Indiana pounds Austin Peay 15-6, now one win away from winning Bloomington Regional

WHAT HAPPENED: After falling behind 3-0, No. 1 seed Indiana blasted No. 2 seed Austin Peay 15-6 in front of 2,629 at Bart Kaufman Field. With the win, the Hoosiers advance in the winner’s bracket and are now one win away from taking the Bloomington Regional and becoming the first Big Ten team to advance to the Super Regionals since Ohio State in 2003. Indiana had won all of one NCAA Tournament game before this season and had obviously never made a trip to the Super Regionals.With the win, the Hoosiers also snapped Austin Peay’s 16-game winning streak.

Austin Peay plays No. 4 seed Valparaiso at 1 p.m. today. The winner plays Indiana at 7 p.m. If the Hoosiers lose, they would get a rematch on Monday night at 7 p.m. with the regional on the line. The Hoosiers would have to lose both Sunday and Monday night to fail to advance.

WHO MADE IT HAPPEN: The Hoosiers pounded the ball up and down the lineup but the middle of the order was especially potent. In Friday night’s game, Kyle Schwarber, Sam Travis, Scott Donley and Michael Basil combined for two hits, no RBIs and one run scored. On Saturday, they were a combined 8-for-15 with seven runs scored, seven walks and 14 RBI.

Schwarber was 2-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBI. He had a critical two-out, two-run single in the second inning that tied the game and kept the inning alive so the Hoosiers could do more damage. Travis was 2-for-3 with four runs scored, three RBI and three walks. He followed that two-run single by Schwarber with a two-run home run off the scoreboard in left field.

Donley was 2-for-2 with three walks and broke the game open with a bases-clearing three-run double in the fifth inning. Basil was 2-for-5 with a pair of two-run singles that were also critical in building the lead. Every starter in the lineup, though, either drove in or scored a run.

Left-hander Joey DeNato struggled early, surrendering a three-run home run to Austin Peay shortstop Reed Harper in the first and then an RBi double by third baseman Jordan Hankins in the second. Atter that, however, he went four innings without giving up a hit. He finished with nine strikeouts and allowed just six hits while walking two. Relievers Christian Morris and Walker Stadler got through three innings and kept the Hoosiers from using any of their five main relievers.

On a defensive note, though, left fielder Casey Smith made the play of the day. It wasn’t an acrobatic catch, but Smith went all the way to the wall to haul in a fly ball by Austin Peay’s P.J. Torres that would’ve been a two-run home run if Smith didn’t get to it. That would’ve put the Hoosiers down 5-0 after the first, and that might have changed the outcome somewhat.

WHY DID IT HAPPEN: Chad Clark’s walk-off two-run home run to beat Valparaiso on Friday night provided the calming influence the Hoosiers needed. Everything about their approach to Saturday night’s game was different. They were patient and selective at the plate and waited on fastballs and rocked the ones that Austin Peay’s pitcher’s left up in the zone. They chased Austin Peay starter Casey Delgado after an inning and two thirds and then jumped on every reliever after that, forcing the Governors to go through six pitchers to get through the game. They drew a total of 12 walks while pounding out 14 hits.

DeNato also changed his approach significantly. In the first two innings, he tried to establish his fastball early in counts, but Austin Peay was all over it. After the second, he decided to throw more first-pitch curveballs and rely more heavily on a change-up that just seemed to float in the ether. That kept the Governors totally off-balance, and they manged just three base runners from the third through the sixth. Indiana scored 10 runs in that period.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN: The Hoosiers really couldn’t be sitting any more pretty than they are. After being on the brink of going to the loser’s bracket on Friday night, they are the only team in the regional that won’t face elimination Sunday and they have to lose two games not to make it to a Super Regional (which, it appears, will be in Tallahassee because Florida State is in the exact same position.) The Hoosiers are also in a particularly good place pitching wise. Stadler has thrown all of 8 1/3 innings this season and Morris has been the fifth option among right-handed relievers behind Scott Effross, Ryan Halstead, Luke Harrison and Evan Bell. Harrison and Bell haven’t been used yet in the Regional. Halstead pitched one inning on Friday night, and Effross has now had a day to rest after throwing 4 1/3 on Friday night. Austin Peay and Valparaiso both had to expend a lot of arms to get through Saturday’s games, and they will tax each other on Sunday before getting the Hoosiers in what will be their second game of the day. The Hoosiers have every advantage necessary to reach the Super Regional. They just have to decide who to pitch. IU coach Tracy Smith said he is still deciding between Kyle Hart and Will Coursen-Carr in terms of Sunday night’s starter.

