Hoosiers Top Minnesota, 9-6
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Indiana baseball team rallied from a five-run deficit to beat Minnesota, 9-6, on Easter Sunday afternoon at Sembower Field. The victory saved Indiana from a series sweep and improved its record to 19-12 overall and 3-5 in Big Ten Conference games. The Gophers slipped to 15-12 and 5-3.
After a rough go of it on Friday and Saturday, the Hoosiers scored more runs on Sunday than they had in the three losses in the series combined. Indiana totaled 15 hits in the ballgame, including three each from Reggie Watson, Seth Bynum and Kevin Mahar, and got solid pitching performances from starter Adam Pegg and reliever Steve Nielsen en route to the win.
Neither team scored through the first three innings, but Minnesota broke the stalemate in the top of the fourth with five runs on five hits and two IU errors. First baseman Mike Mee led off with a single into center field, but Hoosier Pegg promptly recorded back-to-back strikeouts and it looked as if Indiana would thwart the Gopher threat. Third baseman David Hrncirik registered an infield single to put runners on first and second. Tony Leseman doubled to score both runners, despite a close play at the plate on Hrncirik, and give Minnesota a 2-0 advantage on the scoreboard. Again, Indiana looked as if it would end the inning, but a pair of errors plagued the Hoosiers. Jay Brant mishandled the ball at second base and rushed a throw to first, giving Sean Kommerstad two bases and allowing Leseman to score. Kommerstad scored on Sam Steidl's double. Luke MacLean plated Steidl with a base hit to right for the Gophers' fifth run.
Indiana responded by getting on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth. Watson, IU's leadoff hitter and centerfielder, started the inning by collecting the Hoosiers' first hit of the game, a single to right field. Brant made amends for his errors in the top of the inning by lacing a double into left field. Shortstop Seth Bynum drove a base hit up the middle to score both runners for IU's first runs of the contest. With one out, Mahar continued the rally with an RBI-single up the middle, plating Bynum to cut the deficit to two.
Designated hitter Ryan Parker drew a walk to lead off the fifth frame, and then went to third base as catcher Cody Wargo ripped a double to right-center field. David Hughes knocked in Parker with a sacrifice fly to center. Watson tied the contest with a single straight up the middle, pushing Wargo home for run number five. After Watson's 15th steal of the season, Brant reached base on balls. Bynum came through the clutch once again, delivering a base-clearing triple to right-center for his third and fourth RBI of the game.
Kemp continued the IU rally with a single to left, scoring Bynum, and Mahar followed up by lifting a single into center field. Rightfielder Ryan Donley added the Hoosiers' third straight single and Kemp scored Indiana's ninth run.
Minnesota scored its final run in the top of the ninth. Designated hitter Andy Hunter doubled to right and then scored on Leseman's single to right. Reliever Steve Nielsen struck out John Arlt swinging to end the game and seal IU's 9-6 victory.
Pegg (3-2) was a workhorse for the Hoosiers, throwing 112 pitches over six innings en route to his third win of the season. The righthander from Yorktown, Ind., scattered 10 Gopher hits and struck out five without giving up a walk. Only two of the five runs Pegg was responsible for were earned. Steve Nielsen relieved Pegg to start the sixth and posted the first save of his Hoosier career. The junior allowed just four hits and one earned run over the final three innings. He walked one and struck out a pair.
Minnesota used four pitchers in an effort to stop the Hoosiers. Starter Matt Loberg pitched the initial 4.1 innings, and Indiana touched him for five hits and five runs, all of them earned. Loberg fanned three and walked one. Andy Peters relieved Loberg in the fourth and faced two batters. Peters surrendered two runs, on which IU snatched the lead, and was replaced before recording an out. He suffered his third loss of the season (0-3) after allowing a hit and a walk.
Bynum drove in four runs today. Wargo finsished with two hits, including a double.
The Hoosiers are back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Dayton, Ohio, to take on Wright State. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.
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