Kaletha’s walk-off lifts Hoosiers over Boilers, 7-5

Logan Kaletha wasn’t sure just how far it would go.

The Indiana leadoff man knew he put a good swing on Cameron Williams’ 2-2 curveball in the bottom of the 13th inning. Yet, throughout the afternoon, he’d also watched several other hard-hit balls linger and die in the cold April air.

This one, however, didn’t disappoint.

Kaletha drove Williams’ one-out breaking ball over the left-centerfield fence for a two-run homer, helping the No. 16 Hoosiers walk off 7-5 winners and clinch a series victory against Purdue before an announced crowd of 2,265 at Bart Kaufman Field.

“I just kind of watched it the whole way and was pretty excited when it went out,” Kaletha said.

That much was clear by his home run trot, with Kaletha swinging his arms and motioning to his Hoosiers as he galloped around the bases. As Kaletha approached home plate, his teammates were already there waiting to swallow him whole.

They certainly did, jumping up and down, electric from the jolt of their latest comeback victory.

In a game where IU (22-6, 3-2) trailed 5-1 midway through the fourth inning, the Hoosiers offered the latest reminder of their resiliency, depth and balance.

They made several clutch defensive plays in the latter innings, received outstanding bullpen contributions from Matt Lloyd and Cal Krueger and, eventually, found the one big swing from Kaletha, who has excelled in this situation before.

Kaletha provided the homer that lifted IU to one of its earliest come-from-behind wins of the season, hitting a walk-off grand slam against South Alabama on Feb. 18.

Sunday’s big swing was unquestionably more satisfying.

There was the rivalry component, of course, and the fact that Kaletha, a Michigan City native, grew up playing with and against a few Boilermakers, including Purdue Friday night starter Tanner Andrews.

Perhaps best of all was what this win meant to the players around Kaletha — a delightful result on a day when nearly everyone seemed to contribute.

“That was probably one of the better team wins we’ve had so far,” Kaletha said.

The winning effort began on the mound.

After starter Cam Beauchamp and reliever Connor Manous struggled through the first few innings, Krueger and Lloyd largely shut down the Boilers (15-12, 4-2) across the final eight frames.

Krueger tossed three perfect innings, notching four strikeouts before yielding to Lloyd, who locked in over five impressive innings of work.

Lloyd, Indiana’s closer and super utility man, seldom pitches more than an inning or two. On Sunday, a day that he started at second base, Lloyd more than doubled his workload.

“It gets tough with Lloyd, too, because he becomes the DH and you’re taking that out of the game,” IU coach Chris Lemonis said of sticking with Lloyd longer than usual. “You have a 27-man roster for the weekend, so I’m scratching my head and we’re looking at the rule book to make sure we have everything right because you want to pinch run somebody and do some different things, too. You’re kind of limited when it’s Lloyd because he came off the field, just from a rule standpoint.”

Sticking with him on Sunday worked well.

With Krueger and Lloyd handling Purdue’s lineup, Indiana mounted its comeback at the plate.

It started with a pair of RBI singles by Elijah Dunham and Justin Walker in the bottom of the fourth. Matt Gorski followed with his own run-scoring base hit in the fifth, cutting Purdue’s lead to 5-4.

Then, in the seventh, Scotty Bradley continued his recent torrid streak at the plate with a solo homer to right field that tied the game at 5-all.

“That pitcher (Trevor Cheaney) had a really good breaking ball and he got through Ryan (Fineman) and Logan (Sowers) relatively quick,” Bradley said. “At that point, with two outs, he’s spinning a lot of breaking balls. I figured he wanted it to be a quick inning. I went up there sitting fastball. Getting my swing off, I got a good piece of it and got (it). Anything to help the team. Glad I could do it. What an unbelievable win it was.”

It was made all the sweeter by the defensive gems Indiana enjoyed late.

Walker, who moved from short to second when Lloyd went to pitch, made a pair of athletic plays in the field to help the Hoosiers escape the 10th.

The best defensive play of the day belonged to shortstop Jeremy Houston in the top of the 12th.

