Parker Leads IU to Season-Opening Victory
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Six Hoosier pitchers combined to shutout DePauw, as the IU offense mustered five runs on 10 hits in the Cream and Crimson's 22nd straight home-opening win under head coach Bob Morgan on Tuesday, Feb. 22. The Hoosiers have won 16 consecutive contests against the Tigers and improved to 1-0 on the season, as DePauw fell to 0-1 on the year.
Junior first baseman Ryan Parker led the way for the Hoosiers, going 3-for-3 with two doubles, a triple, a run scored and two RBI. Sophomore designated hitter Josh Richardson and junior second baseman Jay Brant added two singles apiece in the victory. Senior outfielder Joe Kemp, junior left fielder Zach Boswell and senior third baseman Corby Heckman each added RBI in the victory.
"Ryan had a real strong day at the plate," said Morgan. "He had a couple of hits that would have been home runs on normal days, and he had another nice shot into the gap. He swung the bat really well and had an outstanding day."
Sophomore Matt Saba picked up the victory with two shutout innings. The Hoosier pitching staff combined for 14 strikeouts in nine innings, allowing only four hits. Junior Adam Poole pitched the opening two innings, allowing only one hit and striking out three of the seven batters he faced.
Sophomore Joe Trucchio pitched a pair of innings with two punch-outs, while freshman Brad Davidson, senior Steve Nielsen and Kemp combined to pitch the final three innings for the Hoosiers. Trucchio, Saba, Davidson and Nielsen each struck out two batters during their work, while Kemp added three Ks.
The Hoosiers had mild threats in the second, fourth and fifth innings. IU had a runner on third in each inning but was unable to cash in. Extra-base hits from Parker in the second and fourth gave the Hoosiers chances. Parker doubled in the second and followed that up with a triple off the 370 sign in right in the fourth. In the fifth, a three-base error by DePauw pitcher P.J. Mitchell allowed freshman catcher Jon Fixler to reach third base. Mitchell would respond by getting freshman shortstop Tyler Cox swinging for the final out of the inning.
It was a pitching duel through the first five and a half innings as DePauw's Mitchell was able to keep the Hoosiers off the board, allowing only two hits and striking out five through his opening five innings of work. The Hoosiers would catch up to Mitchell in the sixth.
With one out, Brant lined a single just in front of the right fielder in the bottom of the sixth. The Indianapolis native stole second on a 1-0 pitch to give the Hoosiers their fourth runner in scoring position of the game. Kemp lined a single to center, driving home Brant to give the Hoosiers a 1-0 lead.
After Kemp stole second and DePauw intentionally walked Parker, Boswell picked up his first Hoosier RBI. The junior college transfer lined the opening offer to center, driving home Kemp and advancing Parker to third. The IU outburst with one out in the sixth forced Mitchell from the game, as Mark Alson came out of the Tigers' bullpen.
Heckman lifted Alson's first pitch of the game to right field, allowing Parker to tag and advance. The run pushed the Hoosier advantage to 3-0. Alson got the Tigers out of the inning with no more damage despite giving up a single to right-center by Richardson.
DePauw threatened in the top of the seventh. With one out, Greg DeBeer doubled down the left-field line and Adrian Norris walked, giving the Tigers runners on first and second. IU's Davidson, who came on for Saba at the start of the inning, kept the Tigers off the board, striking out Kevin McAteer swinging and Matt Deahl looking.
The Hoosiers tacked on a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, junior center fielder Reggie Watson singled and advanced to third following a single by Brant. Brant advanced to second on the throw. Following another Hoosier out, Parker added his third extra-base hit with a double to left field, plating Watson and Brant for a 5-0 advantage.
"I was just fortunate enough to put some good swings on the ball," said Parker. "It felt great just to get outside. This is the first time since I have been here that we have been able to play our home opener. I think it is going to help us for this weekend to have a game under out belts."
The shutout was the first for Indiana since a 4-0 victory on March 4 of last season at Butler. It also was the Hoosiers first season-opening shutout since a 6-0 win against Findlay on Feb. 28, 2003, and first home season-opening shutout since Feb. 18, 2002, a 15-0 victory over Taylor.
The Hoosiers will return to action as part of the Service Academies Classic in Millington, Tenn., Feb. 25-27. The Cream and Crimson will battle Indiana State at 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 25. IU will then face Memphis at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26. Indiana will cap off the Classic against Navy at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 27.
"We will play Indiana State, who is always a strong opponent when we play them," said Morgan. "We also play Memphis and Navy. Hopefully, we can go down there and play well and win a few games. We're looking forward to being outside and hopefully have a little better weather and play as well and as hard as we can."
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