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Hoosiers walk past Scarlet Knights in Snowbird opener

After Indiana struggled to put away the Rutger Scarlet Knights on Friday in the opening game of the Snowbird Classic, the non-conference foe did itself in during the Bottom of the 8th as afternoon turned to night by beaning the leadoff man and walking three more, allowing the Hoosiers to take a 7-6 lead that they would not relinquish.

After Hoosier starter Jonathan Stiever blanked the Scarlet Knights in the first, Indiana struck first after leadoff man Logan Kaletha walked and was brought around by a Matt Lloyd double and Luke Miller RBI groundout. Rutger evened the score quickly in the Top of the 2nd after Stiever walked the leadoff man and then gave up three consecutive singles.

From there, the Hoosiers put some space between themselves and the Scarlet Knights. Ryan Fineman singled to start the Bottom of the 2nd and went first-to-third on a Laren Eustace single, coming home when Jeremy Houston laid down a sacrifice. Then in the Bottom of the 3rd, Lloyd tripled to leadoff the inning. He was brought home by a Miller groundout before the Hoosiers added another run on a Fineman double that scored freshman Elijah Dunham to make it 4-1 Indiana.

The clubs swapped runs in the 4th, but Rutger made it a ballgame again in the Top of the 6th when Stiever ran into a jam and was pulled with runners on second and third and two outs. Freshman Hoosier Nick Eaton walked the next batter and was immediately pulled, and senior Brian Hobbie allowed a single down the left field line, conceding two runs that cut the Indiana lead to 5-4.

The Hoosiers got one back in the Bottom of the 7th on a Rutger throwing error, but in the Top of the 8th, the Scarlet Knights tied the ballgame after Hobbie gave up a leadoff single and an error put a second man on base, both of whom scored on a double allowed by Cal Krueger who spelled Hobbie.

Rutger put themselves in immediate trouble in the bottom half of the inning, though, plunking Kaletha and walking Lloyd to put the first two hitters on base. Miller grounded out to shortstop to move both runners, and then the Scarlet Knights intentionally walked Logan Sowers to load the bases for Cade Bunnell.

Then the Jersey Boys did themselves all-the-way in, walking Bunnell to give Indiana a 7-6 lead, but the Hoosiers couldn’t add anything else as Fineman and Matt Gorski both struck out with the bases still juiced.

Nothing was hurt, though, as Rutger went quietly in the Top of the 9th as Krueger struck out the first two hitters and then induced a fly ball to put the game on ice.

Krueger picked up the win, his third of the young season, going 1.2 IP and allowing just one hit while striking out four. Tevin Murray took the loss for the Scarlet Knights.

The Hoosiers (4-1) will be back in action tomorrow at noon against Boston College (2-2), who was thumped by Minnesota, 14-1, in their first game in Port Charlotte. Indiana won’t face the Piscataway little leaguers (1-3) again this season.