21-Hit Attack Propels Indiana
BRADENTON, Fla. - Behind a season-high 21 hits and 14 runs, the Indiana baseball team disposed off Bucknell, 14-4, on Sunday afternoon at Academy Park. The win improves the Hoosiers to 2-0 on their spring break trip and 8-3 overall, while Bucknell falls to 0-7 on the season. IU has scored 10-plus runs in each of its last five games, going 4-1 in the five-game span, and has pounded out at least 10 hits in 10 of 11 games this season.
Six Hoosier players recorded at least two hits with junior Jay Brant leading the way following a perfect 5-for-5 performance. Junior Reggie Watson (3-for-5), senior Joe Kemp (3-for-6), junior Ryan Parker (2-for-5), junior Zach Boswell (3-for-4) and freshman Jon Fixler (2-for-3) all delivered two or more hits.
Parker added four RBI and scored twice, while Brant drove in two with one run and Kemp scored three times and knocked in two. Additionally, Watson and Boswell each finished the afternoon with two runs and an RBI.
"We really hit the ball well today," said Indiana head coach Bob Morgan. "We were on balls all day long. Several guys had strong days at the plate, and Brian Lortz pitched seven strong innings. It was a good win, and we continue to get better and better."
The Cream and Crimson sent 10 men to the plate and scored four runs before Bucknell stepped into the batters box. Watson legged out an infield single, moving his hitting steak to 12 games, and Brant followed with a single. After Kemp grounded into a fielder's choice to put runners on the corners, Parker wrapped a home run around the left field foul pole off Bison starter Matt Curry (0-2) to give IU a 3-0 advantage. The homer was Parker's third this season and extended his hitting streak to nine games.
Indiana continued to move the line as senior Corby Heckman singled between walks to Boswell and freshman Brad Udoff. Boswell tallied the final run of the frame, scoring on a wild pitch to make it a four-run Hoosier lead.
The Bison responded with a pair of unearned runs in the bottom half of the first and placed runners on first and third with two outs, but starter Brian Lortz retired the side when first baseman Brian Day popped out to Brant at second.
In the third, it appeared the Hoosiers were on their way to a big inning, loading the bases with one out. However, Day stabbed a one-hopper by Kemp and forced freshman Tyler Cox at the plate, and Parker grounded out to end the rally.
Boswell led off the fourth with a triple to center and touched home with the first of seven no-out runs when Bison shortstop Matt Capece threw wildly to first on a Heckman grounder. Heckman advanced to second on the error and moved to third following a single through the left side by Udoff. A walk to Fixler filled the bases for Cox, who pushed the margin to 6-2 with an RBI single to right.
Watson then delivered an RBI single, and Brant laced a shot to left field to bring home two more runs, increasing the IU lead to 9-2. Kemp continued the hit parade, lining a double that caromed off the left field wall and plated Watson and Brant before coming around with the final run of the inning on a wild pitch. The Cream and Crimson sent 12 batters to the plate during the eight-run, six-hit outburst.
After the first inning, Lortz (1-0) settled in and retired 13 of the next 14 batters he faced, including eight straight before Kyle Walter singled and Ryan Gryskevicz belted a two-run homer to left, closing the Bison deficit to 12-4 in the sixth. Watson robbed Day of extra bases with a spectacular diving catch in left center field to end the frame.
IU added its final runs in the seventh as Parker doubled down the left field line to score Kemp, and Boswell singled to right to drive home Parker.
In addition to picking up his first win of the campaign, Lortz threw seven innings, holding the Bison to two earned runs on five hits with no walks and six strikeouts. Sophomore Matt Saba pitched a scoreless eighth with two punchouts, and sophomore Graeme McFarland did not allow a run in the ninth and also struck out two batters, closing out the Indiana victory.
The Hoosiers return to the diamond on Monday, March 14, at 10:30 a.m. EST against Yale for game three of their spring break trip.
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