Gophers Too Much for Hoosiers

    Go Hoosiers!
    Go Hoosiers!

    Go Hoosiers!
    MINNEAPOLIS - Facing a redhot Minnesota squad, the Indiana baseball team dropped both ends of a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Siebert Field. IU lost game one, 7-1, and fell in game two, 5-4. With the victories, the Golden Gophers (14-12) have reeled off seven-straight Big Ten wins to open the league campaign, while the Hoosiers (16-12) fall to 1-6 in the conference.

    After scoring only one run in the first two games of the series, the Cream and Crimson tripled that total and took its first lead of the four-game set in the opening inning of game three. Left fielder Jay Brant looped a one-out single into right to get things started. The junior has recorded a hit in 21 of the last 22 ballgames he has appeared in.

    Senior right fielder Joe Kemp then hit a solid shot into left center field, putting runners on the corners for designated hitter Zach Boswell. The junior sat at the plate with a 3-1 count when Kemp took off for second, the pitch was a ball, but Minnesota catcher Jake Elder threw down to second, and Brant alertly scampered home with the first run of the game.

    Following an infield single by junior first baseman Ryan Parker, senior third baseman Corby Heckman hit a drive to right field, which Sean Kommerstad could not corral, to plate Kemp. Sophomore second baseman Josh Richardson closed out the scoring with a dribbler to Gopher starter Josh Oslin, whose only play was at first, letting Boswell come across with the Hoosiers' third run.

    In the frame, the Hoosiers sent nine men to the plate and recorded four hits, knocking Oslin out after only 2/3 of an inning.

    The Golden Gophers plated two unearned runs in the bottom of the first and took the lead with two in the second. Kommerstad placed a perfect bunt on a suicide squeeze as third baseman David Hrncirik touched home with the tying run. Shortstop Matt Fornasiere then gave the Gophers their first lead with a line shot to center field, driving in center fielder Tony Leseman.

    Sophomore Joe Trucchio relieved Indiana starter Adam Poole (0-2) with one out and runners on first and second and forced second baseman Luke MacLean to ground into a 5-4-3 double play, preventing any further damage.

    Andy Peters came in for Oslin and quickly dispensed of the first six batters he faced before Heckman picked up a two-out base knock and Richardson walked. Sophomore shortstop Steve Head then hit a wicked comebacker up the middle, but Peters snagged it to maintain a 4-3 advantage.

    Minnesota secured its third unearned tally of the contest in the third to take a two-run lead heading into the fourth, where the Cream and Crimson chased Peters from the ballgame. Junior center fielder Reggie Watson singled with one down, stole second, and Brant walked to put two men on for Kemp.

    John Gaub took the bump and immediately picked Watson off, but Brant advanced to second on the play. Kemp followed with an infield single, and Brant came around on a throwing error by shortstop Matt Fornasiere to cut the deficit to 5-4.

    For the third time in as many innings, IU put two runners on base and for the second time, a great play by a Gopher hurler robbed the Hoosiers of run. Pinch hitter Michael Nilles stepped up to the plate with baserunners on first and second and hit a rocket off Gaub's side, but it landed right next to him, and he threw Nilles out at first base to end the two-out threat.

    It turned out to be the Hoosiers' final rally as Gaub pitched perfect sixth and seventh innings to give Minnesota a 3-0 lead in the series.

    Peters pitched 2 2/3 innings and held Indiana without an earned run on one hit with three punchouts and three

    bases on balls. Gaub improved to 2-0, firing the final 3 2/3 scoreless innings and holding the Cream and Crimson to one hit recording five Ks and one base on ball.

    Trucchio was nearly perfect in 4 2/3 innings of hitless work, keeping Indiana in the game. The Melbourne, Australia, native did not allow an earned run while striking out two and walking two.

    Offensively, Kemp (one run) and Heckman (one RBI) each went 2-for-4, while Brant ended the contest 1-for-3 with two runs and one steal.

    For the second straight outing, Minnesota's starting pitchers stifled the IU hitters in game one of the doubleheader. Golden Gopher starter Cole DeVries (1-2) threw a complete game five-hitter, allowing one earned run with four Ks and one walk.

    Sophomore shortstop Steve Head delivered the Hoosiers' first run of the series, knocking in junior designated Zach Boswell with a sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh to break up the shutout.

    The Gophers took a lead it would never relinquish two batters into the bottom of the first. Shortstop Matt Fornasiere led off with a double down the right field line, and left fielder Luke MacLean singled him home with the first run of the ballgame.

    Right fielder Mike Mee followed with a 387-foot blast over the right field wall, the sophomore's fourth home run of the season, giving Minnesota a 3-0 lead through one inning.

    In the second, Head turned in the defensive play of the series. Ranging to his left, Head dived full extension and snared second baseman Jeremy Chlan's shot up the middle, and threw a perfect strike to junior Ryan Parker at first base to retire Chlan.

    Hoosier starter Brian Lortz (2-2) settled in after the first three Gophers reached base, setting down the next seven batters in order before MacLean struck again with a base knock to left. Following a walk to Mee, Lortz induced first baseman Andy Hunter to bounce into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.

    The Cream and Crimson carried the momentum into the fourth, mounting a mild threat. Left fielder Jay Brant, back in the line up after suffering a jaw injury in the series opener, laced a base hit to left to begin the rally. The junior proceeded to steal his team-leading 14th base (in 16 attempts) and stood on second with nobody out. However, DeVries retired the next three Hoosiers in order, escaping the jam and holding the Gopher lead at 3-0.

    Minnesota extended its advantage to 6-0 with a pair of runs in the fourth and a single tally in the fifth. Center fielder Tony Leseman's sacrifice fly drove home catcher Jake Elder, and Chlan added an RBI single, knocking in designated hitter John Arlt to account for the Golden Gophers' fourth-inning runs, and Mee came across with the sixth run of the game.

    Third baseman David Hrncirik came home with Minnesota's final run of the ballgame after MacLean was hit by an offering with the bases loaded to make it 7-0.

    Boswell turned in his second straight two-hit performance, going 2-for-3 in the contest. Brant (1-for-3), junior center fielder Reggie Watson (1-for-3), and senior right fielder Joe Kemp (1-for-3) collected the other three Hoosier hits.

    The series concludes tomorrow afternoon, Sunday, April 10, with a 1 p.m. first pitch at Siebert Field.




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