WHO SAID WHAT:In case I haven’t said it enough, ASAP Sports is awesome.


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An Interview With:
INDIANA
COACH SMITH: Well, first and foremost, I
think we feel very fortunate to be continuing in the
winner’s bracket. That’s where you want to be,
clearly; and to beat, in my opinion, a very, very
good baseball team. They remind us a lot of our
own team: Big, physical guys that swing the bat
and pitch the heck out of it. You know, the way
that thing started, it was one of those where you’re
like, uh-oh, good thing we had the answer.
But, you know, we are not sitting here
really anticipating who we are going to face
tomorrow or really worried about that. We were
just thanking our lucky stars because clearly Austin
Peay was probably playing some of the best
baseball in the country coming into this game and
we knew that we were going to have our hands
full.
I thought once Joey (DeNato) got settled in
after the rough first inning, he was pretty effective
in keeping a pretty darned good hitting team in
check.
So, we are happy with the win. I think long
day for everybody, you guys included. I think we’re
ready to go get some rest and sit back and watch
two teams go at it tomorrow and see who we play.
Q. Joey, I don’t think you allowed a hit
in your last four innings; what was the
difference between the first couple innings and
then the last four what changed for you?
JOEY DeNATO:
Well, I think in the
beginning, in the first inning, I kind of psyched
myself out a little bit thinking, I don’t know, I was
kind of — just they are a good-hitting team so
maybe I wasn’t as aggressive as I should have
been.
And once I kind of got my off-speed
working, getting that curveball over for a first-pitch
strike, it kind of helped me settle down. Yeah,
once he was getting ahead of batters in the count,
I could get ahead with off-speed pitches.
Q. Joey, you went with the changeup
primarily later in the innings; how much of that
was your decision or communication with
coaches and how much of it was the overall
pitch calling?
JOEY DeNATO:
In between innings I
talked to Coach Neal and told him that — well, first
of all, my first-pitch curveball was working for me,
and I told him I wanted to do that a little bit more.
Then towards the end of the game, it kind
of just clicked in that it started working, probably
towards the fourth inning and then we stuck with
that throughout the rest of the game.
Q. Sam, just the home run you hit off
the scoreboard, what were you thinking in that
at-bat that work out for you there?
SAM TRAVIS: Started a lot of guys out, a
lot of right handers with a first pitch fastball and I
was just going out there looking to hit something
hard and make something happen and wanted to
get the inning going. Hit the ball hard and it just
sailed over the fence and it worked out good for
us.
Q. Chad Clark said last night about
getting the kinks out; how much less of a factor
tonight were nerves on this stage?
SCOTT DONLEY: It was real big to come
out and last night to come back and get that win,
and then everyone came out today real relaxed.
As you can see, we came out and jumped on them
right away. It was just real good to get the nerves
gone.
June 1, 2013

