Indiana Takes Gophers in Finale

    Go Hoosiers!
    Go Hoosiers!

    Go Hoosiers!
    MINNEAPOLIS - Wrapping up a four-game series, the Indiana baseball team snapped Minnesota's seven-game Big Ten winning streak, upending the Golden Gophers, 8-6, Sunday afternoon at Siebert Field. The Hoosiers improve to 17-12 on the season and 2-6 in Big Ten play, while the first place Gophers fall to 14-13 overall and 7-1 in league action.

    As was the case in game three, the Hoosiers claimed an early advantage with four in the first inning. Junior center fielder Reggie Watson opened the ballgame with a single to center, stole second, and came home on junior left fielder Jay Brant's triple to deep center field. Brant scored on a sacrifice fly to the right center field wall by senior right fielder Joe Kemp to give IU a 2-0 lead.

    The Cream and Crimson went on to load the bases following a double by junior designated hitter Zach Boswell, an error and a hits batsman. Sophomore shortstop Josh Richardson made Gopher starter Josh Krogman pay, lining a two-out base knock to center field to drive in Boswell and junior first baseman Ryan Parker.

    For the second straight contest, Indiana's offensive attack knocked out Minnesota's starter in the first inning. Krogman (0-2) only survived for 2/3 of an inning as the Hoosiers batted around and ripped him for four runs on four hits.

    The Golden Gophers fought back with a single tally in the bottom half of the first before IU got the run back in the second. Once again, the top of the order set the table with Watson belting a leadoff double to right. Brant laced a base hit to put runners on the corners for Kemp, who grounded into a fielder's choice to bring in Watson as the Hoosiers reclaimed their four-run lead at 5-1.

    In the bottom of the inning, Minnesota cut its deficit in half after an RBI single by second baseman Luke MacLean, and right fielder Sean Kommerstad scampered home on a wild pitch. Chris McCombs relieved Hoosier starter Brad Davidson with the bases loaded and one out, and the freshman struck out left fielder Mike Mee and retired catcher Jake Elder on a fly out to keep the Cream and Crimson in front.

    Boswell recorded his third hit in four innings, delivering an RBI single through the left side of the infield, driving in Brant to push the lead to 6-3 heading into the bottom of the fourth.

    Minnesota matched Indiana with an unearned run in the fourth and could have had more if not for Kemp. With runners on second and third, the Bowie, Md., native made a diving catch on a ball slicing away from him down the right field line to rob Mee of extra bases.

    Feeding off Kemp's defensive gem, Richardson continued the hit parade in the fifth, singling home

    sophomore third baseman Michael Nilles with the eventual game-winning run as well as giving the Hoosiers a three-run cushion at 7-4. Nilles opened the frame with a leadoff double into the left field corner to get into scoring position.

    McCombs was rolling along, tossing four innings and allowing only one unearned run before Mee doubled just inside the left field line to plate two runs and close the gap to 7-6 with one out in the sixth. After getting Elder to fly out, senior Steve Nielsen relieved McCombs and retired first baseman Andy Hunter on a line out to Kemp to close out the frame.

    On the afternoon, McCombs went 4 1/3 innings, giving up the aforementioned two earned runs on four hits with a pair of strikeouts en route to his second victory in three decisions this season.

    The Golden Gophers threatened in the bottom half of the seventh, putting runners on first and second with nobody out. However, Nielsen caught a bunt by right fielder Sean Kommerstad and forced shortstop Matt Fornasiere to roll into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play ball to escape the frame without any harm.

    Boswell added an insurance run, driving in Brant with a sacrifice fly in the eighth, to close out the scoring and help the Hoosiers earn their second Big Ten win.

    Nielsen breezed through the final two innings to collect his third save this season. The Joliet, Ill., product completed the final 3 1/3 frames, holding the Gophers scoreless on two hits.

    Brant (3 runs) and Boswell (2 RBI, 1 run) both concluded the contest with three hits, while Richardson (3 RBI), Watson (2 runs) and Nilles (1 run) each added two hits.

    Up next, the Hoosiers return to the diamond for an afternoon affair against Miami (Ohio) in Oxford on Wednesday, April 13. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. at McKie Field at Hayden Park.




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