After pinch hitter Nick Evarts led off with a double down the left field line, Houston got IU out of the inning with a great play in the hole. He spun to snag a ball to his right, then shot up and threw a strike to first base for the third out.

Runner stranded. Tie preserved.

“That’s our biggest strength of our team,” Lemonis said of IU’s depth. “As a game goes on like that on a Sunday, we’re running out Cal Krueger, Matt Lloyd. I’ve got B.J. Sabol, who doesn’t pitch on the weekend. He’s been as good as anybody. That’s one of the strengths of our team. Our players, too. I mean, who’s bringing Jeremy Houston in off the bench to make those plays? That’s one of the keys for us. It’s hard for me to manage sometimes because you’re trying to keep them happy, but they’ve played really well.”

Well enough to send a message.

With the talent, depth and experience Indiana enjoys, these Hoosiers are never out of it.

“That’s the trademark of this group,” Lemonis said. “… It’s just an older mature (team) and a good bullpen lets you keep playing and fighting in those games. We’re pretty offensive. I think they all thought somebody was going to hit a home run starting about the eighth inning and they were swinging for it. Somebody finally got it.”

30 comments

  1. Surprised that no one is commenting on IU’s baseball team, now ranked in the top 20 and coming off a series win over Purdue. I’m excited to see IU back amongst the top teams in college baseball after having our previous coach poached by Arizona State a few years ago. It’s a major accomplishment for a “northern” team to be ranked this high in a sport dominated by teams located in the southern part of the country, where weather and fan support is a huge advantage (ever see an SEC baseball game?). If IU can keep Lemonis, given the excellent baseball facilities and the fact that IU is located farther south than all other Big Ten teams, maybe IU baseball can become the dominant Big Ten baseball program like men’s soccer has over the years.

  2. Interesting that the conference has awarded Omaha the baseball tournament championship for the next 5 seasons. It’s a very nice facility but Omaha has no Big Ten ties. Nebraska hasn’t made a blip on the conference baseball radar since joining. No other school is anywhere near Omaha.

    Sure, Indy has had multiple championships but Indy is a Big Ten town with two conference members nearby and several others a reasonable drive away. You could even make a case for Chicago to a lesser extent.

    Omaha? May as well be in Oklahoma City.

    1. I live in the Four Corners area of Colorado. New Mexico is a half hour away. Arizona and Utah are about an hour.

      I am, quite literally, hundreds of miles closer to Omaha than some Big Ten schools.

      1. Good thoughts I agree with.
        1 thing Chet and I believe I read it in the last couple weeks that College Park is farther south than Bloomington.

  3. Don’t really know if Smith was poached….How can anyone forget his son getting involved with the Mellencamp thugs in a rather ugly incident that finally got settled via the straightforward judicial process in Monroe County (wink-wink)?
    Getting away from that was probably a necessity. It should have also been a necessary in taking the name of Mellencamp off of anything at IU.
    Donating shouldn’t allow for offspring to run around town in gang-like fashion.

    Throw in the recent unveiling of the despicable corporate culture existing at Cuban’s Dallas Mavaricks’ organization…? Do we really value such primitive people attached to the IU name?

    I must admit…we have our variety. chokers …thugs….misogynists…and carnival clowns pitching televangelists. Are you sure we’re in the “northern” sector of the country? Sure sounds like southern hospitality to me.

  4. Po, I’d love to talk baseball and I’ve been following just about every match up. MM & Andy are still tweeting away during the games, which has been a blast.

    I haven’t commented on baseball much because there seems to be little appetite for people to actually talk about the game. It always devolves in to Mellencamp and horrible Tracy Smith and his gangster sons.

    Oh, and there it is. Literally refreshed and saw Harv’s comment pop up. Not a single word about the game, the series or the walk off homerun (which was enjoyable watching Purdue’s CF run into the wall awkwardly). Copy and paste from some earlier thread about beatings and misbehavior.

    So yeah. Happy to chat about baseball.

    1. If Chesterville ever produces another college athlete we’ll hear all about it.

      Otherwise, it’s all whine all the time.