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Q. Similar question, but Coach said he sort of
felt a relief of pressure after the end of last
night’s game, particularly the way it happened.
And the two, three, four, five spots today, you
guys drove in all your runs, and I think you
combined for something like ten hits. Just kind
of what changed for you guys from Kyle to Sam
to Scott down to Michael in the lineup tonight
versus last night?
SAM TRAVIS: We knew we had to come
out and be more aggressive and attack fastballs,
attack — more importantly, attack fastball strikes.
We just had to wait for our pitches and I think we
did a great job of that today.
More importantly, we didn’t swing at the
pitcher’s pitches. We didn’t get ourselves out. We
hit the ball hard today and it worked out; worked
out well.
Q. You guys lost walked 12 times, I
think six between the two of you. Was there a
concerted effort tonight to try to work the
count, or were there not very many good
pitches to swing at sometimes?
SCOTT DONLEY: As Sam said, we were
going out there to attack one pitch and not get
ourselves out and swing at bad pitches and the
pitcher’s pitch.
So we came out, and we were a lot more
selective with our at-bats. As you can see, if you
come out with patience, it ends up paying off a lot.
Q. Joey, with the strikeouts tonight,
you moved into the top five all-time at IU; what
does that mean to you to be up there?
JOEY DeNATO: Actually, I didn’t know
that. I mean, it’s cool, but not something I’m
keeping track of or anything. I just go out there
and pitch and try to pitch as best I can. I guess
that kind of thing happens.
Q. Was there a point early on where
you just felt like you had that guy, that you
guys were locked in on him and had a chance
to really put some runs on the board?
SCOTT DONLEY:
I think one of the
biggest hits was Schwarber came up and hit that
two-out RBI and just nuked the ball up the middle
and got two runs to come in. And right after that,
Sam comes in and blasts that home run over the
fence. And I think right after that, I knew when we
came up, any pitcher we face, we were going to
attack him.
Q.
After the offense put up the
five-spot in the second, how big of a relief was
it for you?
JOEY DeNATO: It was a huge relief. With
our offense we have, I know that whether we are
down two or up by two, I know that we are going to
keep that lead as long as I do my job.
But it’s a huge relief having the lineup that
we do and coming from a pitcher, it’s definitely a lot
easier and a lot less stressful when we have a
lead, and we had the lead pretty much the whole
game.
Q.
Not trying to start any fires or
anything, but in terms of Joey’s longevity in
this game, how important was that five-run
second inning after he struggled there in the
first in terms of how long of a leash you were
going to give him?
COACH SMITH: It was important. I mean,
I’m not going to lie to you. Because we were
concerned with the swings they put on them, and
plus the success that Florida had had in their
lineup with the right-handers, so we were going to
be watching that pretty closely.
But the five-spot was good because it gave
him a little bit of a cushion to attack. You know,
when someone throws a five-spot on you, the
tendency offensively is to try to get it all back in
one swing. And so when you try to do that off a
lefty, you end up letting the lefty settle in. So it
worked out pretty much in our favor.
Q. Do you think — to expand upon a
topic that’s already been raised with the
players, it really was the case as you
mentioned last night; the home run did more
than win a game for you, it relaxed your guys
and even after giving up three in the first they
were ready to rebound pretty fast?
COACH SMITH: For sure. And honestly
when I saw that ball go off the bat, that last one, I
was already processing in my mind, oh, my God,
we’re down five. I was shocked that he caught it.
But yeah, as I said — you could. Like three
of the guys came back in the dugout. It wasn’t
panic time. It was like, hey, let’s just keep going
here, and they came out and put some pretty good
swings on them. I think getting that back and then
some, certainly even helped that attitude even
more.
But I was convinced last night that it was

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great just to get that monkey off our back so we
can just get back to playing baseball. And as I
said last night, we can go out in the next game or
whatever, but I still feel the mind-set is our guys
would be a heck of a lot more relaxed than they
were last night.
Q.
I guess to expand on that, how
much of a difference did you see in the
approach, the way guys were —
COACH SMITH: A lot. And I’ll say it
again: I don’t want to take away from what the
Valparaiso pitcher was doing. We were anxious,
but let’s not forget, he was making some quality
pitches and keeping the ball down.
Sam alluded to it; that he had us swinging
at a lot of non-strikes last night. And we felt that —
relaxed approach. But Delgado is a power pitcher,
and when you have a power pitcher, the tendency
sometimes if they are trying to overthrow is to be
up. And I felt if he leaves some ball up in the
zone — we looked at his numbers coming in, ERA,
the number of home runs; the wind was blowing
out today.
I wasn’t too concerned about the
three-spot in the bottom. We are probably going to
score three runs today, just given our lineup.
Q. Just to take Joey out in the sixth
inning, was that performance based, or where
you were at in the game with a big lead?
COACH SMITH:
Not performance,
because I thought he was really starting to settle
into his changeup and off-speed at that time. He
was at 106 pitches, and he was I think 90 starting
that inning.
So, with a big lead, truth be told, if we are
locked in a one-run game there, he probably was
running back out there again. But I thought he was
just hitting his stride when we took him out and it
was nice to get some of the other guys in and still
keep that bullpen fresh for tomorrow, and certainly
if we have to extend beyond that.
Q. How much do you think the way you
guys were hitting the ball and their approach
has to do with Austin Peay’s 12 walks?
COACH SMITH: You mean, just us hitting
and with them being tentative in the strike zone
and increased walks? Well, again, I think Gary is
probably better to answer for his staff.
But looking at some of the kids that were
coming in, they didn’t have — it didn’t look like they
were some of their regular guys. And we have
some of that, too, on our staff. And usually when a
guy is not a regular guy for you, it’s probably
because he’s walking people.
But, you know, and I’ll just say this,
watching it — it’s not necessarily them, but
sometimes pitchers do see those flags blowing
straight out and they start nibbling.
You start
nibbling, you fall behind. You fall behind, you start
walking people.
So I think there was a combination of all of
that going on today.
Q. You alluded to this a little bit, but
how important was it tonight for Joey to settle
in and for you to get a couple good innings
from Christian; the bullpen has been a strength
all year.
COACH SMITH: It was huge. The big
lead afforded us — because my only concern at
that time was don’t walk. The guys that come, in
don’t walk anybody. If someone is going to beat
us, they are going to have to knock it around a little
bit. Christian came in and tried to prove me right.
What did he get, three singles in a row.
You know, I like when we get some guys in
there, too, who have not pitched a lot at regional —
the senior, Walker Stadler, wonderful opportunity
for him to come in.
For me it served two purposes, gave two
great kids who worked as hard as everyone on the
staff an opportunity to pitch; but also gave two
great kids a chance to pitch in a regional for their
hometown crowd, and saved our bullpen, too.
Q. Do you know who is going to start
tomorrow?
COACH SMITH:
We have not talked
about that yet. I think we’ll probably wait and see
who we face as far as matchups, because we have
got everybody available. But I’ll get with Coach
Neal and we’ll talk about that and see what we’re
going to do.
That ruins your old probable starter
articling, doesn’t it. (Laughter.)
FastScripts by ASAP Sports …

