Hoosiers Shut Down Buckeyes
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Propelled by a pair of home runs and a solid effort on the mound from junior lefthander Chris Behrens, the Indiana baseball won game four of its series against Ohio State and salvaged a split at Bill Davis Stadium in Columbus. After dropping the first two games of the four-game set, the Hoosiers finished with a pair of wins to run their record to 25-11 overall and 9-7 in Big Ten contests. The Buckeyes dropped to 22-12 and 10-6.
Ohio State's defensive woes carried over from the nightcap of Saturday's doubleheader, as the Buckeyes had two more miscues in the top of the first inning. Leadoff man Kenny Marrs reached on a hit-by-pitch and with one away, second baseman Corby Heckman drew a walk. Hoosier third baseman Vasili Spanos then reached on Buckeye third baseman Terry Pettorini's fielding error. With the bases loaded, Indiana scored two runs as Pettroni picked up Kevin Mahar's grounder, but overthrew his first baseman.
Ohio State got one of those runs back in the bottom half of the inning. Mike Rabin reached base on balls and with two outs Steve Caravati doubled to right field, scoring Rabin. Caravati's attempt to stretch the hit into a triple proved costly as IU threw him out 9-4-5 at the hot corner.
OSU's Paul Farinacci smacked a leadoff double to left-center and scored two outs later on a dropped fly ball by Marrs in shallow right field. Brett Garrard turned the corner at second on the error but Indiana ended the inning by throwing him out at third.
To start the third, leftfielder Ryan Donley took a 2-1 pitch out of the park in left-center. The home run was Donley's third of the season and put the Hoosiers out in front, 3-2.
The Hoosiers put a pair of runs on the scoreboard in the fifth. Heckman led off with a base hit to left field before Spanos went yard to left to make it 5-2, Indiana. The homer was the All-American's eighth of the season and his fifth in Big Ten play.
IU tacked on another run in the sixth. Catcher Cody Wargo hit a double to left-center, advanced to third on Brad DeStefano's ground out and then scored as Marrs laid down a suicide squeeze bunt.
OSU made a run at it in the ninth. With one out, Caravati reached on fielding error by Spanos. Behrens then walked Farinacci to place runners on first and second. After retiring Doug Larason, Pettorini singled up the middle to score Caravati and make it 6-3.
Behrens got Garrard to fly out to centerfield and captured the first complete game of his career.
Behrens scattered five OSU hits and allowed just one earned run while walking four and striking out five in the win. The Southpaw is now 3-2 on the season.
Nate Smith took the loss for the Buckeyes, slipping to 1-5 on the year. Smith worked the initial seven innings, allowing five hits and six runs, four of them earned. He walked three and fanned six IU batters.
Spanos extended his hitting streak to 13 consecutive games today, the longest by any Hoosier hitter this season.
Ohio State won the opening games of the series, 9-3, on Friday night. The Buckeyes also took game two, 13-12, in extra innings, but Indiana rebounded for a 13-2 win in the nightcap on Saturday.
The Hoosiers will play their fifth straight game in the state of Ohio on Wednesday, April 23, when they visit Miami (Ohio) for a 2 p.m. contest. IU will entertain Big Ten Conference leader Minnesota for four games in Bloomington at Sembower Field.
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