Indiana falls 1-0 to Oregon State, exits College World Series

WHAT HAPPENED: Oregon State’s Matt Boyd won a pitcher’s duel with Aaron Slegers and the Beavers defeated Indiana 1-0 in front of 26,035 at TD Ameritrade Park, eliminating the Hoosiers from their first ever College World Series.

Indiana, which became the first Big Ten school since 1984 to reach the College World Series, finishes its season at 49-16. Oregon State advances to play Mississippi State on Friday. The Beavers must defeat the Bulldogs twice to reach the championship series.

WHO MADE IT HAPPEN: Boyd was nothing short of masterful in a four-hit shutout. He struck out 11 batters, including seven of the first 10 he faced and five straight in one stretch. He only allowed more than one base runner once, and that was the only time he allowed a runner to reach second base. The Hoosiers never put a runner on third. Boyd was locating his fastball and using it to get ahead in counts, then throwing both his curveball and slider for strikes and also getting Indiana to chase them both out of the zone. He didn’t give up a hit in the first 4 1/3 and faced the minimum number of hitters through that point.

Indiana’s Aaron Slegers was almost as spectacular, and he got stronger as the game wore on. He scattered seven hits and struck out five, with four of those coming in the last two innings. He walked two batters, but both of those were intentional. He threw 78 of his 116 pitches for strikes.

But Oregon State got just enough offense in the fifth. Third baseman Kavin Keyes led off the inning with a single to center. Designated hitter Ryan Barnes followed with the play of the game. He faked a bunt on the first pitch, which worked because the Beavers had attempted to bunt after putting the leadoff man on in the first two innings. The bunt drew IU third baseman Dustin DeMuth up. Barnes pulled it back on the pitch and roped a double down the third base ine, right past DeMuth, for a double, putting Kayes on third base. Catcher Jake Rodriguez followed with a short fly to right, which was just enough to score Kayes to give the Beavers the only run they would need.

WHY DID IT HAPPEN: indiana’s offense struggled against left-handers all week and it faced the best left-hander in its last game. Boyd was masterful and the Hoosiers were just as flummoxed by him if not more so than they were by Louisville reliever Cody Ege and Mississippi State reliever Chad Girodo. The Hoosiers’ top left-handed bats were particularly ineffective all week. Catcher Kyle Schwarber was 3-for-14 with seven strikeouts in the series and went 0-for-4 on Wednesday. He put a charge into one in the ninth, but it fell well short of the wall. Third baseman Dustin DeMuth, who was near .400 after the end of the Big Ten Tournament, continued his NCAA struggles with a 1-for-11 performance in Omaha. But right-handers didn’t fare much better on Saturday. DeMuth had his bunt single. First baseman Sam Travis had a bloop hit in the ninth. Shortstop Michael Basil and right fielder Casey Smith each had line drive singles, but that was the extent of Indiana’s offense.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN: The greatest baseball season in Indiana history is over, and these Hoosiers can certainly claim that unequivocally. They were the first team since 1932 to win a Big Ten title outright, the first ever to win a Big Ten regular season and tournament title, the first to ever win more than one NCAA Tournament game, the first to ever advance through a regional, and the first to ever reach Omaha. They ended the Big Ten’s 29-year College World Series drought.

This one will hurt, though. The Hoosiers had the best offense in the Big Ten and one of the best in the country, and they couldn’t get a run for ace on one of his best performances. Tracy Smith said he hoped in two weeks or two months they could sit back and consider their accomplishments and be proud, but that fact will haunt them.

WHO SAID WHAT: 

INDIANA

COACH TRACY SMITH

MICHAEL BASIL

AARON SLEGERS

 

THE MODERATOR:  Tracy, give us an overview of today’s game.

COACH SMITH:  Well, I mean, entertainment value, I think it was off the charts.  It’s just one of those where you had two guys who were on tonight.  And both of them throwing extremely well.

And unfortunately we came out on the wrong end of that.  But when you sit back and, as a coach, you try to evaluate how your team plays and the performance, and sure, I could be disappointed with the lack of effectiveness in the batter’s box, but I think a lot of that has to do with what their guy’s doing against us.

