Gophers Too Much for 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.
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