Indiana Drops Pair to Gophers
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Indiana baseball team lost a pair of games against Minnesota on Saturday afternoon at Sembower Field. IU dropped game one, 11-3 and fell 8-2 in game two. With the victories, the Gophers improve to 15-11 overall and 5-2 in the Big Ten, while the Hoosiers fall to 18-12 and 2-5 in conference play.
Unlike the first two games in the series, Minnesota opened the scoring in Saturday's second game. The first six Gophers reached base in an eight-run first, highlighted by Andy Hunter's three-run double. Minnesota recorded six hits and took advantage of four walks and two Hoosier errors, building an 8-0 lead before the Hoosiers came to bat.
IU came back with a run in the bottom half of the first. With two outs and Jay Brant on first, Rashard Graves singled to right field to put runners on the corners. Kevin Mahar followed with a single to left field bringing home Brant with the Hoosiers first run of the game to make it 8-1. Ryan Donley walked to load the bases, but Ryan Parker flied out to deep right field to close out the inning.
The Golden Gophers put runners at first and third to open the second when Donley and catcher Cody Wargo connected for the defensive play of the day. David Hrncirik flied out to Donley in right field, and Donley threw a perfect strike to Wargo, who blocked the plate and tagged out Hunter for a double play.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Hoosiers added a solo run to cut the Gopher lead to 8-2. Donley was hit-by-a-pitch to open the inning, and Parker singled to center to put runners on the corners. Wargo brought Donley home the following pitch with a sacrifice fly to center field.
Indiana left two runners on base for the third consecutive inning in the sixth. David Hughes delivered a one-out base hit to center field and Reggie Watson reached on an error. However, Minnesota hurler Brian Bull struck out Brant and forced Seth Bynum to ground into a fielder's choice to end the frame.
Matt Saba held the Golden Gophers in check after relieving Brian Lortz (2-1) in the first inning. The true freshman did not allow an earned run in the final 6 2/3, but it was not enough as Minnesota won game three of the four-game series, 8-2.
Saba only walked one batter to go along with three strikeouts and lowered his team-leading ERA to 0.86. The Greenwood, Ind., product has given up just three earned runs in 31 1/3 innings pitched this season.
Bull (2-1) earned the victory for Minnesota. Bull held the Hoosiers scoreless on three hits with three strikeouts and no walks in 3 1/3 innings of relief.
At the plate, Graves and Watson went 2-for-4, while Donley went 1-for-2 with a run scored.
The two teams conclude the series on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is slated for noon at Sembower Field.
In the opener, Minnesota defeated Indiana, 11-3 behind strong pitching and a 14-hit attack. Gopher starter Craig Molldrem (2-1) did not allow an earned run in 5 2/3 innings pitched. The senior gave up seven hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.
The Hoosiers jumped on the board in the bottom of the first for the second straight game. Watson led off the game with a walk and advanced to second on a passed ball. In his third start of the season, Brant singled to center driving in Watson and picking up his first RBI of the year to give IU a 1-0 lead.
Minnesota responded in the top of the second with four runs to take a 4-1 advantage. Tony Leseman drove in one and Sam Steidl scored a pair with consecutive two-out singles highlighting the Gopher rally.
In the bottom half of the second, Indiana put together a mild threat after Wargo and Watson laced singles to put runners on first and second with two outs. However, Molldrem forced Brant to ground out to short to retire the side.
Mahar and Donley recorded back-to-back two-out singles in the bottom of the third to put runners on the corners, but Molldrem escaped the jam after Parker lined out to left field.
The Gophers added two runs in the fourth and were looking for more in the fifth. With the bases loaded and two outs, Hoosier starter Nick Vitielliss avoided further damage, getting Steidl to ground out to first baseman Joe Kemp to end the inning.
Minnesota plated three more runs in the sixth and two runs in the seventh. After the Golden Gophers loaded the bases with three consecutive singles in the sixth, Hrncirik drove home two runs with a single to right field.
Hunter scored the final run of the inning following a wild pitch to make it 9-1, and a Hoosier error accounted for the final two Gopher runs of the game.
In the bottom half of the seventh, Mahar crushed his Big Ten-leading 11th home run of the season, a two-run shot to left field, closing out the scoring in game one.
Mahar finished the opener 2-for-3 with two RBI and one run scored. In addition to picking up his first RBI this season, Brant stole his seventh base of the season and is now a perfect 7-for-7 in the stolen base department.
On the mound, Vitielliss dropped his second game of the season (3-2), giving up five earned runs in six innings pitched. The senior only walked one batter and struck out eight. Kyle Exline added two strikeouts and did not allow and an earned run in one inning of relief.
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