But there was so much good in that game.  And Aaron Slegers I thought threw his rear end off and gave us a chance to win even down to the last out.

Probably the bigger perspective on this is that this thing, win, lose or draw, as a coach, you have those seasons where you just hate for it to end.  And unfortunately it ends for us tonight.  But whether we won a national championship or not, the toughest part for me was going to be walking off the field for the last time with some of the individuals here.

And so I’m disappointed with the loss.  But my stomach’s going to churn when you gotta say goodbye to some of these guys, but that was nothing to hang our heads about.  That was a heck of a baseball game.

THE MODERATOR:  Questions?

 

Q.  Coach, given I guess the balance of your lineup and the way your team has performed all year long, were you surprised I guess how much trouble you guys had with lefties in between ED and Girodo and then Boyd today?

COACH SMITH:  Well, unfortunately, yes.  I’ll qualify that, because I said it last night.  The unfortunate part is that these are some of the best lefties in the country, and it’s hard to get mad at your guys.  I’d peek up there every once in a while and see the replay of some of the pitches.  They were executing the pitches.  I think my SID said right before I came in, this is the first time we were shut out all year.  Heck of a time for a shutout.

But I thought that kid, he threw a tremendous game.  I don’t want to say threw the game of his life because I don’t know if he’s thrown better than that, but that was one whale of a game.

I give credit to them.  We’re a good hitting team and that guy stifled a good hitting team.  And it’s just one of those things.

 

Q.  Michael and Justin, talk about what Boyd was doing and just how difficult he was tonight.

MICHAEL BASIL:  He was spotting his fast ball and he was getting his breaking ball on the first strike.  It really kept us off balance a lot, and we wanted to jump on his fastball, but a lot of times when his fastball was in the zone, it was right on the inside corner, outside corner.  Didn’t really leave too much right over the heart of the plate.  Just really spotted the fastball and kept us off balance.

JUSTIN CURETON:  As Michael said, he spotted us very well tonight, keeping us off balance with the off speed and in and out of the zone, his fastball, and pitched very well.

 

Q.  Aaron, just what was clicking for you?  Seemed like you had basically everything working today.  Seems like it was as good an outing as you’ve had in a while.

AARON SLEGERS:  Throwing the first pitch strike has been key for me all year.  That seemed to be effective early.  I got that first pitch strike over.  And it opens up my off speed.

 

Q.  Coach, two things after the game, what did Dave Kaylets (phonetic) say to you after the game?  And I saw you huddled up to your team in the dugout.  Could you share with us what you said to them at that point?

COACH SMITH:  Dave, being an old Central Michigan guy there, Midwest guy, just congratulated us and is certainly a leader within our organization of baseball, but just a simple congratulation on a great season.  And I’ve known Dave for a long time, so that was nice of him to do that.

At the end, very simple.  You’re not going to take away the sting of the loss these guys are competitors.  Every guy in that dugout is a competitor.  They want to win.

All I hope is that whether it’s two hours from now, two days from now, two months from now, that they can sit back and say they were part of the greatest baseball team in Indiana history.  I don’t want to say Big Ten history because I know there’s some championships way back when, but it’s been a while.

And I think it’s important, and it will be ‑‑ we’ve said, maybe we’ll put context to this when it’s over.

But I’m so proud of them.  I want them to recognize ‑‑ I don’t expect it to happen tonight, but I want them to recognize how important that was, not just for Indiana, but for the schools in our conference.  And they have nothing to be ashamed about because we’ve said it, and this is who we are and the feedback from people.  And I’m probably most proud of, whether it’s an usher or photographer or someone will say, Coach, we really enjoyed your team.  You guys were classy.  That means to me as much as anything we do, because that’s what we’re about.

But it was just a simple message of you’re going to hurt, but there’s a lot of positive and it will feel good some day when you sit back and think about it.

 

Q.  Coach hit it right on the head when he said it’s going to sting right now.  But for all three of you, when is it going to be when you can reflect on the season and just your take‑away from this entire journey?

