The early nerves were apparent on Saturday for IU sophomore pitcher Jonathan Stiever. But once the right-hander got going, there was no stopping him.
Stiever recovered from a rocky first inning to throw eight consecutive shutout innings in a complete game performance as IU staved-off elimination with an 11-2 win against Ohio.
Junior outfielder Logan Sowers hit three home runs in the victory, including a three-run shot in the eighth inning to put the game beyond doubt.
What was a comfortable victory for the Hoosiers didn’t start out as one. Stiever struggled with his control in the first inning, walking three Ohio batters and allowing two runs on a walk and a sacrifice fly.
The inning came to an end on a double play induced by Stiever, and from that point onwards he was lights out.
The Wisconsin-native would not walk another batter in the game and struck out four Bobcats in the win. It was the first complete game in 18 career starts for Stiever.
On offense, IU closed the game on an 11-0 scoring run. The Hoosiers scored in every inning of the game except the first, third and ninth.
Sowers began the scoring with an opposite field solo homer in the second, before IU took the lead for good in the fourth. Another solo home run from senior outfielder Craig Dedelow tied the game, and freshman catcher Jake Matheny scored what would be the winning runs on a two-run single.
An RBI double by freshman infielder Matt Gorski, an error by Ohio senior third baseman Connor Callery and the second homer of the game by Sowers made it 7-2 to IU entering the eighth inning.
Sophomore infielder Luke Miller tallied an RBI single in the eighth before Sowers hit his third and final blast of the day.
So far, Sowers has been the most impressive IU hitter during the NCAA Tournament. After a 1-15 showing in the Big Ten Tournament, Sowers has gone 6-8 at the plate in Lexington, Kentucky, with three homers and seven RBI.
IU collected 14 hits compared to just seven for Ohio on Saturday, and the run differential between the teams could have been worse had IU performed better than 3-12 at the plate with runners in scoring position.
Ohio is eliminated with the loss while IU survives until at least Sunday.
IU will play another elimination game tomorrow against the loser of tonight’s game between Kentucky and North Carolina State.
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