  5. a. Nobody knows if Smith was “poached.” He had a very nice situation at IU…until the ugly night his son and the Mellencamp boys decided to throw thug behavior in the laps of IU and IU baseball.
    b. There is a tendency for Podunker to sell coaching departures as always having to do with finances(e.g. Fred’s inability to put dollars in anything other than basketball). I doubt Smith’s departure had anything to do with a “poaching” over finances/salary.
    c. There is a tendency for Podunker to paint IU fans as some sort of out-of-the-norm fan base for not getting equally passionate over the “other” sports outside of men’s basketball. That shouldn’t really be acceptable. All colleges have their trademark…and their traditions. But if you want to consider such targeting at our fan base as fair, then he should (1) provide evidence that he attends baseball games…and (2) not leave out facts that could have influenced a coaching departure(e.g. campus scandal, playing players hurt, horrific quality of coaching, etc).

    If this spin artist would simply offer congrats to the baseball team without the snide aimed at the fan base or Scoop participants, then you would not have received my rebuttal.

  6. We have season tickets for the I U Baseball games, the atmosphere is great and Kaufman Field is a great facility. The attendance will get better once the weather gets warmer. tough watching the game in forty degree weather, feels like football in late November. Tracy Smith is having a tough season at ASU, their record is 14-18, and 10 and 13 at home, their baseball fans are like I U’s basketball fans, expect greatness every season. Maybe the grass isn’t so green at ASU.

  7. Tracy Smith left IU for ASU because ASU offered to pay him about 50% more than IU was paying him, and he thought he could pursue National Championships at ASU. Call it poaching, call it luring, call it whatever you want, but ASU hired a great recruiter and our most successful baseball coach away from IU. Although Lemonis seems to be filling his shoes quite nicely, I wonder if he’s maintained the Southern California recruiting pipeline that Smith established? Anybody know how many California HS graduates there are on IU’s roster this year?

    1. Sure, he got his cake and ate it too….Doesn’t mean he was still not seeking to leave because of matters at IU outside of finances.
      And as stated by IU South, maybe the grass isn’t so green at ASU(along with current record).

  8. I don’t think Lemonis is the one with the California pipeline problem, ASU has only 9 California players on their 34 man 2018 baseball roster.

  9. Ton of Indiana kids on the IU Baseball roster. Great to see them getting it done with homegrown talent. Maybe it isn’t just a basketball state…Long time ago, but I recall two of the greatest athletes from my hometown high school were multi-sport all-stars. The pair played varsity football, basketball, and baseball by their sophomore years…They were phenomenal in all three sports. One got very close to a pro baseball career. Unfortunately, the other all-state/all-star blew out his knee in a football practice…He was never the same. He had power and size.. He was originally a starting qb but the head coach put him at running back(pounded the hell out of him) because he wanted his son at starting qb.

    I think Indiana and the Midwest can probably produce all the talent IU needs to put a very competitive team onto the field.

  10. I must admit I am pleasantly surprised to see all the commenting regarding the baseball program. Po stole my thunder when he started the discussion. The difficulty for a cold weather school to present a quality program of this magnitude shouldn’t go without notice. The disadvantages of being north of the Mason-Dixon line are difficult to overcome. Most of the warm weather teams have as much as 4 months more of time to be outside working on your game in the spring alone.

    Hats off to the team and the program.

    1. But for every HS prospect north of Indpls., Springfield, Cincy, KC and Pitt Bloomington is a favorable distance proximity from home and a better climate to boot. Precisely where about 70% of Coach Lemonis roster is from. The Mellencamp facility is a terrific advantage for IU baseball. Something many southern programs don’t have and the last time I was down south it frequently rains. In fact I hold high hopes Mellencamp is expanded or multiplied in the next 3-4 years. Why not multiple the advantage for all outdoor sports?

  11. Division 1 baseball teams are limited to 11.7 scholarships per year and can be spread over 27 players, that works out to .43 per player, of course some of the better players will get a full scholarship. If the roster has 34 players you need 7 walk-ons to complete the roster. The coaches in the non football and basketball sports are trying to get the NCAA to allow more scholarships for their teams.