MICHAEL BASIL:  I don’t think it will be that long from now.  We know what we were able to accomplish this year, and we know it was an historic season for Indiana and we’re really proud of that.  But it obviously does sting now, but we’ll be able to enjoy it at some point.

JUSTIN CURETON:  It’s going to take a while, but we played very well this season.  No doubt about it.  The loss tonight stings.  It’s not what we wanted.  We wanted it to go farther.  Didn’t want the season to end like this.  You can’t deny we had a pretty good season.  It will take a while but we can reflect on that.

AARON SLEGERS:  Building off what they said, too, it’s just tough to know that a lot of these guys, it’s our last time playing together.  And guys we respect a lot, our teammates.  We’re all best friends and it’s just really brutal to know it’s the last one.

 

Q.  Aaron, you could see right off the bat that Boyd was going to be pretty sharp tonight.  Does that kind of cut into your ‑‑ do you realize quickly that your margin of error is going to be pretty slim and does that help you raise your game?

AARON SLEGERS:  To a point, it emphasizes every pitch to pitch.  From the beginning, it’s a big emphasis pitch to pitch, but when you know the guy on the other side is throwing well, it gives you a little bit more motivation to make those pitches because you know runs are going to be at a premium.

 

Q.  Aaron, specifically about this game, not necessarily the whole season, but looking down the road, how much do you think you’ll maybe tell friends and family how outstanding you were tonight, even though you came out on the wrong side of it?

AARON SLEGERS:  Looking back on this game, I think I just talk about ‑‑ I don’t know about this game, but a lot of plays were made behind me.  Mike and Chad up the middle made some spectacular plays.  Sam Travis at first.  I just tried to do my part to get the win.

 

Q.  Tracy, looking ahead to the future here, from your perspective, being a northern guy, just talk about what you think this means to the conference.  I know you talked about that, touching on it with the players.  But now people are moving forward, are going to say Indiana is who we want to beat.

COACH SMITH:  First, I hope we get some respect.  But it’s one of those things, you have to ‑‑ I think why it’s so important was to get here, because this thing seems so far ‑‑ I’m talking about the College World Series.  This thing seems so far off for programming.  Hear people talk about it, but until you’re there and experience it, it’s kind of what you see on TV.  And I’m stubborn enough where I’m not going to come out and sit and watch it.  I’m not going to watch everybody else have fun.

I think it was important for our guys to see it.  It was definitely important for me to see it.  As I said, walking with some of the guys that are going to return, now we’ve seen the blueprint.  We know what areas we need to improve on.  We know what it takes to get here.

You’ve gotta be darned good.  And I almost think in some ways it’s harder to get here, and that sounds stupid.  But it’s harder to get here than actually play.

But I think it’s important for your program.  I think you have to take that next step.

But as far as for northern baseball and what that means for Indiana, how that’s going to play out in the future, I’ll temper myself, but I hope people realize we play some pretty good baseball up there.  And it may take a little bit, I always say, to get our sea legs.  And unfortunately, the way that our system is set up right now, that can affect your access to the NCAA tournament.

Indiana hit it right this year.  We played well earlier in the season.  We were able to showcase what we do, but the truth of the matter is, I feel in my heart of hearts, there’s probably three or four schools that we played against in that area that are probably playing the same caliber of baseball, but we just don’t have the access.

I hope we earned some respect and some love from some national publications as we move forward.  But I say that jokingly.

 

Q.  Tracy, LSU came here with a really powerful lineup.  And their coach was pretty candid yesterday.  He said, I think we let the ballpark get in our heads a little bit.  Do you feel you guys did that at all, or do you just look back say we ran into some great left‑handed pitching and we just got beat?

COACH SMITH:  I don’t think our guys ‑‑ honestly, I don’t think it was in their heads.  I really don’t.  The ballpark conversation has been a big piece of a lot of conversations this week.  That’s the only thing, I said last night, that’s the only interesting piece.  I heard Coach Manieri’s remarks, and that’s the only interesting piece.

This is a gorgeous park and this is the grand stage, but it’s sad a little bit to me to me that the conversation comes back to the park and not the game itself and the players and the teams themselves.

