Indiana Comes Up Short vs. Northwestern

    Go Hoosiers!
    Go Hoosiers!

    Go Hoosiers!
    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Indiana baseball team dropped a doubleheader to Northwestern on Sunday afternoon at Sembower Field. IU lost game one, 12-9, in nine innings and dropped game two, 10-6. The Hoosiers are now 15-8 on the season and 1-2 in Big Ten play, while the Wildcats move to 11-9 overall and 2-1 in the league.

    In the opener, NU took a 9-8 lead into the bottom of the seventh, but could not hang on. Junior Reggie Watson gave the Hoosiers life with a leadoff triple into right center field. Following a ground out, senior Joe Kemp walked to put runners on the corners for junior Ryan Parker, who hit a sharp grounder to second baseman Jake Owens. Owens flipped to Jon Mikrut at short to force Kemp, but the relay bounced away from first baseman Mark Ori, letting Watson come home with the tying run to force extra innings.

    After a scoreless eighth inning, Northwestern pushed across three in the ninth for the final 12-9 margin. Pat McMahon scored the game-winning run on an errant throw to first by catcher Kurt Weigle on a sacrifice bunt. Mike Phelps added a two-RBI single off Hoosier reliever Joe Trucchio (1-2) as the Wildcats closed out their first Big Ten victory.

    Watson completed the opener with a 5-for-6 performance to go along with one RBI and three runs. Sophomore Josh Richardson went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI, and freshman Brad Udoff added two RBI and two runs.

    Anthony Wycklendt hit a three-run homer in the top of the first to put NU up 3-0 before the Cream and Crimson responded with one in the bottom half of the inning. Leading off, Watson opened with a single to left and junior Jay Brant followed with a line drive double over right fielder's Max Mann's head. Watson came across with IU's first run when shortstop Caleb Fields threw errantly attempting to catch him at the plate.

    Both teams continued the offensive attack in the second inning as the Wildcats came back with four runs on four hits to build their lead to 7-1.

    Watson singled in Udoff, who reached on a single and advanced to second on freshman Jon Fixler's base knock, to cut the Northwestern lead to 7-2 through two innings.

    Northwestern got the run back in the third, but the Hoosiers stormed back with six in the bottom half of the frame to even things up when Brant delivered a two-RBI single, plating Udoff and Weigle.

    Udoff started the rally with a shot to left field, scoring Parker and junior Zach Boswell. Richardson accounted for the other two runs, singling in senior Corby Heckman and Weigle. In the inning, Indiana sent 10 men to the plate and pounded six hits.

    Neither team entered the scoring column in the fourth and it appeared IU was ready to take its first lead of the

    ballgame in the fifth. Richardson ripped a single up the middle and Watson beat out a bunt to put runners on first and second with nobody out for Brant, who sacrificed both runners up 90 feet.

    After an intentional walk to senior Joe Kemp, Wildcat reliever Chris Hayes enticed Parker to ground into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play to keep the score tied entering the sixth, where the Wildcats broke the deadlock.

    With Aaron Newman on second, Ori singled to right and Kemp overran the ball, allowing Newman to cross the plate with Northwestern's ninth run.

    Hayes (1-0) pitched the final five innings, holding the Hoosiers to one run on five hits with two walks and three Ks.

    For Indiana, Matt Saba was impressive in relief of starter Brad Davidson. The sophomore did not allow an earned run in 3 1/3 innings pitched, surrendering three hits while walking none.

    As was the case in the opener, Northwestern tallied the first runs of the contest in game two. The Wildcats put up two in the first, and the Cream and Crimson answered right back with a pair in the bottom of the frame.

    Watson was hit by a pitch and Brant reached on an error by Owens, allowing the runners to advance to second and third. Kemp knocked in both runners with a single to right field to even the game at 2-2.

    NU regained the lead with one in the second, but IU returned the favor with one in the bottom half of the inning. Richardson led off with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch, where Brant drove him in with a sacrifice fly to left field.

    The Wildcats broke the tie in the fourth when Newman singled in Owens. Northwestern added a solo tally in the fifth to make it a 5-3 advantage.

    McMahon pushed the NU lead to 8-3, hitting his fourth home run of the season, a three-run shot over the right field fence. Stanley Finch provided the Wildcats' final run of the frame, plating Wycklendt with a base knock to right field.

    The Hoosiers cut the lead in half with three in the sixth, starting with Richardson's RBI single, which plated Boswell. Brant reached on an infield singe to score pinch runner Arden McWilliams, and Richardson scored on a passed ball for the final run in the sixth.

    Northwestern starter Ryan Myers forced Kemp to fly out to center field, leaving runners on second and third to close out the inning, and NU pushed across an unearned run in the seventh for the final 10-6 score.

    Myers allowed three earned runs in 6 2/3 innings pitched, improving to 3-1 on the year. Dan Schwartz retired the final Hoosier for the save.

    Lortz gave up three earned in 4 2/3 innings, striking out three while walking none, and junior Dan Pezley did not allow an earned run in one inning of work.

    Offensively, Brant went 2-for-3, extending his hitting streak to 17 games. He also drove in a couple of runs and scored once. Richardson picked up two more hits, one RBI and two runs, finishing 5-for-8 in the doubleheader with three RBI and two runs.

    The series concludes with a 2 p.m. matinee on Monday, April 4, at Sembower Field. Mike Freitag, head coach of the 2004 national champion Indiana men's soccer team will lead the crowd in the singing of 'Take Me Out To The Ballgame' during the seventh-inning stretch.




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