In a game that took nearly five hours, it was a moment that lasted less than a second which proved the deciding factor.
University of Louisville freshman Alex Binelas hit a ground ball to IU baseball senior Cade Bunnell. Bunnell turned to throw to second in an attempt to turn a double play. After screams of “Four!” instantly rang around Bart Kaufman Field, Bunnell turned back toward the plate.
The hesitation, if even for just a fleeting moment, allowed Louisville to score the winning run.
Louisville junior Tyler Fitzgerald raced home to put his team ahead for good in the 12th inning as No. 9 Louisville beat No. 25 IU 8-7 in Bloomington.
The Cardinals started the scoring quickly and appeared to be cruising to a blowout win.
Louisville had four hits in the second inning, leading to two runs. In the third inning, Binelas made the Hoosiers pay for a throwing error made by IU junior Scotty Bradley. Binelas hit a three-run home run over the picnic tables beyond the wall in right field, increasing Louisville’s lead to 5-0.
Louisville added another run in the top of the fourth inning to increase its lead to six.
In the bottom of the inning, though, IU junior Matt Gorski turned the game on its head.
Gorski kicked off a rally as he hit a triple to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning. Senior Matt Lloyd drove Gorksi in with a ground-rule double for IU’s first run. Sophomore Elijah Dunham followed Lloyd’s double with a double of his own to drive in the Hoosier senior.
Dunham was able to score on a wild pitch before IU scored two more runs in the inning as both Gorski and senior Wyatt Cross walked with the bases loaded.
After a 57-minute fourth inning, IU had flipped the game and trailed by just one.
IU freshman Braydon Tucker hadn’t pitched since February against Butler University, but he provided IU with two scoreless innings of relief. He escaped a sixth inning, bases loaded jam with a double play to keep IU within one run.
After IU sophomore Connor Manous allowed a Louisville run in the top of the seventh, IU responded in the bottom of the inning, completing its comeback.
Sophomore Cole Barr had an RBI single through the left side of the infield to close the gap to one again. Sophomore Sam Crail tied the game as he hit a fly ball into foul territory that was caught by Binelas, who running away from the infield. The momentum carrying Binelas away from the play allowed Dunham to tag up and score the game-tying run.
IU had tied the game, but it would never take the lead.
For the second straight game, the score was tied in the seventh. For the second straight game, that remained the score into extra innings. Though unlike IU’s loss Sunday against Michigan, it took one inning longer for a breakthrough.
But in both games, IU was on the losing end.
With the loss, IU drops its second straight game and falls to 33-19 overall. The loss had no effect on IU’s chase of a Big Ten title. IU finishes the regular season 19-12 in nonconference play and 6-5 in midweek games.
IU will resume its push for a Big Ten title at 6:05 p.m. Thursday at Bart Kaufman Field against Rutgers. Senior Pauly Milto is the anticipated starting pitcher for the Hoosiers.
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