The count was full and the bases were loaded. Logan Sowers was looking to win the pitch. The score was tied at Bart Kaufman Field in the bottom of the ninth inning, and IU needed someone to deliver.
Sowers singled, scoring the winning run and was mobbed by his teammates between first and second base. The freshman's single gave IU 4-3 walk-off win against Rutgers Friday night.
“It’s huge, any win is huge,” IU Coach Chris Lemonis said. “We had talked during the week about ‘when are we going to walk off? When are we going to have a comeback at the end?’ I’m proud of our guys.”
After the first two batters in the inning reached base after being hit by a pitch, Lemonis knew it was going to come down to Sowers.
“I grabbed him early in the inning and could see us bunting and then (Rutgers) walking (Donley) and told Logan about three hitters out, ‘It’s going to come down to you,’” Lemonis said. “He sat in there and hit a good pitch.”
IU improves to 19-11 overall and 3-6 in the Big Ten with the win, while Rutgers drops to 11-21, 5-5.
Junior Caleb Baragar started on the mound for the Hoosiers and pitched six innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits. He struck out six Scarlet Knights and walked two and dropped his season ERA to 2.37. It was a big turn-around after being pulled in the second inning in his last start against Michigan.
“Baragar was great,” Lemonis said. “I thought he showed a lot of composure. Gave up two in the fourth inning but other than that I thought he was great all night.”
After feeling good in pregame warmups, Baragar was glad the feeling carried over to the game.
“It was kind of a sigh of relief,” Baragar said. “It was nice to roll through that second inning. It was kind of in the back of my mind.”
Senior Luke Harrison picked up the win, his fourth of the year, after pitching the final two innings.
Sowers led the way offensively, going 3-for-5 with the game winning RBI. Sophomore Austin Cangelosi went 2-for-4 with two RBI’s, and senior Casey Rodrigue went 2-for-4 as well.
Game two will be Saturday at 2:05 p.m. and game three will be Sunday at 1:05 p.m.
“It felt good, it was a lot of fun,” Sowers said. “It feels great, it’s a big confidence boost, winning the first game out of a three game series. We’re confident heading into tomorrow.”