Indiana Daily Student

Drew Ashley's walk-off home run halts IU losing streak

<p>Freshman catcher Drew Ashley swings at a pitch during IU's loss to Purdue on April 25 in West Lafayette. Ashley hit a walk-off home run in the 12th inning Saturday as IU defeated Illinois 2-1.</p>

Freshman catcher Drew Ashley swings at a pitch during IU's loss to Purdue on April 25 in West Lafayette. Ashley hit a walk-off home run in the 12th inning Saturday as IU defeated Illinois 2-1.

Neither freshman catcher Drew Ashley, nor IU Coach Chris Lemonis, thought it had enough.

When Ashley hit the second pitch of his 12th-inning at-bat into right field, both men thought the ball would be caught short of the fence. But on a windy day at Bart Kaufman Field, the ball kept carrying.

The wind provided enough help to send Ashley's hit just beyond the wall and give IU (30-10, 8-5) a 2-1 walk-off win against Illinois (25-13, 10-4). 

"Whenever you're trying to do it for the team and you're not worried about your individual results, that's when everything comes together," Ashley said.

Ashley's home run brought an end to IU's season-long four-game losing streak. It was a streak in which the Hoosiers lost three games by one run, and the other game by just two runs.

"This time last week we were on a win streak," Lemonis said. "So it feels like it's been a month, but it's only been about six or seven days. Baseball is a tough game so you got to be tough-minded and you have good weeks and bad weeks."

However, the Hoosiers were in position to win the game in the ninth following strong starting pitching from sophomore Cameron Beauchamp.

He delivered what Lemonis said was the best outing of his career by allowing just two hits through six innings.

"He just pitched in and out and didn't leave any balls over the plate," Lemonis said. 

IU had led for most of Beauchamp's start after sophomore outfielder Matt Gorski recorded an RBI single off Illinois junior starting pitcher Quinn Snarskis in the first inning.

The 1-0 Hoosier lead lasted until the ninth. With a runner on second base and two outs against the Fighting Illini, sophomore pitcher Cal Krueger was replaced by senior B.J. Sabol.

Sabol allowed singles to both batters he faced as Illinois tied the game, 1-1.

Junior utility player Matt Lloyd came in to pitch the final 3.1 innings for IU, allowing just one hit in his eighth pitching appearance of the season.

The Hoosiers were able to get runners on base in the 10th and 11th innings, but were unable to convert until Ashley's home run, the first one of his collegiate career.

"It's a great feeling that we can finally get rolling again," Ashley said. "Hopefully we can get back to where we need to be."

IU is now 3-1 in extra-inning games this season, and Saturday marked the fifth time in 2018 IU has record a walk-off victory. 

In addition, IU has won at least 30 games for the eighth straight season.

In an effort to try and pick up its 31st victory of the season tomorrow, Lemonis said after Friday's game that junior Tim Herrin would be the Sunday starting pitcher.

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