For the third time in the last four years, IU baseball’s season ended in an NCAA Regional.
Facing its second elimination game in as many days Sunday, IU fell to Kentucky 14-9 in Lexington, Kentucky, eliminating the Hoosiers from the NCAA Tournament.
IU had fallen behind in the first inning of both of its prior 2017 NCAA tournament games, and Sunday was no different. Starting freshman pitcher Cal Krueger allowed three singles in the top of the first inning, giving Kentucky a 1-0 lead.
IU responded right away in the bottom half of the inning as senior infielder Tony Butler led off with a solo home run to left field. However, that would mark the only time that IU’s offense could promptly respond to its pitching woes.
Kentucky grew its lead to 4-1 over the next three innings. A pair of solo home runs and an RBI single off Krueger did the damage for the Wildcats.
Krueger was removed from the game in the fourth inning in favor of junior lefty B.J. Sabol.
Sabol settled into the game well and kept IU within touching distance until the sixth inning.
It was in that inning the game shifted in favor of the Wildcats for good.
Kentucky scored six runs in the frame off freshman Cam Beauchamp, who replaced Sabol during the frame, and sophomore Tim Herrin, who replaced Beauchamp.
The worst harm was done against Herrin, who surrendered a two-out grand slam to Kentucky sophomore infielder Riley Mahan that put Kentucky up 10-1.
IU staged mini rallies in both the seventh and ninth innings, but ultimately only managed to pull within five runs of Kentucky.
Junior outfielder Logan Sowers continued his sensational NCAA Regional performance with a two-for-five showing that included a solo home run in the seventh. Senior infielder Austin Cangelosi also added a two-run blast of his own in the same inning.
The progress from that inning was undone by a four-run eighth by the Wildcats that featured five singles off IU senior pitcher Luke Stephenson.
The Hoosiers made sure to end their 2017 season on a strong point, though, with a five-run showing in the ninth.
Junior outfielder Chris Lowe and Luke Miller each scored runs on singles before senior outfielder Craig Dedelow closed his IU career with a two-run home run in his final collegiate at-bat.
IU was the second team eliminated from the Lexington Regional after the Hoosiers knocked out Ohio in an elimination game yesterday.
NC State and Kentucky will play Sunday night and Monday, if necessary, to determine which team advances to the Super Regionals.
IU finishes the 2017 season with a 34-24-2 record, a two-win improvement from last season.
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