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An Interview With:
AUSTIN PEAY
COACH McCLURE: Well, we obviously got
off to a good start in the first inning. We held them
and then we came in and Harper hit the big three-run
homer.
We made a mistake before that on the
bases. We were thrown out at third and we didn’t get
a jump on a bunt. But we did come up: Harper hit
the big three-run homer for us and got us off to a
great start, which I thought would really propel us.
Then P.J. towards the end of the inning,
basically, hit a ball off the wall that would have went
over if the guy wasn’t there, and he was. So we had
a big inning, got off to a great start.
I felt like Delgado was the right guy to pitch
against these guys. I think, you know, three or four
out of five times, I think he could really, really do well
against them. He just wasn’t himself tonight. He
wasn’t throwing strikes and wasn’t commanding his
stuff.
He’s usually a guy that commands three
pitches and can throw his change in the dirt
whenever, breaking ball in the dirt.
So, you know, we just didn’t get the job done
on the hill early and were able to come back, and
they took advantage of it. Did a great job.
Q. I guess what were you guys seeing so
well off Joey DeNato in the first couple innings;
and what changed with his approach from the
mound?
REED HARPER: That first inning, he was
really trying to establish that fastball. And after that,
he really started working off his changeup, which got
better and better as the innings went along, and just
started getting us off balance.
And any count he was going to throw it, we
were getting to 3-2 and he still had confidence in it
and was putting it where he wanted it, and hats off to
him.
Q. Did you guys get more anxious at the
plate swinging at pitches off the plate?
JORDAN HANKINS: I don’t think so. I just
think that he set us up — going against somebody like
that, that has all of his pitches working, just came out
after the first couple innings very well.
Q. You guys haven’t been in that kind of
situation in a while. What was the attitude like in
the dugout the first few innings?
JORDAN HANKINS: Energy was good first
couple innings with Reed hitting the three-run shot.
But, you know, a couple innings that kind of broke the
lead open and we just couldn’t get anything going
offensively.
Q. Jordan, you were hitting .500 in the
post-season; do you feel like you guys are
peaking right now?
JORDAN HANKINS: I feel good, but it’s a
team game and we didn’t win tonight. We didn’t get
the job done.
Q. Did you guys get the sense at all that,
any reason the pitchers weren’t finding the strike
zone?
JORDAN HANKINS:
I think we have
confidence in Casey and I’d throw him again
tomorrow. He didn’t have stuff tonight, and we still
have all the confidence in the world in him.
REED HARPER: He’s one of the guys that
went out there tonight that’s proven that he can get it
done all year. I mean, just none of them could really
find it tonight.
I don’t think — most of them will probably be
ready to go tomorrow and I’ll have confidence in them
when they go back out there?
Q.
What was it like to play in this
atmosphere, probably the biggest crowd you’ve
seen this year?
REED HARPER: Felt like any other game,
more fun. We were out there to win. Wasn’t real
worried about the crowd.
Q. From watching their lineup, you didn’t
have to face them yourselves, but how tough is it
with so many hitters that can beat you?
June 1, 2013

