ASHEVILLE, N.C. - In its second day of action against Akron, the Indiana baseball team earned a sweep, defeating the Zips, 4-1, and 5-2 in eight innings in Asheville, N.C. The Hoosiers improved to 6-1 overall and won the four-game series, 3-1. Akron slipped to 1-3 on the season.
With the first game scoreless through two innings, Indiana got on the scoreboard in the top of the third, courtesy of a Seth Bynum home run to left field. The long ball was the junior shortstop's second of the season and the team's third overall.
Akron threatened in the bottom of the fifth. With no outs, the Zips had runners on first and second after a hit and an IU error. The Hoosiers turned a 6-4-3 double play and IU starter Chris Behrens logged a strikeout in the next two at bats to work out of the jam and leave an Akron runner stranded on third base.
Indiana extended its lead in the sixth inning after loading the bases with not outs. Second baseman David Hughes drew his second straight walk to lead off the inning and leftfielder Mark Calkins followed with a single to right field. Akron intentionally walked third baseman Vasili Spanos to load the bases. First baseman Kevin Mahar ripped an RBI single to right to score Hughes and put the Hoosiers up, 2-0. Rightfielder Ryan Donley drove in Calkins with a sacrifice fly to right. Spanos came around to score on a throwing error by the Akron shortstop, in an attempt to pick off Mahar. Indiana took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth.
In the bottom half of the sixth, it was Akron who loaded the bases with just one out. Ryan Smith came in to relieve Behrens and retired the next two batters on a fly out and a strikeout to close out the inning.
Akron scored its first and only run when leftfielder Israel Victor hit a homer to lead off the seventh inning. The Hoosiers then recorded three straight outs to end the game.
Behrens picked up his first victory of the season. The junior lefthander worked 5.1 innings and allowed only three hits and three walks, while striking out five Akron batters.
In the second game of the afternoon, the Zips struck first with a pair of runs in the bottom of first. Indiana evened the score in the top of the fourth. IU capitalized on a pair of walks and a passed ball by Akron and got hits from designated hitter Nick Evans and Mahar to make, 2-2.
In the bottom of the fourth, redshirt freshman Austin Rhoads took over for freshman
starter Josh Lewis. In his first collegiate appearance, Rhoads fanned the first two batters he faced.
Both teams made some noise in the next two innings, but neither was able to muster a run to take the lead and the game went into extra innings.
The Hoosiers went to work in the top of the eighth and took the lead for good. Centerfielder and Bloomington product Brad DeStefano doubled to right to start things off. DeStefano advanced to third on a wild pitch and rightfielder Kenny Marrs drew a walk to put runners at first and third . Calkins drove a single to deep center. The Akron centerfielder mishandled it and DeStefano, Marrs and Calkins all came home to put the Hoosiers ahead, 5-2.
The Zips managed two hits in the bottom of the inning, but the Hoosiers ended things with a 1-6-3 double play.
Smith picked up the win, his second of the year, in two innings of work. He allowed two hits and struck out two Akron batters. Rhoads was effective in the three innings he pitched, giving up four hits and striking out three.
The Hoosiers return to action on Wednesday, March 12, when they play their first home contest of the 2003 season against Butler University. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. at Sembower Field on the IU campus.