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Back-To-Back Home Runs Late Gives Indiana Baseball Dramatic Win

Indiana senior right fielder Logan Sowers gets ready for a pitch. Sowers went 2-for-3 Saturday against Northern Illinois including the game winning home run in the eighth inning. (Mark Timko/ HN)

Friday night, Indiana baseball led wire to wire in the opening game of the three game weekend series against Northern Illinois. Saturday was different for Indiana, having to come from behind to win.

Two back-to-back solo home runs in the bottom of the eighth off the bats of junior third baseman Luke Miller and senior right fielder Logan Sowers gave Indiana a dramatic 4-3 win in game two of the series.

“I warned the guys, because it’s a good team and we saw a really good arm today and I knew we would have to compete,” IU Coach Chris Lemonis said. “It’s baseball so the day before doesn’t matter.”

The Hoosier offense exploded for 18 runs on 17 hits in the opener Friday, but Saturday they were held to just four runs on six hits.

NIU junior starting pitcher Tanner Foster went seven strong innings for the Huskies after they were forced to use eight pitchers in their mid-week game Wednesday and four Friday.

He kept Indiana off balance mixing and matching his off-speed and fastball all game long. When the Hoosiers got to the bullpen, they were able to hit back-to-back big flies off the Huskies closer, Andrew Frankenreider.

“I was just trying to hit something in play, just trying to hit something hard and stay on the ball,” Miller said about his seventh home run of the season that was crushed over the left field fence on a 1-2 slider. “I was out a little in front, but I just got my hands to it and got a good barrel on it.”

Frankenreider threw a first pitch ball to Sowers. On the next pitch, the senior promptly took him deep beyond the right center fence for his third home run of the season.

“I was really happy with that swing,” Sowers said. “I’ve been hitting a lot of hard line drives and ground balls, I just haven’t really gotten the ball up in the air and as you can see from that swing whenever I get the ball in the air and get it on the barrel, it’ll go.”

Miller’s home run capped off a 3-for-4 day at the plate for him and Sowers’ long ball made him finish the day 2-for-3 at the dish.

After coming into the series hitting just .261 on the season, Miller has gone 5-for-7 at the plate in the first two games against NIU upping his average to .312 on the year.

“I think it’s just the approach,” Miller said. “Just trying to hit the ball hard instead of honestly trying to do too much. Just staying within myself and having a better swing.”

Saturday’s 4-3 comeback was the Hoosiers seventh win of the year when trailing or tied in the seventh inning or later. Indiana had a 2-1 lead heading into the top of the eighth until a few defensive miscues gave NIU a 3-2 lead.

Lemonis said he was focused on keeping his group poised heading into the bottom half of the inning.

“We’ve had to do that a couple times and some of those games down in Myrtle Beach we won at the very end of the game and I give the guys a lot of credit,” Lemonis said. “That comes with being an older team too though, next year we might not be that team, but right now some of these guys have been around it for a long time.”

Zain Pyarali

I am a junior from Edwardsville, Illinois majoring in Sports Media. I formerly worked for the Indiana Daily Student for two years serving as the Sports Editor and beat reporters for Men’s Basketball, Men’s Soccer, Baseball and Field Hockey during my time with the student newspaper. Currently I am the Men’s Basketball beat reporter for IU Student Television while I also broadcast games for BTN Student U. Email me: zpyarali@thehoosiernetwork.com and follow me on Twitter: @ZainPyarali

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