SHREVEPORT, La. - Josh Lewis scattered eight hits in six innings, allowing only one run, to lead the Indiana baseball team to a 9-4 victory over Arkansas-Little Rock in the opening game of the Gent Classic on Friday afternoon. The Hoosiers improve to 4-1 on the season, while the Trojans drop to 7-7. Lewis earned his first victory of the season, lowering his ERA to 3.27. The junior from Mt. Airy, Md., also struck out four batters and walked two. Sophomore Joe Trucchio pitched the seventh and eight innings, surrendering one run, and redshirt freshman Tony Tevis closed out the contest.
Offensively, IU pounded out a season-high 14 hits and matched a season high with nine runs. Senior Corby Heckman went 4-for-5 with one RBI, one run and two stolen bases, while senior Joe Kemp was 2-for-4 with two RBI, one run, one steal and one triple.
The game remained scoreless through the first three innings when Indiana entered the scoring column in the top of the fourth. After putting their first two baserunners on in both the first and second innings and failing to score, junior Ryan Parker scored on a perfectly executed double steal.
Parker doubled to open the inning, ripping a rocket off the center field wall. Junior Zach Boswell lined out to center, and Heckman delivered a single to left to put runners at the corners with one out. Three pitches later, Heckman stole second and UALR catcher Tommy Bryant attempted to throw him out, allowing Parker to swipe home to give IU a 1-0 lead.
Lewis cruised through the first four innings, holding the Trojans scoreless on four hits before Bryant opened the fifth with a double down the left field line. Tim Lawrence followed with a sinking liner to right that fell in front of Kemp, bringing home Bryant to even the score at 1-1.
The Hoosiers escaped the inning without any further damage when center fielder Reggie Watson made a spectacular diving catch to rob Ben McMurry of extra bases with a runner on first base.
Indiana bounced back in the sixth to regain the lead. Kemp walked to lead off the frame and with one out, stole second base. Boswell took a walk, and Kemp moved on to third as ball four got away from Bryant. IU tried to duplicate its first run, but Boswell was thrown out attempting to steal second and Kemp remained at third. Heckman then hit a routine grounder to third, however, Trojan third baseman Steve Bilokur threw wildly to first, letting Kemp score for a 2-1 Hoosier lead.
Once again, the Trojans mounted a comeback attempt. UALR loaded the bases with two outs behind a single and a pair of walks, but Lewis shutdown the rally, getting Lawrence to hit into a force out.
The Cream and Crimson added some insurance in the seventh, as junior Jay Brant slugged a two-run shot to left field, his first home run of the season, plating Watson and pushing the lead to 4-1. Kemp followed with a double just inside the first base bag to extend his hitting streak to 12 games (dating back to last season).
IU continued to pour it on in the eighth. Heckman brought home Boswell, who reached on a single and advanced to second on an error, with a base hit to right field. Sophomore Steve Head brought home two more when he singled up the middle to knock in Heckman and pinch runner Tyler Cox. The two RBI were Head's first of the season.
Kemp continued the five-run frame, launching a two-run triple into right center to drive home Head and Brant to make it 9-1.
The Trojans posted one run in the eight and two runs in the ninth for the 9-4 final.
Brant concluded the game with two RBI and two runs, and Watson went 2-for-5. In addition, freshman Jon Fixler picked up his first collegiate hit, smashing a shot off pitcher Clayton Dill for an infield single.
Game two at the Gent Classic is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CST on Friday. The Cream and Crimson will conclude the doubleheader against the host school, Centenary.