Hoosiers Split A Pair With Iowa
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Indiana baseball team defeated Iowa, 5-4, in the opening game of a doubleheader, but fell in the nightcap, 12-7, on Saturday at Sembower Field. The Hoosiers are now 20-14 on the season and 4-7 in Big Ten Conference play, while the Hawkeyes' record rests at 10-21 overall and 3-8 in the league.
Game 1: Indiana 5, Iowa 4
IU rebounded from a 7-3 loss in the series opener on Friday to take game two in thrilling fashion. The Hoosiers held a 2-1 lead entering the final inning of play, but Iowa stormed ahead, 4-2, in the top of the seventh. Indiana rallied back and Ryan Parker's single to left scored Corby Heckman for the 5-4 victory.
"The first game was very well-played and well-pitched on both sides," Hoosier coach Bob Morgan said. "It was just a good ballgame. Give Iowa credit. With two outs, they get the hit to tie it and then go ahead, 4-2. And then I have to give our kids credit. We come up in our last at bat and score three to get the win. It could have gone either way, and we found a way to win."
The Hoosiers took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Centerfielder Reggie Watson led off the game with a base hit to left. Watson stole second and went to third on Jay Brant's ground out to the shortstop, before coming home on Joe Kemp's groundout.
Iowa responded in the top of two with a leadoff homer. Catcher Kris Welker launched a solo shot to left to knot the game at one. Vitielliss settled in and struck out two of the next three before getting L.J. Mims to ground out to end the threat.
IU gained the advantage in the third, scratching one run across home plate. With one away, Jay Brant walked and stole second base, his eighth in eight tries this season. Heckman drew a second walk before Joe Kemp flew out and Brant tagged up and went to third. Brant scored on a balk.
Indiana held Iowa scoreless for four straight innings before the Hawkeyes mounted a comeback. Vitielliss plunked pinch hitter Jeff Gremley to start off the inning, and then Gremley went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Andy Cox. Steve Nielsen came on to pitch for the Hoosiers. Nielsen got pinch hitter Jesse Brownwell to ground out, but Gremley moved up to third. With two outs, Jason White clubbed a base hit up the middle, scoring Gremley to tie the game at two. Iowa's Andy Lytle continued the surge with a single up the middle and an errant throw by Watson in center field allowed him to take second base. Both Lytle and White scored in the next at bat on Jim Reid's single to right, giving the Hawkeyes a 4-2 lead, their first of the ballgame.
Indiana retaliated with its back against the wall. Watson came to the plate and sent the first pitch from Hawkeye closer Tim Gudex into left. Brant stepped to the plate and banged Gudex's first offering all the way to the wall in left-center. He came away with a triple and and RBI as Watson pulled IU back within one run. Heckman delivered Indiana's third straight hit, a single through the left side, and Brant crossed home plate to tie things up. Iowa intentionally walked Bynum in an attempt to set up the double play, and that sent designated hitter Ryan Parker to the plate with a chance to clinch the win. Parker came through in the clutch, popping a base hit into shallow right field. Heckman scored the game-winning run and the Hoosiers won, 5-4.
Nielsen was credited with the win, improving to 2-2 on the season, in two-thirds of an inning. The junior righthander allowed three Hawkeye hits and two runs, one of them earned. Vitielliss pitched the initial six and one-third. He limited Iowa to only four hits while giving up one walk and striking out four. He was responsible for two earned runs.
Gudex took the loss for Iowa, evening his record at 2-2.
Game 2: Iowa 12, Indiana 7
Indiana couldn't overcome a rough start on the mound as Iowa registered 13 hits on the way to the win in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader.
"We didn't get any pitching early on in the second game, and that put us behind the eight ball," Morgan said. "We put a couple of young pitchers out there and gave up way too many runs early. Iowa got up on us and we began to make a run, but started hitting line drives right at them. We didn't do a good job on the mound and got too far behind."
Iowa came out firing, scoring its first two hitters of the ballgame. Andy Lytle led off with a single to left-center and came around to score on Jim Reid's triple down the right field line. Kris Welker knocked Reid home with a single down the left field line to make it, 2-0.
The Hoosiers evened the score in the second. Bynum double to right-center and scored on Kevin Mahar's base hit to center field. Mahar came home as Josh Richardson grounded into a double play, making the score 2-2.
The Hawkeyes threw up a five-spot in the top of three as they registered four hits, including a three-run homer by Jesse Brownell.
IU got two of those runs back in the bottom of the inning, closing within 7-4. Reggie Watson smacked a lead-off double to right, but an injury he suffered while sliding into second forced him to leave the game. Rashard Graves pinch ran for Watson and came around to score on Kemp's double down the left field line. Iowa walked home the Hoosiers' second run.
In the fourth, the Hawkeyes totaled four more runs on four hits and two Indiana errors. Though Indiana scored twice in the fifth, the Hawkeyes added an insurance run in the top of the seventh. The Hoosiers scored once in the bottom of the innings for the 12-7 final score.
Freshman Matt Saba suffered his first loss of the year in his first Big Ten Conference start. Saba (5-1) gave up six hits and six earned runs in 2.2 innings of work. He walked one and struck out one. Fellow freshman Doug Fleenor followed Saba on the hill, pitching 0.2 innings. He scattered five hits and gave up five runs, only two of which were earned.
Senior Chris Behrens turned in a solid relief performance, two-hitting Iowa over the final 3.2 innings. The southpaw gave up just one run and one walk while fanning six Hawkeye hitters.
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