NCAA baseball regional: Hoosiers let one slip away, on brink of elimination – Indianapolis Star
LEXINGTON, Ky. — The good news for the Indiana Hoosiers about a short night of sleep and a noon losers’ bracket tilt today with the Ohio Bobcats in the NCAA baseball regional here is that it may help IU forget a painful, 7-6, first-round, 12-inning loss to the North Carolina State Wolfpack Friday night that started at 7 and stretched to nearly midnight.
Second-seeded Indiana takes a 33-23-2 record into the matchup with 31-27 Ohio, the No. 4 seed, in an elimination game.
Ohio’s Bobcats dropped a 6-4 game to host Kentucky earlier Friday.
Indiana must win today to stay alive and play tonight’s Kentucky-N.C.State loser at 1 p.m. Sunday in the double-elimination tournament.
Sophomore right hander Jonathan Stiever will start on the mound for Indiana vs. Ohio.
HOOSIERS COULDN’T SEAL THE DEAL
The Hoosiers had leads of 3-1, 4-2 and 5-4 in Friday’s back-and-forth affair with N.C. State’s Wolfpack, but couldn’t hold on.
“Great college baseball game,” Indiana coach Chris Lemonis said. “It stinks to be on the bottom side of it, I can tell you that. Tip your hat to N.C. State. I thought they played a great game…really hung in there. It went back and forth a little bit and stalemated late in the game. I’m disappointed, but we have to be ready to get up and go tomorrow.”
N.C. State tied the game 5-5 on a home run by junior shortstop Joe Dunand in the top of the eight inning, and made two, 12th-inning runs hold up.
Junior right fielder Garrett Suggs came off the bench and opened the Wolfpack 12th with a single to center, and junior first basemanStephen Pitarra reached via an error on Indiana freshman shortstopJeremy Houston. Suggs went to third on the play, and scored on a wild pitch by IU closer Matt Lloyd for a 6-5 N.C. State lead.
“I saw our shortstop make an aggressive play,” Lemonis said of Houston’s miscue. “He went for it, and kind of got caught in between the hop.”
The Wolfpack added an insurance run when freshman DH Brad Debo singled in Pitarra.
Indiana kept in interesting in the bottom of the 12th when sophomore third baseman Luke Miller drew a one-out walk off reliever Tommy DeJuneas — N.C. State’s sixth pitcher of the game. Senior center fielder Craig Dedelow drilled a triple down the left field line off N.C. State relief pitcher Sean Adler to score Miller.
But Adler struck out junior right fielder Logan Sowers to end the threat. Miller and Sowers had two hits and two RBI each to lead the IU offense.
Senior second baseman Tony Butler was the only other Hoosier with a multi-hit game, with two of Indiana’s 10 hits.
North Carolina State cranked out 13 hits off a quartet of IU pitchers. Debo, Dunand, sophomore left fielder Brad Kinneman, and freshman second baseman Will Wilson had two hits apiece for the Wolfpack.
Lemonis started sophomore right hander Pauly Milto on the mound, and Milto went six innings, giving up seven hits and four runs. B.J. Sabol (two innings); Lloyd (3.2 innings) and Cameron Beauchamp (0.1 innings) also saw action on the mound for Indiana.
DeJunaes got the win (4-0), and Lloyd (3-2) took the loss.
IU ANSWERED EARLY
The Wolfpack had taken a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Debo tripled home Pitarra, who’d led off with a single off Milto.
Milto then struck out Dunand and Kinneman to escape further trouble. But Indiana roared back to take the lead in the bottom of the inning off N.C. State ace Johnny Piedmonte, who was off his game from the get-go.
Piedmonte, a senior right hander, came into the night with a team-leading 1.87 earned run average. But Indiana’s Butler, Lloyd and Miller all greeted Piedmonte with hard-hit doubles off the outfield wall, with Butler and Lloyd scoring, to give IU a 2-1 lead.
Dedelow then hit a long sacrifice fly to center to move Miller to third, knocking Piedmonte out of the game.
Junior left hander Cody Beckman came on in relief for N.C. State, and Miller came in to score on a force play at second off the bat of Indiana left fielder Alex Krupa.
Krupa was then picked off first base and tagged out at second to end the inning. The Wolfpack crept back within a run in the top of the second inning on lead-off doubles by Wilson and third baseman Evan Mendoza.
IU pushed the margin back to two runs, 4-2, when Sowers doubled in Miller, who’d earned a one-out walk in the third inning.
But the Wolfpack tied it at 4 in the fourth when Wilson lined a long home run over the left field wall, driving in Kinneman, who led off the inning with a single.
Indiana broke that deadlock in the fifth when Sowers doubled just inside the third base bag to drive in Miller, who hit a one-out single and advanced to second on a wild pitch.
The Wolfpack tied the game, 5-5, in the top of the eighth on a one-out home run from Dunand over the fence in left field.
The Hoosiers were fortunate to be even, however, as Debo reached on an IU error to lead off the inning, but was picked off first on the same play.
IU put two men on with just one out in the bottom of the eighth, but freshman first baseman Matt Gorski lined into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.
The Hoosiers were further frustrated in the bottom of the ninth when sophomore catcher Ryan Fineman hit a drive to left that looked to be the game-winning home run, but tailed just foul at the last second.
The game was stopped briefly in the second when a photographer was injured after being struck in the head by a foul ball, AP reported. He was taken to a hospital for observation and was later released.