OXFORD, Ohio -On a windy and brisk Wednesday afternoon at McKie Field, the Indiana baseball team downed Miami (Ohio), 5-2. With the win, the Hoosiers improved to 18-12, while the RedHawks fell to 20-12 and saw their six-game winning streak snapped.
Making his sixth appearance on the bump this season, senior Joe Kemp fired a scoreless ninth to earn his first career save, and sophomore Matt Saba notched his third victory in four decisions, tossing 1 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball.
Jay Brant continued his torrid pace, going 3-for-4 with two runs and two doubles. The junior second baseman has recorded a hit in 23 of his last 24 games.
Along with Brant, junior designated hitter Zach Boswell went 2-for-3 with one RBI, and junior first baseman Ryan Parker added a pair of RBI.
Neither team could cross the plate in the first three innings as Boswell collected the only Hoosier hit, and left fielder Ryne Robinson garnered the lone RedHawk base knock.
Hoosier starter Brad Davidson toed the rubber the opening two frames, facing seven batters and striking out one. Junior southpaw Adam Poole relieved Davidson and pitched around Robinson's single to keep it scoreless heading into the fourth, where the Cream and Crimson entered the scoring column off Miami hurler Matt Long (0-1).
Junior center field Reggie Watson walked to get things started, and Brant moved him to second with a base hit through the left side. After a single by Kemp loaded the bases, junior first baseman Ryan Parker ripped a two-RBI single into left for the first runs of the ballgame.
Boswell moved the runners up 90 feet with a sacrifice bunt for second baseman Corby Heckman, who perfectly executed a suicide squeeze to plate Kemp with Indiana's third run.
Miami cut the IU lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth as right fielder Tyler Tabler drove a sacrifice fly to bring home catcher John Slone. The RedHawks loaded the bases with no one out, but Poole retired the next three batters in order to minimize the damage.
A pair of walks (sophomore shortstop Josh Richardson and Watson) and a hit batsman (Brant) filled the bags
with one out in fifth, and Kemp appeared to dump a ball in fair territory down the left field line. However, home plate umpire Jerry Aller ruled it a foul ball, negating at least two runs from crossing the plate. Kemp ended up striking out, and Parker grounded out to second baseman Geoff Orr to strand the runners and keep the score at 3-1.
For the second consecutive inning, the RedHawks dented the scoreboard in the fifth with another solo tally. Slone singled in Robinson to make it a one-run ballgame. Saba relieved Poole with runners on second and third and one out, and the right-hander forced third baseman Brian Canada to fly out to Watson. Center fielder Brandon Hillier attempted to score from third on the play, but Watson threw a perfect one-hopper to senior catcher Kurt Weigle, who put the tag down to retire Hillier. The assist was Watson's third this season, the most amongst Hoosier outfielders.
The Cream and Crimson tacked on a couple more in the seventh to regain their three-run advantage, stealing one run to go along with an RBI single from Boswell. Prior to Boswell's second hit of the afternoon, Brant doubled off the left field fence. After a pop out, left-hander Matt Erwood intentionally walked Parker to put runners on first and second. The duo tried a double steal, and Slone threw to second, but nobody covered the base and the ball sailed into center field, allowing Brant to score and setting the stage for Boswell.
Miami chased Saba in the home half of the inning, loading the bases with no outs following three consecutive IU errors. Sophomore Joe Trucchio entered the contest and escaped the jam without letting in a run. The Melbourne, Australia, product got Sloan on a fly out to Watson and rolled a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play to Canada, holding the Indiana lead at 5-2.
Trucchio went on to set down the side in order in the eighth. In his two innings of work, Trucchio held the RedHawks hitless and scoreless and bridged the gap to Kemp in the ninth. He has not surrendered an earned run in his last 8 2/3 innings of work and has not given up a hit in his last seven frames.
Indiana returns to Big Ten action over the weekend with a four-game series in Iowa City against Iowa. The Cream and Crimson will battle the Hawkeyes starting on Friday, April 15, at 6 p.m. at Duane Banks Field. IU will then face Iowa in a doubleheader on Saturday, starting at 2 p.m. The series finale will be Sunday at 1 p.m.