With the wind howling out to straightaway centerfield, combined with Indiana and Minnesota’s strong offenses and the Hoosiers below average pitching, a lot of runs were expected. But no one predicted the 13-12 shootout that ended with an Indiana victory on Saturday afternoon.
The offense came early and often as for the second straight game, Alex Boxwell lead the game off with a home run. A Micah Coffey RBI double gave the Gophers an early 2-0 lead and it looked like Indiana might be routed 2 games in a row.
However, the Hoosiers had no intentions of another blowout, as Alex Krupa answered the Boxwell bomb with a lead off shot of his own. After adding another run in the second, Craig Dedelow hit a 2 run bomb to centerfield to tie the game at 4.
Minnesota answered in the top of the 4th as Matt Stemper and Jordan Kozicky drilled a pair of 2 out 2 run home runs to chase Hoosier starter Brain Hobbie after just 3.2 innings pitched.
After falling behind 8-4, the already hot Hoosier offense absolutely exploded in the bottom of the 5th inning, scoring 7 runs before even recording an out in the frame. A Matt Lloyd grand slam, along with a pair of RBI singles from Tony Butler and pinch hitter Austin Cangelosi to chase Minnesota reliever Nick Lackney. Matt Gorski, who lead off the inning for the Hoosiers, capped off the frame with a 2 run bomb to cap the 9 run inning and give Indiana a 13-8 lead.
Even after being hit with the nine run bombshell, the Golden Gophers just kept fighting back. After picking up a run in the top of the 6th, Minnesota made its move in the 7th as Coffey drilled an RBI double and Stemper hit a 2 RBI blooper to left to trim the Hoosier lead to 1 at 13-12.
Cal Krueger came into pitch the 8th for the Hoosiers and gave up a pair of 1 out singles. With Coffey again at the plate with 2 runners on, the Hoosiers were searching for a way to get out of the jam. Coffey answered Indiana’s prayer by grounding into a monumental 4-6-3 double play as Krueger was able to escape with the lead in tact for Matt Lloyd, who slammed the door in the ninth with the only 1-2-3 frame for either team in the ballgame.
In total, the two teams combined for 25 runs on 39 hits, and combined for 6 home runs. After Friday’s 11-0 victory, Minnesota has combined for 23 runs on 41 hits and 7 home runs. If there was a picture in the dictionary that described an offensive shootout, if would be a photo of Saturday’s Bart Kaufman Field scoreboard.
The win was much needed for Indiana (18-14-2, 5-5-1 Big Ten), as the Hoosiers had lost 5 of their previous 7 Big Ten Games. The win also gives Indiana one of their biggest wins of the year, as Minnesota (21-9, 7-1 Big Ten) is considered to be one of, if not the best team in the Big Ten. The loss for Minnesota is their first in league play this season.
Indiana will hope to give the Gophers their second Big Ten loss on Sunday in the rubber match of the 3 game series. First pitch is set for 1:05 pm.