After extending their win streak to seven games on Friday, IU baseball got set for its first doubleheader of the season. Coming off an impressive 10-4 victory, the Hoosiers were unable to extend the win streak but still found a way to salvage one victory in two thrilling games.
Even on a day in which normally reliable junior starting pitcher Pauly Milto allowed six runs, IU almost found a way to extend its winning streak.
Down 6-3 in the top of the ninth inning, junior utility player Matt Lloyd stepped up to bat with the bases loaded. Lloyd launched the ball into deep left-center field, easily scoring junior catcher Ryan Fineman from third base and freshman catcher Drew Ashley, who was a pinch hitter, from second base.
However, junior outfielder Logan Kaletha, who was hit by a pitch prior to Lloyd's at-bat, was tagged out trying to slide into home plate as the game-tying run.
The close call went the way of the Toreros for their first win of the series.
IU never led in the game after a poor start from Milto. He entered Saturday afternoon's game having not allowed a run in 15 innings this season, but San Diego scored three runs in both the first and fifth innings.
The Toreros began the game with two singles before both runners advanced into scoring position after a balk by Milto. Both runners would score via an RBI groundout and an RBI single.
San Diego freshman infielder Adam Kerner added an RBI double down the left-field foul line to make it 3-0.
The Hoosiers were unable to respond until the top of the fourth inning. A two-out, RBI triple by sophomore infielder Matt Gorski opened the scoring for the visitors.
Milto did not make it out of the fifth, allowing five singles and three runs in the inning while getting only two outs. Sophomore pitcher Andrew Saalfrank entered the game for Milto and would go on to pitch 1.1 innings.
Saalfrank was replaced in the seventh by freshman pitcher Connor Manous, who pitched the final two innings.
On offense, IU managed to chip away at the deficit prior to the dramatic comeback attempt in the ninth.
An RBI single by freshman outfielder Elijah Dunham in the sixth and a solo home run by junior infielder Luke Miller in the eighth brought the Hoosiers to within three runs before the final frame.
Miller's home run was his fifth of the season.
The loss was IU's first defeat since Feb. 16.
It seemed impossible for the second game of the doubleheader to provide as much excitement as the first one.
That would not be the case.
Heading into the ninth inning, IU found itself facing another deficit — this time down 5-4.
After the result of what happened in the first game, IU had already seen they had what it took to pull off the victory, and they were able to do just that.
Senior Laren Eustace lead off the ninth inning by pinch-hitting for Gorski and stated things off for IU with a walk. Following a sacrifice-bunt, Dunham also came in to pinch-hit and singled to left field to put runners on the corners with one out.
Coach Chris Lemonis then sent up freshman Sam Crail as the third pinch-hitter of the inning and Crail came through clutch with a single to tie the game. While attempting to advance to third, Dunham was tagged out for the second out of the inning.
However, Crail was able to advance into scoring position on the play.
That brought Kaletha to the plate with a chance to come up clutch again. As he has most of the season, Kaletha delivered just what the team needed with a single to give IU its first lead of the game.
From there, Lemonis brought in sophomore Cal Krueger who picked up his first save of the season in a 6-5 victory.
The Hoosiers trailed from the first inning up until the hitters came up big in the ninth.
The IU starter, freshman Tommy Sommer, gave up two runs in four innings and senior Brian Hobbie gave up two in the only inning he pitched.
From there the bullpen was able to hold IU within striking distance by giving up no runs, highlighted by senior B.J. Sabol escaping an eighth inning jam where San Diego had runners on first and second with one out.
IU will look to clinch the series win tomorrow in the final game of the four-game series.
This will conclude IU’s stretch of 11 road or neutral field games to start the season before the home-opener on Wednesday against Cincinnati.
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