IU senior outfielder Craig Dedelow stepped into the batter’s box in the bottom of the seventh inning with IU trailing 3-2.
Maryland had just intentionally walked sophomore third baseman Luke Miller to load the bases for the senior slugger.
Rain poured down on Dedelow, the three Hoosiers on base and Maryland junior pitcher Jamal Wade — who had not surrendered a home run this season. Water dripped from the brim of Dedelow’s helmet as he watched a 1-1 fastball approach the plate.
The senior drove the ball to opposite field, and Maryland left fielder Madison Nickens gave chase toward the scoreboard in left-center. The ball cleared Nickens and the wall, and the Hoosier dugout exploded onto the field.
IU had taken the lead, 6-3, in the rubber match against No. 22 Maryland on Sunday. The lead did not slip, and the Hoosiers took game three and the series against the Big Ten-leading Terrapins.
“I knew he was going to throw a pitch away, and the fastball he was throwing today had some sink on it,” Dedelow said. “I knew I was going to have to go opposite field and put a good swing on it. Luckily I did.”
Immediately after Dedelow’s grand slam, words were exchanged between senior first baseman Austin Cangelosi, sophomore designated hitter Matt Lloyd and Maryland’s bench, and both teams’ benches cleared onto the field.
IU Coach Chris Lemonis said after the game that, during the altercation, he was urging his players to get back to the dugout in an effort to avoid ejections.
“I know it was a big swing and a big series, but I really wanted them out there for the eighth and ninth,” Lemonis said.
The incident ended quickly, but while the players vacated the field, lightning struck and the game was delayed for more than 50 minutes with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Coming into the game, Maryland’s travel curfew was set at 2:35 p.m. A new inning could not be played after that time. The eighth inning resumed at 2:20 p.m.
Lloyd pitched the top of the eighth for IU and retired the side quickly after allowing a walk. In the bottom half, the game was officially ended without IU finishing its half of the inning at the plate. If the Hoosiers continued to bat, the ninth inning would not have started before the curfew.
“Once the game starts, the weather and everything is up to the umpires,” Lemonis said. “We just waited our time and came out ready to play. Matt Lloyd came out and threw strikes.”
Before the seventh-inning grand slam, the Hoosiers had played the entire game while either trailing or tied with the Terrapins because IU’s sophomore starting pitcher Pauly Milto struggled in his four innings by allowing seven hits and three earned runs.
Sophomore Tim Herrin came in for relief and allowed two hits in two innings, and junior BJ Sabol got the win after he pitched a perfect seventh inning.
The only IU offense provided outside of Dedelow’s two home runs was freshman shortstop Jeremy Houston’s first career homer to push the score to 3-2 in the fifth inning. The one swing of Dedelow’s bat decided the game in the seventh.
“Deeds has been struggling the last couple of weekends,” Lemonis said. “I thought he had a pretty good weekend. He had some big swings.”
NOTE: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Craig Dedelow led the Big Ten in home runs. The IDS regrets this error.
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IU will look to build momentum as it heads to the final stretch of the season.
The No. 6 Hoosiers will face No. 4 Texas and No. 19 Florida in a two day meet in Austin, the site of this year’s National Championships.
IU has defeated both Texas and Florida for three straight seasons.