  12. Interesting fact there, IU South…So maybe it’s more a quantity thing than a quality thing…? The South simply has more baseball players and scholarship disparities (compared to the numbers filled for football and basketball) are less an issue with a bigger pool of baseball talent. Deeper teams…but not necessarily higher caliber players at every position(and this could go the same for California)?
    You may have just unveiled the most important detail in this entire conversation.

    It always feels to me that there isn’t a state in the country that gets more rain and yuk weather than Indiana…..but I wouldn’t trade the changes in seasons for anything. Football ain’t football without the cool Canadian air bringing autumn to the doorstep of Friday nights.
    The seasons are such a wonderful metaphor for all things of the human existence. We are rarely a constant and the ever-changing portrait of the calendar’s landscape is the variety so often taken for granted on this beautiful and unique planet. May the heat of the summer sun thaw the cold dread of mortal anguish …May the rains of spring be defied by the blossoms of all things that can be reborn. May the dormancy of winter allow us to rest and warm by the fires and dream of things to come.

  13. More scholarships for baseball means more scholarships for women’s softball, or whatever women’s sports a particular school has. I’d love to see more scholarships going to baseball and softball, and other non-revenue-producing sports, but the limits are there to protect schools that don’t have lucrative football programs that could fund scholarships for the other sports. Can you imagine if the wealthiest football schools like Alabama, Michigan, OSU, Clemson, etc. were not limited in the scholarships they could provide athletes competing in non-revenue-producing sports? Those schools would have a huge advantage, and schools like IU, that don’t produce huge football revenue, would soon be outspent across the board. Unless all schools were required to share all their athletic revenues with all the other teams in their conference, college athletics would quickly become a two-teared system, with the haves and the have-nots.

  14. I get so tired of hearing “non-revenue” this…and “non-revenue” that. Hells bells, a college education puts many families in more debt than a home mortgage. Some students will need the next 20 years before their heads even begin to get above water…They all step into the swamp of expenses that they believe will be easy to crawl out. Somebody is making some damn huge revenue somewhere. 90% of the student population are walk-on’s. There isn’t a thick checkbook…There isn’t a scholarship or free ride. There isn’t any source of revenue to pay for the mountain of costs piled onto their future pursuits of happiness.
    When will these cash cows of big time athletics and mega salaries offered coaches and millions awaiting every one-and-done ever mean an ounce of relief for the broke-ass average student putting their foolish ass in a seat to cheer the rich?

      1. Back in the day…I used to make great points when I went to sharpen my pencil.

  15. Zach Osterman wrote a really cool piece about how things have changed for the baseball program.

    I won’t get into details because it is boring and I’m assuming many of you didn’t come here to cure your insomnia, but I walked on for a few months in the late 90’s.

    My high school field was better than Sembower field. Actually, about 50% of the little league fields I played on were better. I love how Zach described in that piece how you actually had to throw up hill from right field to reach 3rd base. That was absolutely true and it was a total joke.

    The athletic department prior to Knight leaving was an absolute joke. It was run worse than most high schools. Even at the time, we used to laugh at how cheap everything was. Even Yeagley was running the vastly more successful (at the time) soccer program on a shoestring budget. We used to make half-jokes that we should have a bake sale so we get someone to level out right field.

    Tracy Smith took the job and got IU back into Big Ten contention before the new stadium was built. I couldn’t believe it. It was incredible. Then, the much maligned Fred Glass delivered that stadium after the Big Ten Network revenue started flowing in. That channel changed everything.

    Tracy Smith invited every single player to come back and join the program when that stadium opened up. It was a personal invitation. I was a nothing nobody who contributed nothing. But I got an invitation. When I was in B-Town, I took him up on it and got to see Schwarber’s team play and Tracy Smith took us around personally. He was incredibly gracious and he didn’t look at past players with any sort of disdain or condescension. I was really happy to see the results of the investment. The new stadium is so sweet. But I knew the program was in great hands. Smith was building a program that was sustainable beyond the “Head Coach/Manager.”

    So you’ll have to pardon me if I’m tired of reading our resident Eeyore repeatedly dragging his name through the mud over and over again. He’s been called on it repeatedly, but without fail, if a baseball discussion gets going past 3 comments, it’s “Mellencamp,” “gangsters,” “he left Bloomington for ASU because he’s shady!!” And our reporters and writers get a landslide of posts decrying them for not reporting on it the way he wants it. Harvard, you’re a constant conclusion in search of evidence.

