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Friday, May 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

Knipp’s triple lifts Hoosiers past OSU in 9th

Down to a final out with the bases loaded and trailing by three runs, the IU baseball team stood on the cusp of losing its first Big Ten series at home Sunday.

IU center fielder T.C. Knipp stepped to the plate.

The senior cleared the bases with a three-RBI triple, and sophomore shortstop Michael Basil followed with a walk-off single to cement a 10-9 win against Ohio State. The victory gave the Hoosiers (20-11, 4-2) a 2-1 advantage in their first home conference series.

IU had trailed 8-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth before its offense heated up.

“Those are rare,” IU coach Tracy Smith said of the win. “You’re not going to sit and plan on those things, but you know what, I thought we swung the bat well, and you could just kind of feel that momentum changing. We kind of took control of the second half of the game. I just thought it was huge of senior T.C. Knipp to step up and do that. I’m thrilled to death for him.”

The Carmel, Ind., native faced a do-or-die situation with one out to go after three of IU’s heavy hitters — senior Jerrud Sabourin, junior Alex Dickerson and senior Wes Wilson — had gotten on base.

Knipp didn’t flinch; he took the first pitch from Ohio State pitcher Dean Wolosiansky and blasted it to the center-field fence to tie the ball game, driving in all three base runners and setting up Basil’s game-winning hit.

“I was just really trying to keep everything rolling,” Knipp said. “I don’t remember who started it off, but (Wolosiansky) was getting after it with fastballs, and I kind of felt like he was trying to let us get ourselves out instead of us just hitting his fastball. That’s what I was trying to do.

“I knew I put a good swing on it. With the wind today, there were a couple of balls that maybe shouldn’t have got out that did, and I knew it had a chance. Whether it got out or not, I was just glad to put a good swing on it.”

Knipp, who had come through in clutch situations for the Hoosiers both offensively and defensively earlier in the season, finished 2-for-5 from the plate with a run and three RBI.

Basil, who went 3-for-5 at the plate, said he was glad Knipp gave him the opportunity to finish it off.  

“I was really excited because I knew that I would have a chance to be able to win the game,” Basil said. “Him hitting that ball and tying it up, I knew the pitcher was probably going to try to get ahead of me in the count and put a fastball right over the middle on the first pitch.

“I knew he was going to come right after me, so I just took advantage of it.”   

The explosive four-run ninth inning was the climax of a late surge by IU’s batters that came after the team struggled both at the plate and on the mound.

In the top of the fourth, IU went through three pitchers while surrendering four runs. Freshman Joey DeNato rounded out those pitchers and remained in the game to pick up his third win.

Down 8-2 midway through the sixth inning, junior outfielder Josh Lyon powered a hit that rode the heavy afternoon breeze for a two-run home run, cutting the lead to four before Ohio State’s Brad Hutton answered with a bomb of his own in the seventh.

The Hoosiers appeared to be staging a comeback in the bottom of that inning, notching two runs on a single by Dickerson and further narrowing the Buckeyes’ lead to three runs. However, Micah Johnson was called for interference in making contact with Ohio State’s shortstop, resulting in a double play to end the frame with Dickerson on third.

In the end, it all set up Knipp’s moment in the ninth, which sealed an offensive ending to what had been a defensive weekend at Sembower Field. The Buckeyes won 6-1 Friday with three sac flies, and the Hoosiers claimed a 5-3 win on just eight hits Saturday.

“We’ve had a lot of comeback wins this year, especially in the ninth inning, and that’s just a testimony to how we grind and just keep going regardless of what’s up against us,” Knipp said.

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