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REED HARPER: Yeah, they proved that in
the second innings where they had a lot of hits
back-to-back-to-back. I definitely don’t want to take
anything way from that lineup. They were hitting the
ball great tonight. It’s a combination of that and our
guys didn’t have their stuff. Like to have another
shot.
Q. In what you were able to see, if you
watched any of last night’s game, what was the
difference particularly with the heart of their order
tonight, I think they had all the runs batted in,
Indiana’s two, three, four, five; what about their
approach at the plate made them so hard to get
out?
COACH McCLURE: Well, you know, it’s like
Reed said, it’s a combination. We’ve seen a lot of
good hitters all year long. You know, they are not the
only team that has good hitters. They do have good
hitters. And I think their guys are smart hitters. I
think they look for pitches.
You know, they are very good hitters. I
mean, I would never say any different. But I’m going
to tell you, when, if Casey is down and he’s pitching
normal, they are not going to hit the ball normal. If he
pitches at the belt, doesn’t matter who you pitch to,
they are going to hit the ball; and they are going to hit
the ball even better, because they have got really
good hitters.
But you’re not going to beat anybody pitching
the way we pitched tonight.
Q.
All the walks, is that a snowball
effect?
COACH McCLURE: You know, it’s tough
when you get in a ballgame like that sometimes and
you’re getting rolled pretty good, and you know, I
think you don’t want it to as a coach, and players
don’t want it to, but I think it takes the edge off
sometimes that you have as an athlete when you’re
just trying to hold on, as opposed to really competing
for something.
Not that we gave up, ever, but I think it’s
different. I think there is a difference. And again, I
give them all the credit. They have got a good
ballclub.
They are well coached.
The guy that
pitched tonight I love. I mean, you know, to me, he’s
the difference.
You know, we jumped out, and his team
gave him life again. He didn’t pitch well early, but his
offense took advantage of our mistakes. They gave
him life, and then he grabbed on to it and then he was
awesome.
And that’s what guys do. I mean, that’s what
good guys do. But he’s very good, very good.
Q. In that first inning, were you expecting
it was going to be tough to score runs?
COACH McCLURE: I knew he was good.
I’ve seen him pitch on TV a couple times. I mean,
he’s a lefty that can really pitch. We all love those
guys. He can throw any pitch in any count and his
ball moves. He knows how to pitch. He’s smart.
You know, that guy is going to win a lot of
games at any level and he can probably pitch at
about any level. He’s just very, very good.
Q. Is that why you had Craig bunt in the
first inning?
COACH McCLURE: No, no, I’m sorry — I
didn’t hear you say that.
The reason — I didn’t do it yesterday, we
didn’t do anything; we hit into the double play. I
thought, hey, I have a lot of confidence in Reed,
especially against left-handed pitching. We get a
bunt down here, we have second and third; if we get
off to a good start, we score a run or two, then that’s
going to be a good thing.
So I felt like going in, I felt like Casey was
just going to give us — do a great job. I thought he
was perfect to pitch against their lineup. In a hundred
years, I never would have thought it would have
ended up like that. But that’s why you play the
games.
Q. With the number of pitchers that you
had to use, how much of a bind does it put you in
where you have to try to win two in a day?
COACH McCLURE: I think we’re fine. We
were careful about how we used guys. I think we
used the right guys. I mean, we weren’t going to
throw, you know, when we are down 15-4, whatever,
we weren’t going to throw guys out there that we feel
that we have to have to try to get this done. I mean,
the planning started at that period.
You know, our backs are against the wall.
Everybody but Indiana’s backs are against the wall
now and it’s going to take something special to come
back and win this. All we can worry about right now,
you know, is just trying to beat Valparaiso who has
got a very good ballclub, they’ve proved

2 comments

  1. Great job Hoosiers…now let’s get this thing done and advance to the Super Regionals today!

  2. Looking good. Both Valpo and AP will be forced to use their #4 starter should they win. Well, unless they want put their aces back in off one day of rest– good luck with that. Indiana has the stronger options, the momentum, and the home crowd. Gonna be tough to beat us.

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