Hoosiers Defeat Wildcats, 8-1, in Tourney Action
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The Indiana baseball team's 2003 season will live to see another day after the Hoosiers defeated Northwestern, 8-1, in Big Ten Tournament action on Thursday at Siebert Field in Minneapolis. The victory marked IU's third in the last five games over the Wildcats and improved its season record to 34-21. Northwestern was eliminated from the tournament and finished the season at 25-25.
"Josh Lewis came and was very effective for us, especially in the first three innings. He really had his stuff," IU head coach Bob Morgan said. "We were able to get some key hits and then capitalized on a couple of opportunities. Reggie Watson's two-out hit was key."
Indiana had problems with timely hitting in Wednesday's 7-2 loss to Michigan. But today, IU came through in the clutch at the plate as it scored all eight of its runs with two outs.
In the bottom of the fourth, Indiana mounted its first major scoring threat of the game and was able to cash in five runs to take a commanding lead. Senior third baseman Vasili Spanos led off with a single to left, redshirt freshman Ryan Parker drew a walk and then junior first baseman Kevin Mahar laid down a perfect bunt single to load the bases with no outs. It looked as if Northwestern would thwart IU's threat when the Wildcats threw Spanos out at home on senior leftfielder Mark Calkins' fielder's choice and then NU starting pitcher J.A. Happ struck out junior catcher Cody Wargo. The strikeout sent the Hoosiers' nine-hole hitter, redshirt freshman centerfielder Reggie Watson, to the plate.
Watson rose to the challenge and knocked a single through the left side, plating two runs for his third and fourth RBI of the year. Senior rightfielder Kenny Marrs connected on his second hit of the game to keep the rally going and score Calkins. Junior shortstop Seth Bynum doubled to left to cap the Hoosiers five-run inning.
Northwestern got one of those runs back in the top of the fifth. NU third baseman Anthony Wycklendt banged a double off the wall in right field to lead off the frame. Wycklendt came around to score on Dan Brauer's pinch-hit single up the middle to make it 5-1.
Indiana pushed its sixth run of the game across in the sixth inning. Marrs walked to start the frame and eventually came home on Parker's single to left field, signaling his third RBI of the tournament.
Mahar, who finished the game 3-for-3, belted his third home run of the season in the eighth, a two-run shot to left that scored Spanos.
Freshman hurler Josh Lewis pitched his third complete game of the season and struck out a season-best seven batters. The rookie righthander allowed just five Northwestern hits as he improved to 5-2 on the season.
"I love situations like this, with your back against the wall," Lewis said of the Hoosiers' must-win situation. "When I've had trouble it's with throwing first-pitch strikes, getting ahead in the count. I feel like I did that today. It feels good to get a win and keep playing, for the seniors especially."
Indiana will now play on Friday at 3:35 p.m. with its opponent yet to be determined. Click Here for possible tournament schedules for Friday and bracket scenarios.
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