But I don’t have a solution.  I don’t think that was a part of what ‑‑ in our failure.  I would agree with you.  We struck a couple of balls well.  I would say the Mississippi State game, it was probably was more of a factor.  But the pitching we faced, those guys were really good.  So small ballpark, big ballpark, I don’t know what the result would have been.

But it wasn’t in our heads.  I really don’t think it was.

THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

 

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

 

 

12 comments

  1. Unbelievable ride the Hoosier Basbeall team took us on this year. What a great season! Not too many people expected them to go this far. I’m looking forward to next season because it will be just as exciting. Let’s make a return trip to Omaha!

  2. Yes, great season! I really thought they would advance…..surprised by the bats, but they faced some tough pitching. Looking ahead to next year, they should be pretty well stacked again. Does anyone know if it is sure thing all 3 guys that were drafted (DeMuth, Slegers and Halstead) will go pro?

  3. I near fell out of my shoes when I took a look at the baseball team 31 man roster. Only 8 are under 6’1″ and a whole covey are over 6’4″. If not for being 235 lb. Schwarber is 1 of the smaller fellas on the team.

  4. It’s not a sure thing, Mike, but I don’t think there’s much chance that DeMuth or Slegers come back as top 10 round picks. DeMuth especially. They’re going to get paid and they’ll be priorities inthe Twins system. I don’t see them coming back. Halstead might. 26th round money is not that great. He can improve on that, even without leverage.

  5. Well, at least we figured out how not to strand RISP– don’t get them there in the first place. Only kidding. Great season, gentleman. It’s a shame the bats were quieted in the CWS. We fared pretty well against the few RHPs we faced, but the lefties shut us down. Something to build on for next year, I guess. Still proud of our Hoosiers. Go Big Red!

  6. Okay, thanks Dustin. I kind of figured Slegers would be gone for sure – with the injuries that can take out a pitcher, not worth the risk there. I was really hoping DeMuth would come back, tho.

  7. The Hoosier baseball team’s postseason fortunes seemed to go south once Tom Crean showed up in Omaha.

    Tom was already ‘O’ and Nebraska. Can’t help but wonder if his mOjO and presence didn’t guide our baseball team toward the ‘O’ for Omaha record. Did he give any pregame locker room speeches?

    “Losing is a disease and you just caught the Curse of the Corny no ex’Cuse Cornhusker Christian Cold…I’m terrible sorry. I heard ESPN would be here..And you know my motto… When cameras roll, oil calls. If you guys only been able to blind their pitching staff with the chrome candy-striped batting helmets slated for next season. Did I tell you Fred Glass dropped his hot dog yesterday and got mustard on my CWS baseball magazine..He wrecked my program! He wrecked my program! I don’t smell chew spit in here..? Tracy, am I wearing too much Axe Instinct?”

  8. A great and historic season for IU. I get the feeling that IU will return to the college world series in the near future.

    It appears that H4H is suffering from a sever case of TCDS. How else to explain what must be the most inappropriate post in a long time?

  9. Softball ran late last night, so I didn’t make it home until the 8th inning. At the risk of sounding like just another whiny blogger crying about the umps, OSU did seem to be getting a generous strike zone. Was it that way the whole game, or was Boyd just that good?

  10. Punjab-

    Outside of the bad luck brought to Omaha by way of propaganda seekers, the Hoosiers were treated plenty fairly by the umps.

    From my vantage point, IU could have had twenty hits against the OSU pitcher…A lot of balls were tagged but just happened to be on a wire aimed at an OSU glove. The freshman for IU that came in to the game to pinch hit(Frame? Sorry, not going to look up his name right now)struck the ball twice like a lightning bolt off Roy Hobbs’ bat..Just wasn’t in the cards. One of those hits drops(one was stabbed by the pitcher making a lucky guess to its rocket path) and it’s a different ballgame.

  11. Don’t know where I got ‘Frame’…

    Nick Ramos is the IU freshman that hit the ball twice like a rocket. Like the announcer said..(paraphrasing here) The kid did everything you could ask of a pinch hitter. Took some mean cuts at strikes..Didn’t buckle under pressure..It just happened the ball went directly at somebody in an Oregon State uniform placed perfectly in its pathway..

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