Hoosiers Strand 11 in Defeat
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Playing only its third game in nine days, the Indiana baseball team suffered a 12-6 setback to Valparaiso on Tuesday afternoon at Sembower Field. The Hoosiers are now 13-6 on the season, while the Crusaders improve to 7-8.
The Cream and Crimson trailed 10-4 in the bottom of the eighth before a two-out rally cut into the Valpo lead. Sophomore Josh Richardson and junior Reggie Watson drew back-to-back bases loaded walks to close the deficit to 10-6, but Valparaiso pitcher Adam Knobel retired Jay Brant on strikes, leaving the bases loaded to end the frame.
After the Crusaders tacked on a pair in the top of the ninth to reclaim a six-run lead, IU once again loaded the bases with two down. However, Knobel escaped the situation with a strike out for the second straight inning, this time catching senior Kurt Weigle.
Indiana had chances throughout, stringing together 12 hits and leaving 11 runners on base. Watson closed the ballgame 3-for-4 with three runs scored, one double and one stolen base. Senior Corby Heckman added a 3-for-4 performance, drilling his first home run of the season to go along with one RBI and two runs.
Valpo took the early lead with two runs in the second off starter Adam Poole, but the Hoosiers grabbed their first lead of the game with four in the fourth. Heckman started the comeback with his home run, and Watson laced a double to left field to bring home Weigle and freshman Brad Udoff.
Richardson came across with the final run in the inning after a wild pitch, giving the Cream and Crimson a 4-2 lead heading into the fifth.
Chris McCombs (1-1) entered the contest for IU in the fifth, and the Crusaders greeted him with a six-spot. The runs, two were unearned, are the first earned runs allowed by the freshman in 14 2/3 innings, since the team's victory over Memphis on Feb. 26.
Following single tallies by Valparaiso in the sixth and seventh, IU used its eighth-inning flurry to get within four runs, but it was as close as it would get.
Freshman Dallas Cawiezell (1-0) earned his first collegiate victory for the Crusaders with two perfect innings of work in relief, and Knobel recorded the final four outs without allowing a run.
For the Hoosiers, Poole gave up two runs in three innings, and junior Clint Crosier kept Indiana in the game. In 2 2/3 innings pitched, Crosier surrendered two runs with a pair of strikeouts.
In addition to Watson and Heckman, Brant went 2-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. Udoff also was 2-for-5 in the game.
Up next, the Cream and Crimson return to Sembower Field for a showdown with Shawnee State on Wednesday, March 30, at 3 p.m. Following Wednesday's contest, the Hoosiers open Big Ten play against the Wildcats of Northwestern. The teams will open the series with a 3 p.m. match up on Friday, April 1, before playing a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 2. The series concludes with a 1 p.m. matinee on Sunday, April 3.
At Friday's game, head coach of the 2004 national champion Indiana men's soccer team, Mike Freitag, will sing 'Take Me Out To The Ballgame' during the seventh-inning stretch.
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