Indiana Takes Gophers in Finale
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.
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