Indiana defeats Gators to win weekend series
Published: Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 4:33 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 4:33 p.m.
For the second time in three days, visiting Indiana combined a solid effort from a left-handed starter with a double-digit hitting attack to down Florida as the Hoosiers claimed the weekend series from the Gators with a 7-4 win Sunday.
No. 5 Florida State at Florida
When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
Where: McKethan Stadium
Radio: 103.7 FM
With the win before a McKethan Stadium crowd of 3,403, the Hoosiers, preseason favorites to win the Big Ten, improved to 8-3 while a young UF squad (8-9) slipped back below the .500 mark.
“This was a series that we identified at the beginning of the season as important for us because we think we've got a pretty good baseball team and we knew Florida has a good baseball team,” said Indiana head coach Tracy Smith. “They're going to be fine. It's early in the season and they've got a lot of young players. But anytime that you can come into a storied program like this and grab a win, much less be fortunate enough to get two, well I'm very, very pleased with how we competed.”
The Hoosiers had 14 hits, giving them 36 hits for the three-game set.
Leading the assault was sophomore catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber, who ripped UF pitching to the tune of a .714 batting average for the weekend (10-for-14), including a one-out, first-inning home run Sunday that led to his second four-hit game of the series.
“I'm not quite sure I've ever seen a guy have a weekend like that,” UF head coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. “I mean, he hit balls that were down, off the plate. He hit balls in, he hit balls up, he hit soft stuff and he hit hard stuff.”
When Schwarber, Indiana's No. 2 hitter in the lineup, wasn't wearing out the baseball, No. 3 hitter Sam Travis (5-for-10, .500) and clean-up batter Scott Donley (7-for-13, .539) were.
All in all, the trio of sluggers accounted for 22 of the Hoosiers' weekend hits.
“It's kind of like where we were for three years with Preston (Tucker) and Mike (Zunino),” noted O'Sullivan. “Now I kind of know how it feels. Every time you turn around, it looks like they're coming up again.”
Meanwhile, Indiana starter and winner Kyle Hart (2-0) cruised through the first 7 1/3 innings, allowing just two hits – a pair of singles from senior Vickash Ramjit – before his defense, which up to that point had been solid and turned three double plays to kill potential UF rallies, let him down.
With one out in the UF eighth, Travis, IU's first baseman, booted a routine grounder off the bat of pinch-hitter Mike Fahrman, allowing him to reach base.
After Cody Dent flew out for what should have been the third out, Casey Turgeon, Harrison Bader and Justin Shafer each followed with singles to end the day for Hart.
UF went on to score four runs, all unearned, and even brought the potential tying run to the plate in the form of freshman pinch-hitter Christian Dicks with two outs and two on. But IU reliever Scott Effross got him to pop up to second to end the inning.
Ramjit (3-for-4) was the lone Gator with a multiple-hit game, while Schwarber (4-for-5), Donley (3-for-4) and Dustin DeMuth (3-for-4) all did so for the Hoosiers.
“They're a good-hitting team, and we knew that coming in,” O'Sullivan said. “They're going to give a lot of people trouble this year.”
UF used seven pitchers in all, with freshman starter Eric Hanhold (0-1), who took the loss, going four-plus innings and allowing four runs, all earned, on seven hits before a parade of relievers finished off the game.
Next up, undefeated and fifth-ranked FSU (15-0) comes to town Tuesday for a 7 p.m. matchup.
“It's a rivalry game, and we know we're going to have to compete,” O'Sullivan said. “It's a game that means a lot to a lot of people in the state, and we'll be ready to play as I'm sure they will, too.”