    Furthermore, Harvard. Straight talk. Your act is old. I’ve tried to just ignore it. But I worn out by your baseless nonsense. They say “suffer fools gladly.” Not today.

    1. Osterman- Remember him well from Basketblog days. Excellent writer. I don’t know how many times I expressed such an opinion on Basketblog while he was barely wet behind the ears and pumping out nice little pieces for IDS. Remember one I particularly liked after he watched the Kelvin recruits play in some sort of preseason event in Noblesville…. He can sell. He can write. And he knows who he works for….Access, baby. Access. It was also fun when he used to be a guest speaker on ScoopTalk.
      One other line I particularly remember from him came after his graduation and he was coming back to Bloomington on visit(or maybe work)…..”Lock up your daughters…Zack is in town.” He thinks rather highly of himself and maybe he should. Who knows..? Being humble gets you nowhere these days.

      I used to call him the Osterizer….The dude could power blend a story and give it the feel of a long ago time.

  16. If you’d been on the receiving end of the thug attack, I’d suspect you’d feel a bit differently.
    Funny how I never remember any public apology for any of it ….Yet, every single kid who played under Kelvin were the objects of hatred and racism…all the while being cloaked in the ‘Good Book.’ Double Down must have never learned about double standards. Do you really think any of Sampson’s players pounding the living daylights out of the wrong face on someone’s front porch would have been offered second chances and a 2-year judicial process to play itself out? You are damn naive….or damn purposefully complacent in playing it stupid.
    Lastly, I don’t care about your pigeonholing my viewpoints on the matter. I’ve been around long enough to have seen far worse here. I’ve seen singular comments filled with more vile than a thousand of my rants(e.g. telling someone they have spent their lifetime in a waiting room …or wishing someone in a body bag…or hoping someone slits their wrists).
    You best look all your buddies and email contacts just as straight in the flawless eye….or I shall have to remind just how many have been thrown under a bus at their whim.

  17. I didn’t return anything vile. Just gave my personal experience and you returned fire with more of your same ‘ole, same ‘ole. You’ve managed to pivot to Sampson in one pirouette away from derailing the thread again. That means a Crean-chasing comment is coming in a follow-up. Again, nothing of relevance. Just you trying to hang your hat on some kind of moral superiority over everyone else that doesn’t share your view.

    All you the rest of the way.

  18. Excellent posts, DD. I attended IU in the late 70’s and had a friend on IU’s baseball team. I went to a few games back in the day to watch him play. The field was a disgrace back then. Twenty-or-so years later, I returned to IU and saw Sembower field. I was embarrassed for my alma mater! It looked like it had not changed since I was a student. Credit to Fred or whoever was responsible for creating the Big Ten’s best baseball facility. The baseball facility went from worst to best.

    As for our resident eyesore, just ignore him. Don’t read his posts. Don’t respond to anyone else who refers to his posts. You remember the old saying, “feed a cold, starve a fever?” Well, the resident eyesore is this site’s infection that causes the fever, so starve it by not reading his posts or addressing any comments to him. I’ve gotten in the habit of just passing right over his comments; haven’t read one of them in a long time. Doing so makes this site so much more enjoyable. It’s not hard to do. If you try, you’ll get the hang of it soon enough and will be glad you did it.

    1. It appears your “ignore him” strategy was excellently employed in the 10 years you convinced yourself Crean could coach. Practice makes perfect.

      You guys should critique the resident halls in the same manner you go after fields of Hoosier dreams.
      Foster Quad makes a prison facility look luxurious. Jodie Foster hung out in nicer accommodations as a hooker in Taxi Driver. Last time I was in Bloomington, it was its same half-century old moldy dugout self. Have they replaced the asbestos floor tiles installed in ’63?
      Poor disadvantaged baseball players….waa..waa…waa.

      I would suggest reading up on Lester Chambers…..and then go cry in some beer for guys subjected to the terrible fate of a sloped outfield. Find yourself some time.

Comments are closed.