Hoosiers Drop a Pair to Gophers
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana baseball team dropped both games of a doubleheader to the Big Ten's first-place team, the Minnesota Golden Gophers, on Saturday afternoon at Sembower Field. Minnesota took game one, 5-1, and followed up with a 5-3 victory in the nightcap. The Hoosiers are now 26-14 overall and 9-9 in league games while the 27th-ranked Gophers improved to 26-12 and 14-2.
"We just didn't play like we needed to to win against a solid team like this," Indiana head coach Bob Morgan said. "We need to move the ball. We didn't make the right adjustments against their pitching and really hurt ourselves."
The Gophers displayed a workman-like effort to capture game one, scoring two runs in the top of the first and a single run in the fourth, fifth and sixth. In the opening frame, centerfielder Sam Steidl led off with a double. Rightfielder Ben Pattee followed with a single to score Steidl. After second baseman Luke Appert drew a walk from IU pitcher Jacob Cary, he and Pattee moved up on a wild pitch. Shortstop Scott Welch's sacrifice fly plated Pattee to put Minnesota up, 2-0.
"In the first game we got off to a bad start," Morgan said. "They got out to a 2-0 lead, they are just a good team and they were able to extend that lead. We made a couple of errors and the story of game one was that Minnesota just beat us."
The Hoosiers held the Gophers in the second and third, but gave up a run in the fourth. Jake Elder, after singling to left-center, stole second, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and then scored as first baseman David Roach knocked a base hit to center field.
After scoring to go ahead 4-0 in the fifth Minnesota used three hits to take a 5-0 lead.
The Hoosiers finally put a run on the board in the sixth to avoid the shutout. With two outs, IU tallied three consecutive singles by third baseman Vasili Spanos, first baseman Kevin Mahar and designated hitter Ryan Parker to make it, 5-1.
Cary suffered his second straight loss on the mound, after opening the season at 7-0. The senior righthander gave up 11 hits and three earned runs, walked two and struck out three. Freshman lefty Glen Perkins held the Hoosier offense at bay for most of the game as he fanned nine batters. Perkins scattered six hits and walked two as he improved to 5-1 for Minnesota.
Despite out-hitting Minnesota in game two, 10-8, Indiana was unable to muster a win as it stranded seven runners on base.
The Gophers pushed a pair of runs across in the. Leftfielder Tony Leseman scored on Ben Pattee's single through the right side. Stiedl, who had reached on a fielder's choice, also came home as Appert grounded out to first.
In the fourth, IU knotted the game at two runs apiece. Senior leftfelder Mark Calkins started the inning with a single to left field, his second of the game. Then, Spanos extended his hitting streak to 15 consecutive games with a base hit through the left side . After a fielder's choice put Mahar on first and Calkins out at third, senior designated hitter Nick Evans drove in a run with a single to deep left center. Mahar crossed home plate on shortstop Seth Bynum's sacrifice bunt to make it 2-2.
Minnesota regained the lead with its final three runs in the sixth frame. Appert doubled to right-center, advanced to second on a balk and then scored as Welch drove a hit up the middle. With no outs, freshman Chris Hynes replaced rookie starter Josh Lewis on the mound. In the next at bat, designated hitter Andy Hunter homered to right field and that would prove to be the difference.
IU looked like it would rally in the bottom of the sixth with the heart of the lineup coming to the plate. Spanos led off with a base hit to right and Mahar singled up the middle. Evans laced a two-bagger down the left field line and Spanos scored to pull the Hoosiers within, 5-3, with no outs. Minnesota made a pitching change, bringing in Jeff Moen for starter C.J. Woodrow. Moen retired the next three IU hitters to end the inning and the threat.
"The story in the second game is that we get the score to 5-3 with the tying run on second base and we don't score," Morgan explained. "We need to move the ball in those situations."
Lewis (2-1) took the loss for Indiana, the first of his career. He allowed four runs on six hits, but issued no walks and struck out three. Hynes pitched the final two inning, allowing two hits and an earned run. Woodrow went to 5-3 with the victory and Moen picked up his fifth save of the season. Woodrow was responsible for nine IU hits and three runs while walking one and striking out four in five innings of work.
The Hoosiers and Gophers are scheduled to complete their four-game series on Sunday with a pair of games. The doubleheader is set for an 11 a.m. start at Sembower Field.
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