Hoosiers Sweep Cleveland State
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Indiana baseball team completed a three-game sweep of Cleveland State, 13-6, on Sunday afternoon at Sembower Field in Bloomington. The victory marked the fifth of the week and sixth-straight to push Indiana to a 7-5 record on the season. The Vikings fell to 0-3 on their opening weekend. IU won Friday's opener, 10-2, and defeated CSU, 18-4, on Saturday.
"We're starting to swing the bats," Hoosier coach Bob Morgan said. "Corby (Heckman), Kevin (Mahar) and Seth (Bynum) have all been hot for us at the plate. They are getting key hits and that's what we need from the middle of our lineup. We're not where we need to be yet, but we're starting to play better overall."
Eight of Indiana's 11 hits went for extra bases, including four triples by four different Hoosier players. IU also capitalized on 10 walks that were issued by the Viking pitching staff on its way to scoring 13 runs.
Junior rightfielder Joe Kemp had his best game of the season at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, a triple, two runs scored and one RBI. Corby Heckman continued his recent offensive success, going 2-for-3, including his first home run of the year and a triple. He also scored three runs and added three RBI. Sophomore centerfielder Reggie Watson had a pair of hits, including a triple, scored twice and drove in two runs.
Freshman Matt Saba picked up his third win of the season for the Hoosiers in relief. Saba (3-0) entered to pitch in the fourth and surrender just three hits and no earned runs while walking one and notching a pair of strikeouts.
Starting pitcher Steve Nielsen got off to a bit of a rocky start in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Corey Rojeck reached first base on a dropped ball, before the Hoosiers recorded two outs. Nielsen surrendered back -to-back walks to load the bases. A fielding error at third base put Marc Sikora at first and Rojeck scored the Vikings' first run. Nielsen then issued another base on balls to walk a run home.
Indiana quickly answered in its first at bat, scoring three times to take a 3-2 lead. With one out, Cleveland State starting pitcher Gary Ball walked Ryan Parker. In the next at bat, Heckman homered to right field to even the score. Kemp banged a triple to the wall in center field, and Bynum's plated him on a ground out to shortstop.
Cleveland State tied the game at three in the top of the third, courtesy of Sikora's solo home run to center field.
The Hoosiers picked up three more run in the bottom half of the inning. Heckman drew a two-out walk, which turned out to be the first three straight issued by Ball. Mahar made Cleveland State pay, pounding a base hit into left-center and plating two runs.
Indiana took a 9-3 lead in the fourth.Watson tripled down the left field line and collected a pair of RBI as Cody Wargo and Michael Nilles, who had both walked, came around to score. Watson scored on Parker's sacrifice fly.
The Cream and Crimson strung five straight hits together and pushed four more runs across in the fifth. Nilles earned his first base hit with a single to center field, and Watson followed with a base hit. Parker drove in both runners with a double to the wall in center. Heckman tripled for the second time in the game and Parker scored. Kemp's second double of the game plated Heckman to give IU a 13-3 advantage.
Cleveland State touched IU reliever Byron Banks for three runs on five hits in the eighth to make it, 13-6.
The Hoosiers will travel to Cincinnati to take on Xavier on Tuesday, March 9, at 3 p.m.
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