Indiana Daily Student

IU loses 2 of 3 in dramatic Purdue series

IU catcher Dylan Swift tags out Purdue designated hitter Drew Madia during IU's 10-7 loss to the Boilermakers Sunday at Sembower Field.
IU catcher Dylan Swift tags out Purdue designated hitter Drew Madia during IU's 10-7 loss to the Boilermakers Sunday at Sembower Field.

A variety of weather conditions — including a near rainout in the series finale – couldn’t slow the offense from either side of the baseball diamond this weekend at Sembower Field.

But after taking a wild 12-11 win in Saturday’s contest to even the series, the Hoosiers (21-21, 7-8) dropped the rubber match 10-7 to rival Purdue (22-20, 8-7) despite pushing it to extra innings Sunday.

“Our backs are to the wall, in my opinion,” said IU baseball coach Tracy Smith about his team’s standing in the Big Ten conference race after dropping the Purdue series, 2-1.

The Hoosiers now sit tied for fifth in the standings in the Big Ten, and the top six teams earn a trip to the Big Ten Tournament at the end of May.

“We have to start winning some series,” Smith said. “In a tiebreaker situation, we’re not looking good right now.”

IU didn’t disappoint those in attendance on a balmy, windy Friday and made it interesting after seven innings when they closed within two runs at 12-10. The comeback bid fell short, however, and the Boilers posted the win.

The straights were looking dire again for the Hoosiers in the Saturday contest under cloudy skies after six innings when they trailed 11-7 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. But four runs on two huge hits from freshman first baseman Micah Johnson and sophomore infielder Ethan Wilson tied the game in front of Sembower Field’s largest-ever crowd.

The 1,213 in attendance then watched as IU, facing a reality of having no more position players remaining in the bottom 11th inning, came through in a big way.

Senior Chris Squires, after pitching the final two innings, earned himself the walk-off win, 12-11, thanks to his first-ever hit as a Hoosier to score the winning ru.

“All of these games have gone right done to the end, so it shows a lot about our team,” said junior third baseman Jerrud Sabourin, who went 3-5 Sunday with 3 RBI. “I don’t think any other team in the Big Ten would be able to do that.”

Down 7-5 in the bottom of the ninth of the Sunday finale, the Hoosiers would create some more drama. After a Johnson single moved junior pinch hitter T.C. Knipp to second, Sabourin doubled to left center, easily scoring Knipp and Johnson and sending the game into extra innings.

Pitching, though, would cost the Hoosiers in the top of the 10th. Freshman Walker Stadler first gave up a single and a walk before freshman Mike McKinley came on with one out.

McKinley’s first batter fouled out for the second out, but McKinley balked on a 2-2 pitch to Purdue’s Eric Charles, moving a runner to third. McKinley then walked Charles with the fourth ball getting away from junior catcher Wes Wilson, allowing the runner to score on the wild pitch.

“It’s our walking guys, the free bases,” Smith said. “You can’t do those things in a tight game like that. You’ve got to make team earn it.”

Purdue then tacked on two more runs, a deficit the Hoosiers could not overcome as they lost 10-7.

“I really appreciated how the guys battled through all nine and the extra innings,” said Smith. “This game is built around pitching, and we’ve given up double-digit runs in the past few games. We can’t continue to do that.”

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