off against second-seeded Austin Peay (46-13) Saturday evening at 6:05 pm ET, broadcast live on ESPN3. The Governors will enter riding the nation's longest current winning streak at 16 consecutive victories. #3 Florida (29-29) and #4 Valparaiso (31-27) go at it in the afternoon elimination contest, starting at 2:05 pm.
Freshman reliever and second team All-Big Ten team member, Scott Effross, gave Indiana a shot by tossing 4.1 innings of relief. He no-hit the Crusaders the first four frames before a defensive error behind him opened the door for two unearned runs to come in on Effross' tab.
Valpo drew first blood in BTown, pushing across lone runs in the first and second innings for a 2-0 lead.
Starting pitcher Aaron Slegers blanked Valpo the next two frames before passing the baton to Effross who steamrolled the Crusaders for four no-hit innings as the Hoosier bats laid dormant.
A traditional switch-hitting Casey Smith made an adjustment in the seventh inning, electing to swing right-handed against the right-handed Cole Webb. The move paid off in a big way, stroking a double into the right-center field gap. Clark moved him the final two bases on an RBI-single. He cranked a line drive over the out-stretched glove of a leaping third baseman, landing safely in shallow left field to put IU on the board and cut the deficit in half.
Defensive woes then came back to haunt IU in the top of the ninth. A pair of miss-executed plays contributed to two more unearned runs coming in for Valparaiso.
Michael Basil ignited the ninth-inning rally with an infield single to third. He circled around from first off DeMuth's clobbered double reaching the outfield wall. Keeping with the right-handed approach, Smith collected another two-bagger to score DeMuth and represent the tying run in scoring position.
Chris Sujka entered the contest to pinch run for Smith in what ultimately became a pinch-jogging situation after Clark's two-run shot put the come-from-behind win to rest for the Cream and Crimson. It marked Clark's first long-ball of the season, smacking a slider into the bullpen just beyond the left field fence. All four hits and four runs came off of the Valpo closer who had allowed just one earned run in 25 innings this season and entered with an ERA of 0.36.
The Hoosiers have won back-to-back games in walk-off fashion. Scott Donley's bases-loaded single in Minneapolis last Sunday clinched Indiana's Big Ten Tournament title.
Check back soon