Tuesday night in a packed Braun Stadium at the University of Evansville, the Indiana Hoosiers put together their best few innings on the season to storm back from a 5-1 deficit to beat the Purple Aces 7-6 in 10 innings. And while the what, when, and how -- the much-needed win, secured in the late innings by a big comeback -- were important, the who will be the lasting memory from this sticky night in Evansville.
If this Indiana baseball Class of 2019 has the large amounts of success that they seem to be destined for, look back to this ballgame, where they helped will the Hoosiers to victory as the start of it all.
A freshman got the scoring started when Luke Miller drove home Craig Dedelow in the Top of the 1st and gave Indiana a 1-0 lead. That lead lasted until the Bottom of the 3rd when the Aces scrapped out a run to tie the game at one. Then, in the 4th, Evansville appeared to break the ballgame wide open.
Sully Stadler had some trouble hitting his spots in relief and walked one before hanging a high one over the plate. Jonathan Ramon capitalized on the mistake and a hit a high shot that floated over the wall in left center to give the home team a 3-1 lead. Stadler then walked another before being spelled by Paul Milto, and by the end of the inning, the Aces had put two more on the board and held a commanding 5-1 lead.
The Hoosiers got nothing over the next couple innings, until a freshman provided a spark. To start the 7th, Chris Lemonis pinch hit for his struggling first baseman Austin Cangelosi (.213, 16 strikeouts in 47 at-bats), and turned to freshman Scotty Bradley. Bradley promptly singled through the right side and the Indiana offense had its first signs off life since the first when Isaiah Pasteur walked. Brian Wilhite then laid down a perfect bunt which led to an Aces error and suddenly the bases were loaded with nobody out.
Alex Krupa then walked to make it 5-2 and Colby Stratten doubled down the line to bring the Hoosiers within one. Dedelow singled to tie the ballgame at five, and then freshman Miller added an RBI groundout to bookend the scoring and give Indiana the 6-5 lead.
Evansville tied the game in the 8th, but Jake Kelzer mowed down the Aces at the end of the 8th and in the 9th to get the ballgame into extras. And in the Top of 10th, three freshmen pushed across the game-winning run. Miller doubled to leadoff the inning and freshman catcher Ryan Fineman bunted him to 3rd. Tony Butler was hit by a pitch before the guy who started the rally in the 7th, Bradley, drove home Miller for a 7-6 lead the Hoosiers wouldn't relinquish.
The Aces' leadoff man singled and eventually made his way to second base, but Kelzer made quick work of the final two batters to end the 10-inning affair.
The Hoosiers are now 6-8 on the season, having won four of their last five, and can find their way back above .500 this weekend as they host Toledo for a four-game series.