Itâ€™s amazing how quickly the conversation can change. A day beginning with slow, unpolished play ended in excitement. IU players T.C. Knipp and Michael Basil essentially helped the Hoosiers avoid what would have been a head scratching loss to conclude the weekend.
Now, thatâ€™s not to take away from the win. The Hoosiers looked lifeless for six and a half innings before storming back with a 6-1 run ending with Basilâ€™s walk off single which scored Knipp after his game tying triple with the bases loaded. IU took two of three from the Buckeyes for the weekend series and opened its Big Ten season on a strong note.
Now back to the aforementioned conversation change. The feeling for much of the game was a little like Butler basketball felt most of Monday night, that example is probably a little extreme considering the importance of each game but there were similarities to both, the main being Ohio State was not dominating the play, it was just not losing it.
The 8-2 deficit IU fell into did not feel like better play from the team from Columbus, it just was making one more play the whole game.
The mistakes were all fundamental, hammered everyday in practice. It started in the third inning when third baseman Dustin DeMuth overthrew home on a short hit to third that gave OSU a 7-2 lead. The Hoosierâ€™s next round at the plate in the fourth inning blew in the much of the same direction.Â Knipp struck out looking at the plate, Basil doubled to left field but then was caught stealing third followed by Justin Cureton dropping in a fly ball over third base into shallow left field before getting thrown out at second for trying to take an extra base.
Even in the seventh inning when the Hoosierâ€™s started hinting at a comeback, the breaks did not seem to break in itâ€™s favor: Micah Johnson was called for interference at second base while trying to break up a double play, which in turn Josh Lyon had to be called out at first base on a play where he would easily have been safe.
Credit is due to Indiana for not folding. The defense came up big in the eighth and ninth innings, holding to consecutive three up, three down innings.
The bottom of the ninth brought bright spots but still the mental errors kept coming. With the bases loaded, Lyon struck out looking after Johnson struck out swinging for the second out, IU was left with only one more chance.
Thatâ€™s when Knipp came up and crushed one off the wall in right center field easily standing up on his way to third base and clearing the bases. From there Basil finished the job with a rip up the middle and a victory jog to first base.
The conversation on the way out of Sembower Field was one out away from being one about IU shooting itself in the foot with fielding and base running errors, and ended with a celebration walk off.
Was that the comeback IU needed to propel this young team to a great season or did it simply just mask the mental errors for another day?
Only time will tell.
But today is a day to celebrate, and why not? The weather is beautiful, Little 500 week is starting, and IU just bested Ohio State in a great home stand.
The nitpicking can wait for another day.