Hoosiers Claim Gent Classic Championship
SHREVEPORT, La. - Brad Davidson earned his first collegiate victory and Jay Brant drove in four runs, as the Indiana baseball team shut out Arkansas-Little Rock, 16-0, in its final game at the Gent Classic on Sunday afternoon. With the victory, the Hoosiers (6-2) claimed the Classic championship, sweeping UALR and splitting with Centenary for a 3-1 record.
Making the first start of his career, Davidson fired five scoreless innings, holding the Trojans to two hits. The freshman from Novelty, Ohio, punched out five of the first seven Trojan outs, finishing with six total Ks.
Brant went 4-for-6 with four RBI, three runs and one stolen base. Juniors Zach Boswell and Ryan Parker added productive days with Boswell going 3-for-4, adding three RBI and two runs. Parker turned in a 3-for-5 performance to go along with three runs batted in and two runs scored.
The Cream and Crimson pushed across runs in every inning, starting with a two-out run in the first. Brant stole second and scored when Parker laced an RBI single into left field.
IU built its advantage to 4-0 in the bottom of the second frame. Freshman Tyler Cox hit a squibber to pitcher Cody Fry, who barehanded the ball and threw it wildly to first, allowing sophomore Josh Richardson to come around all the way from first and Cox to cruise into third.
Freshman Jon Fixler followed with a ground ball to third, and Cox was tagged out for the second out in the inning. Junior Reggie Watson walked and the runners moved to second and third on a wild pitch to set the table for Brant, who skied a ball to left field that just landed in fair territory for a two-RBI single.
The on-slaught continued in the third as the Hoosiers posted a two-spot. Parker and Boswell opened the inning with a walk and single, respectively, and Richardson sacrificed the runners up 90 feet with a perfectly executed bunt. Fry retired Cox on strikes but uncorked a wild pitch to bring Parker home and move Boswell to third, where he scored on an infield single by sophomore Steve Head to push the Indiana lead to 6-0.
Brant connected for his second home run of the season, a towering drive to left field, in the fourth, and Fixler delivered an RBI single to plate Boswell and increase the IU lead to 8-0 after five.
The Trojans threatened in the fifth with runners at second and third and only one out, but Davidson forced Tim Lawrence to ground out and Steve Bilokur to fly out, avoiding any damage.
Sophomore Joe Trucchio relieved Davidson in the sixth inning and escaped a bases-loaded jam when Chad McKellar grounded out to Brant to keep the shutout in tact.
Boswell ripped a two-run single up the middle to plate senior Joe Kemp and Parker in the sixth, and Brant (RBI), Parker (two RBI) and Boswell (RBI) drilled run-producing singles in a five-run seventh. Kemp closed out the scoring with a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Matt Saba pitched the seventh, Tony Tevis threw the eight and Kemp tossed the ninth to preserve the Hoosiers' second shutout of the season.
Head finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with one RBI and two runs, while Fixler went 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Watson extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the seventh.
Up next, the Hoosiers return to Bloomington to battle Xavier on Tuesday, March 8. Game time is 3 p.m. at Sembower Field.
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