Indiana Edged by OSU in Finale
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Despite a four-run rally in the eighth inning, the Indiana baseball team fell short against Ohio State, 10-8, on Sunday afternoon at Bill Davis Stadium. The Hoosiers drop to 22-22 overall (5-15 Big Ten), while the Buckeyes move to 23-15 on the season (7-10 Big Ten).
IU pounded out 16 hits but left 14 runners on base. Junior center fielder Reggie Watson (1 run) and junior left fielder Zach Boswell (3 RBI) each collected three hits, while junior first baseman Ryan Parker (2 runs), senior third baseman Corby Heckman (1 RBI, 1 run) and sophomore designated hitter Michael Nilles (2 RBI) corralled two hits apiece.
With two outs in the first, the Cream and Crimson loaded the bases as Buckeye starter Trent Luyster battled a bout with wildness. Senior right fielder Joe Kemp and Parker were hit by pitches, and Heckman walked. After working the count in his favor at 2-0, Boswell laced a fastball into right field to bring in Kemp and Parker for an early 2-0 IU lead.
Hoosier starter Brad Davidson retired the first six Buckeyes he faced before shortstop Jedidiah Stephen led off the third with a triple just out of the reach of Watson in right-center field. First baseman Paul Farinacci followed with a sacrifice fly to cut the Indiana lead in half.
The Hoosiers responded in the fourth as senior catcher Kurt Weigle doubled into the left-center gap with one down. One batter later, Watson collected a base knock to right field to put runners on the corners for junior second baseman Jay Brant, who drilled a two-bagger off the wall in left-center field to plate both Weigle and Watson for a 4-1 advantage.
However, the lead was short-lived when Ohio State pushed three tallies across on a walk, wild pitch and sacrifice fly in the bottom of the frame and went ahead 5-4 on a passed ball in the home half of the fifth.
A two-bagger by Watson, a walk to Brant and an infield single from Parker loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth, but reliever Jeffrey Carroll (2-0) forced Heckman to ground into a force out to escape the jam.
OSU added a solo tally in the home half of the stanza to stretch its lead to 6-4 before Boswell opened the sixth with his third hit of the afternoon, a two-base hit, and Nilles was hit by a pitch. Hurler Trey Fausnaugh entered the contest and kept the baserunners right there, setting down the next three batters in order to preserve the two-run advantage.
Left fielder Steve Caravati gave the Buckeyes some cushion, hitting a towering home run to left field leading off the seventh. Ohio State plated three more in the frame to build a six-run advantage.
The Cream and Crimson surged with a four-spot in the eighth behind an RBI base hit from Heckman, an RBI ground out by Boswell and a two-RBI single down the right-field line by Nilles to close the gap to 10-8. Sophomore shortstop Josh Richardson doubled inside the third-base bag to place runners at second and third, but right-hander Rory Meister shut down the rally by punching out Watson.
Meister pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to secure his second save of the series and the season, clinching the 10-8 Buckeye victory.
IU returns to action next weekend with a home Big Ten series against the Michigan State Spartans at Sembower Field. The teams will open the series with a 3 p.m. start on Saturday, May 7, before playing a doubleheader at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 8. The series concludes with a 1 p.m. finale on Monday, May 9.
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