June 8, 2013


Hoosiers Hold On

By D.C. Reeves

Warchant.com Managing Editor

Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida State battled back from a four-run deficit once on Saturday.


But once wasn't enough.


After waving goodbye to an early 4-0 lead in its first-ever NCAA Super Regional appearance, Indiana plated four in the seventh on the way to a 10-9 win in Game 1 of the NCAA Super Regional at Dick Howser Stadium.


Fitting for a roller-coaster affair that saw offense - 19 runs and 23 hits - and plenty of miscues with six combined errors, the win wouldn't come easy. Indiana, the Big 10 champions, saw its early lead dissipate in the fourth inning. But it fought back to nab a 9-6 edge in the seventh, then added another in the eighth before withstanding a late FSU rally to win.


"At the end of this, either one of us was probably going to be happy with the win but probably not happy with particularly the way we played," Indiana coach Tracy Smith said. "So I would sum it up that way - I don't think it was a particularly well-played game, but I do think it's important, specifically in the Super Regional format to get off to a good start with a win in Game 1, no matter how it happens."


Now within a game of its first-ever College World Series, Indiana will trot out Aaron Slegers (9-1, 1.94 ERA) to face off against FSU's Scott Sitz (10-1, 1.59 ERA) in Game 2 Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.


"[Indiana] got the job done," said FSU coach Mike Martin, whose team left 13 runners on base. "It's one of those situations I guess when you look at the opportunity that we had, but they got it done."


Trailing 10-6 with the crowd out of the game after seven innings, the Seminoles, making their sixth straight Super Regional appearance, found life behind John Nogowski's two-run homer in the eighth.


Then came the nail-biting ninth.


Down 10-8, the first two Florida State batters reached base, and after a Jameis Winston pop-up, DJ Stewart laced an RBI single to center to plate Gio Alfonzo and cut it to a one-run game. Then a wild pitch careened off catcher Kyle Schwarber and into the Hoosiers’ dugout, moving the tying run to third and the winning run to second. But the heart of FSU's order couldn't close the deal - catcher Stephen McGee's flyout to right wasn't deep enough for the tying run to tag up, then Marcus Davis flew out to right to end it.


"No doubt in my mind we were going to tie it and there was a good feeling that we were going to win it," Martin said.


The other dugout shared the sentiment.


"I was thinking they had a chance to tie it or win it," Smith said. "We were hoping, honestly, to get out of there with a tie at the end of nine and go to extras, but that's how this game is."


After an 0-for-8 start, Indiana (47-14) was able to get to FSU ace Luke Weaver the second time through the lineup, touching him up for four runs on five hits in the fourth.

Weaver, who dominated with eight shutout innings and 14 strikeouts in the NCAA Regional, allowed five earned runs over six innings, the most runs he's given up since he gave up seven at Virginia on April 20.


The outburst was led by Schwarber, who blasted a home run to right to give Indiana a 2-0 lead. RBI hits from Scott Donley and Casey Smith made it 4-0.


"He kind of beat us with his velocity the first time [through the lineup] and I haven't seen that [speed] in a while," Indiana shortstop Michael Basil said. "But the second time we were ready for it, and we were ready for anything that he threw at us there."


The lead wouldn't last long. FSU responded with four runs of its own in the bottom half of the inning while chasing Indiana starter Joey DeNato. DeNato struggled with his control, walking four FSU batters and hitting two more. FSU was able to take the lead at 5-4 in the fifth and 6-5 in the sixth.


But back came Indiana with the crucial four-run seventh led by a two-run single from Schwarber. An error and a Sam Travis single gave the Hoosiers the lead for good at 9-6.


Indiana pushed it to 10-6 on another on a throwing error during a routine grounder from FSU third baseman Jose Brizuela - his 22nd error of the year.


"It's always frustrating when you make errors and give up runs," Nogowski said. "But you have to give credit to Indiana, they swung the bats great. They seemed like every chance they had a guy in scoring position they got him in."


Schwarber paced the Hoosiers, finishing 2 for 4 with the home run and four RBI.


And as the series rolls on, the order gets tall for the nationally-seeded Seminoles. It is 1-7 in Super Regional series after losing the first game.


"It ain't over," Martin said. "We are going to play our butts off [Sunday]. I really love this team."