IU Rallies Past Boilers
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.- The Indiana baseball team used a late inning charge and another solid pitching performance from senior right-hander Nick Vitielliss to defeat the Purdue Boilermaker in the first game of the four game series, 9-3. The Hoosiers picked up three runs in the seventh inning, two in the eighth and four in the ninth to overcome a three-run deficit.
The Boilermakers got on the board first with three runs all unearned in the second inning. John Hunter led off the inning for Purdue and was hit by a pitch. After the Hoosiers retired the second batter, Purdue catcher Ben Fritz reached on an error, giving the Boilers runners on first and third. After another Boilermaker out, Andy Dahl pounded a double just inside the left field line in the corner. Hunter and Fritz both scored on the play for the Boilers. Mitch Koester followed Dahl's lead as he doubled just inside the right field line to give Purdue a 3-0 lead.
The score remained the same until the Hoosiers evened it up in the top of the seventh. Junior Corby Heckman and senior Kevin Mahar started the inning off with a pair of singles. After a strikeout, pinch-hitting junior Ryan Parker was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
The Hoosiers scored on the next play thanks to an error by Purdue shortstop Mitch Koester. Senior catch Cody Wargo grounded sharply to Koester, who turned and threw the ball into right field, attempting to get Parker on the force at second. Heckman scored on the fielder's choice by Wargo, and Mahar followed him home on the error. Parker reach third on the error and then scored on Reggie Watson's safety squeeze to even the game at three.
Indiana wasted little time taking its first lead of the day an inning later. Heckman once again started the rally for the Hoosiers as he drew a walk. Mahar followed with his third single of the game, and the Hoosiers had runners on first and second with one out. Senior Ryan Donley followed with a run scoring single down the right field line. Heckman came around to score the go ahead run, while Mahar advanced to third on the play. The Hoosiers again used the bunt to push across its fifth run of the game.
Freshman Michael Nilles, who had entered the game as a defensive sub in the pervious inning, laid down a perfect bunt to the right side of the mound. Mahar scored on the play, and Nilles reach safely with no Boilermaker covering first. The run batted in was the first of Nilles' Hoosier career.
The Hoosiers added four more insurance runs in the final inning. After junior Jay Brant singled up the middle, senior Seth Bynum hit a 2-0 pitch towering over the left field wall for his 10th home run of the year. Senior Joe Kemp added the third-straight hit of the inning with a base hit to right. Following a pop out, Mahar walked to give the Hoosiers runners on first and second.
Donley added his second RBI single in as many innings with hit-and-run single through the ride side of the infield. Kemp scored on the play, and Mahar went advanced over to third. The Hoosiers used a double steal to score the final run of the game. Donley stole his sixth base of the season, and Mahar scored when Koester's throw home hit him in the back. It was Mahar's third run of the day as he went 3-for-4 at the plate with three singles and three runs scored.
Vitielliss turned in his second-straight complete game in the victory for the Hoosiers. The Waldorf, Md., native was efficient as he threw 102 pitches while striking out three and walking only one. Last weekend, Vitielliss threw a complete game in a 4-1 victory over Michigan.
The Hoosiers will return to the field for a pair tomorrow afternoon against the Boilermakers. First pitch for game one is set for 1:00 p.m. with game two to follow. The Hoosiers need a two more wins in the final three games of the series to pick up the Titan Series point. Purdue currently leads the head-to-head all-sport Titan Series, 10-9 with baseball being the final competition between the two schools for the year.
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