Hoosiers Blank Wildcats, 7-0
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Junior pitcher Chris Behrens tossed a five-hit shutout and the Hoosiers played stellar defense and pounded out 12 hits en route to a 7-0 victory over Northwestern in baseball action at Sembower Field on Friday. With the win, Indiana secured one of the six spots in the Big Ten Conference Tournament next week and improved to 32-19 overall and 15-14 in Big Ten play. Northwestern, currently in fourth place in the League race, fell to 24-22 and 14-13.
"We really played well today," Indiana head coach Bob Morgan said. "Chris Behrens set the pace with great pitching. We played Indiana baseball today. We swung the bats, played good defense, had no errors and earned seven runs on 13 hits. If you have good pitching, good defense and swing the bat, you're going to win the game. We really have to give Behrens credit. He pitched really well and set the tempo of the game."
Behrens was impressive on the mound from start to finish in his third complete game. He struck out a career-best seven batters and walked only three in his second shutout of the season. The lefthander also shutout Minnesota in a 2-0 win on April 26.
The Hoosiers took a 4-0 lead in the third inning and never looked back. Leadoff hitter Kenny Marrs got things started with a bunt single. Junior shortstop Seth Bynum followed with a base on balls and then second baseman Corby Heckman reached on a fielder's choice with Marrs out at third. Third baseman and Big Ten Player of the Year candidate Vasili Spanos put Indiana on the scoreboard with a triple, his second of the season, down the right field line. Redshirt freshman Ryan Parker, the designated hitter, plated Spanos with a towering home run out of the park in left to make it 4-0.
Indiana pushed two more runs across in the fifth frame. Heckman led off with a single up the middle. With two outs, junior leftfielder Ryan Donley scored Heckman with a double to left-center. Donley moved to third on a wild pitch and came home as junior first baseman Kevin Mahar ripped a single up the middle.
IU tacked on its final run in the sixth. With one out, Marrs collected his second hit of the game with a single to left. Marrs stole his 10th base of the season in his 10th attempt and then scored on Bymum's base hit up the middle.
The Hoosiers played error-free defense and made several outstanding plays in the field. Donley made a diving catch in left field in the seventh inning and Spanos made a nice play from third for out number three in the second. Bynum collected six assists at shortstop and IU turned three double plays.
For Northwestern, shortstop John Mikrut had three of the team's five hits. J.A. Happ took the loss on the mound, slipping to 7-5 on the season. Happ scattered nine hits and walked two while striking out seven in five innings of work.
The Hoosiers and Wildcats will meet for a doubleheader on Saturday at Sembower Field First pitch is set for 1 p.m.
Check back soon