Live blog: Indiana vs. Radford #iubase

FINAL: Indiana 7, Radford 1. The Hoosiers received a stellar start from Kyle Hart, turned a triple play and advanced to play the winner of Vanderbilt-Radford on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.

EIGHTH INNING: Kyle Hart’s day is done after a season-high seven innings. Hart through first-pitch strikes to 17 of the 24 batters he faced and cruised through his best start of the season on 92 pitches. He’s replaced by Thomas Belcher, who worked out of a two-on two-out jam by inducing an inning-ending groundout from Johnsonbaugh. INDIANA 7, RADFORD 1.

SEVENTH INNING: Indiana added three runs in the seventh, including a two-out, two-run homer to right by Craig Dedelow. Nick Ramos also scored on a double play ball off the bat of Scott Donley earlier in the inning. Radford got one run back, ending Hart’s shutout on an RBI groundout by Hunter Higgerson. INDIANA 7, RADFORD 1.

SIXTH INNING: Kyle Hart continues to deal for Indiana. Hart has a season-high six strikeouts on only 78 pitches. He’s retired 10 in a row and has Indiana in good shape a weekend-opening win. Hart threw only 10 pitches in the sixth, also putting himself in good position to go at least one more inning. That’s important if IU coach Chris Lemonis chooses to go with a staff day on Saturday. Without getting deep into the bullpen — or into at all so far — IU could go with a Harrison/Effross, Harrison/Kelzer combination on Saturday. But that’s looking ahead. INDIANA 4, RADFORD 0.

FIFTH INNING: This seems to be Kyle Hart’s most pitch efficient start of the season. The left-hander stands at 68 pitches after five innings after throwing a 68 mile per hour fastball by Brad Keen for the final out of the fifth. Hart has now retired seven batters in a row. Despite action in the Radford bullpen, Boyle remained in the game and retired IU in order in the top half. He’s 84 pitches through five. INDIANA 4, RADFORD 0.

FOURTH INNING: Indiana extends their lead to 4-0 and gets the Radford bullpen into action. Credit Brian Wilhite with getting it going. Wilhite, who has been the focus of a few clutch plays down the stretch this season, made great contact on a 2-1 fastball and drove it to the left-center gap for a two-run double. Nick Ramos brought him home on a triple — IU’s second of the day — to the same spot. In the bottom half, Kyle Hart continues to cruise. Hart has thrown 38 of his 56 pitches for strikes so far. His season high is 93 pitches on two occasions. INDIANA 4, RADFORD 0.

THIRD INNING: Indiana takes the early lead thanks to Casey Rodrigue, who kept running despite hitting a high pop fly to shallow right field. Three Highlanders converged on the ball, but none of them could grab it as Rodrigue pulled into third. It was scored as a one-out triple for Rodrigue, who scored two batters later on Brad Hartong’s single to left field. Not much trouble for Hart in the bottom of the inning. He allowed a one-out single but ended the frame on a 4-6-3 double play. INDIANA 1, RADFORD 0.

SECOND INNING: Indiana threatened with back-to-back singles by Donley and Sowers to start the inning, but couldn’t cash in. IU coach Chris Lemonis asked for a sacrifice bunt from Craig Dedelow, who advanced both runners into scoring position. Donley followed by getting caught in between home and third on a hopper to Boyle for the second out, and Will Nolden grounded to second to end the inning. Kyle Hart earned two quick outs to start the bottom half before Aaron Scoville reached on an infield single to shortstop. A diving stop by third baseman Brian Wilhite ended the bottom half. INDIANA 0, RADFORD 0.

FIRST INNING: An ominous start was nullified by a 2-6-2 triple play. Yup, a triple play. Hart allowed back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners for No. 3 hitter Patrick Marshall, who struck out looking at a fastball on the outside corner. Brad Hartong threw to second to nab Josh Reavis on a steal attempt before Nick Ramos quickly threw back to Hartong, who tagged leadoff man Shane Johnsonbaugh between third and home. INDIANA 0, RADFORD 0.

Indiana takes batting practice before Friday's NCAA Tournament opener in Nashville. (Mike Miller | Herald-Times)
Indiana takes batting practice before Friday’s NCAA Tournament opener in Nashville. (Mike Miller | Herald-Times)

PREGAME: Indiana’s third consecutive NCAA Tournament begins this afternoon at Vanderbilt’s Hawkins Field, where the No. 3 Hoosiers will meet No. 2 Radford. It’ll be a matchup of ace left-handers between IU’s Kyle Hart (4-0, 1.48 ERA) and Radford’s Michael Boyle (10-2, 2.27 ERA).

An overcast morning has turned into a party cloudy afternoon here in Nashville. The Hoosiers will be the visitors in this opening contest, before facing either No. 1 Vanderbilt or No. 4 Lipscomb on Saturday. Updates to come here on the Scoop, as well as via Twitter. You can find me there at @MikeMillerHt.

In the meantime, here’s our weeklong coverage of Indiana’s trip to the Nashville Regional:
Today: Hoosiers hope to crash Vandy’s regional party | Kyle Hart finally gets NCAA Tournament shot
Thursday: Lemonis shaped by tournament snub 25 years ago | Nashville will have Bloomington flavor
Wednesday: Indiana takes ownership of Big Ten’s success
Tuesday: IU lands No. 3 seed at Nashville Regional