Indiana Edged By SLU, 12-11
HAMMOND, La. -- Despite a furious rally that saw it take a lead, the Indiana baseball dropped its second straight game on the road at Southeastern Louisiana, 12-11, on Saturday at Alumni Field.
Indiana trailed 9-0 after seven innings, but mustered a seven-run eighth to close the gap. IU held the Lions scoreless in bottom of the eighth, and put four runs on the scoreboard to take an 11-9 lead in the ninth. Southeastern Louisiana battled back to score three runs in the bottom of the frame and take game two from the Hoosiers.
"We got the lead, but couldn't hold on to it," Hoosier head coach Bob Morgan said. "Their pitchers are pitching us tough, getting their breaking balls and change-ups over early in the count. We're getting adjusted in our first couple of days playing outside, and we haven't played an entire game well yet. There have been some bright spots, but we haven't been consistent enough to beat a good baseball team like Southeastern."
IU suffered a huge blow in the bottom of the second inning when starting pitcher Chris Hynes sustained an elbow injury that forced him to leave the game. Hynes had allowed just one hit to that point, but IU was unable to hold the Lions' bats the rest of the way.
The Hoosiers would go on to use five pitchers in an attempt to shut SLU down, but the Lions jumped out to a 9-0 lead as starter Rodney Story limited IU to just four hits and struck out five in the first seven innings
Indiana found new life in the top of the eighth, scoring seven runs to pull within, 9-7. Chris Province was sent to the mound to pitch, and Indiana went to work. Freshman Josh Richardson was inserted to pinch hit, and drew a walk in his first collegiate at bat. Sophomore Reggie Watson reached base on an error, and then senior shortstop Seth Bynum knocked in both runners with a full-count double to right center field. Junior third baseman Corby Heckman kept the rally going with a base hit up the middle to score Bynum. Sophomore first baseman Ryan Parker grounded out, but moved Heckman to second. Junior rightfielder Joe Kemp banged a double down the left field line to plate Heckman. Next, it was senior designated hitter Ryan Donley's turn. Donley singled to left field, scoring Kemp. Tanna M cClure replaced Province on the mound, but senior leftfielder Kevin Mahar tripled to right center to score Donley. Junior pinch hitter Kurt Weigle then faced another new Lion pitcher, Risely St. Germain. Weigle grounded out, but Mahar came home for run No. 7.
Freshman lefty Byron Banks made his Hoosier debut in the bottom of the eighth. Banks got a ground out and then recorded back-to-back strikeouts to retire the side.
In the ninth, IU's offensive resurgence continued. Watson drew a leadoff walk and Bynum knocked a base hit up the middle. Then, Heckman's sacrifice bunt did the trick as St. Germain mishandled the ball. With the bases loaded, Parker pounded a double down the left field line to tie things up. Heckman and Parker came home on double by Donley to give IU an a two-run advantage at 11-9.
Southeastern got the first two runners on in the bottom of the ninth, and then Tony Suarez singled off of the glove of Bynum to load the bases with no outs. Banks launched a wild pitch to the backstop to score Brady Sledge, who walked to lead off the inning. Banks recovered to strike out Cody Poche, but then Bynum could not throw home on a slow ground ball by Corey Penedo, allowing Trent Hebert to score the tying run. Dan Pezley was inserted to pitch for IU, but Yielded a looper to shallow right-center to send the game-winning run home.
Banks took the loss for Indiana in 1.2 innings of work. Brian Lortz, Steve Nielsen and Troy Ragle also pitched for the Hoosiers. St. Germain picked up the win for the Lions. He worked 1.2 innings and gave up three hits and four runs.
Mahar finished the game with three hits and an RBI. Donley had a pair of hits and drove in three runs. Bynum had a pair of doubles and scored two runs.
The Hoosiers will look to capture their first win in Sunday's series finale. Game time is set for 12:45 p.m. (EST) in Hammond.
Nick Vitielliss, a 2002 All-Big Ten Conference performer who missed last season due to injury, will start on the mound for IU.
"Hopefully, Nick will come out and give us a good start, and we'll put one together and get a win tomorrow," Morgan said.
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