BLOOMINGTON – When the core of the Indiana baseball team’s lineup flexed its collective muscle Friday night, the nationally fourth-seeded Hoosiers laid the foundation for a 10-2 victory against Youngstown State on Friday in the NCAA tournament’s opening round.
Indiana advances to play No. 3 seed Stanford, which breezed to an 8-1 victory against No. 2 seed Indiana State, today at 6 p.m..
A Bart Kaufman Field record crowd of 4,125 watched the Bloomington Regional’s No. 1 seed grab a 3-0 first-inning lead, scoring all three after two were out, including third baseman Dustin DeMuth’s clutch two-run double.
By game’s end, DeMuth, catcher Kyle Schwarber and first baseman Sam Travis were a collective 8 for 14 with six runs and eight RBI against the surprising Horizon League champions (16-37). Travis blasted a two-run homer in the third to extend the IU lead to 5-1, and Schwarber hit a three-run shot over the center field fence in the fifth.
They were keeping the ball elevated in the zone, Travis said of the Hoosiers’ ability to score runs in bunches. On my home run, I was just looking to drive the ball to the outfield.
Schwarber, who went 4 for 5 and scored three runs, was a double short of hitting for the cycle. He singled to center in his final at-bat and did not consider trying to stretch it into a double.
I don’t want to be selfish, Schwarber said. My homer, I was looking for something up and got it. I thought a key for us was our two-out hitting. It is what is going to to win you ball games. That was huge for us.
Of the first six runs for the Hoosiers (43-13), four were scored after two were out. Without the early two-out runs, IU would have been clinging to a 2-1 lead instead of a solid 6-1 cushion.
If we had drawn it out, we would not have written it any different, IU coach Tracy Smith said.
We played a solid game. When DeMuth’s two-out double fell in the first, it took the pressure off us. It was a perfect scenario for us. We wanted to make them chase us, and they had to.
Youngstown State coach Steve Gillispie said one swing of the bat made his team’s challenge even greater than it already was.
We left a chest-high fastball to Travis, and that kind of changed the game, Gillispie said.
South Side graduate Will Coursen-Carr, who has struggled with his control as a sophomore after an excellent freshman season, worked 1 1/3 innings to finish the game for IU and did not give up a run or a hit, striking out one.
Right-hander Scott Effross (5-2), normally a reliever, started for IU and gave up one run and three hits in four innings and was credited with the win. That allowed Smith to save ace Joey DeNato (12-1, 1.77 earned run average) for tonight’s game against Stanford.