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Drew Ashley Snaps Indiana Baseball’s Losing Streak With Walk-Off Home Run

With two outs in the top of the ninth in a 1-0 game, Indiana baseball head coach Chris Lemonis opted to pull reliever Cal Krueger after 2.2 innings pitched and bring in BJ Sabol for a lefty-lefty matchup.

The move didn’t work. Illinois tied the game 1-1 and Indiana could feel its four game losing streak possibly pushing to five with extra innings on the horizon.

With the game still tied in the bottom of the 12th, freshman Drew Ashley, checking in at 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds, led off the frame. He sent a fly ball to right field perfectly into the jet stream sailing over the wall for a walk-off home run as Indiana snapped its four game losing streak 2-1 and picked up its 30thwin of the season.

“It just kind of kept carrying and carrying and I’m glad it did,” Lemonis said. “He’s a smaller guy so you don’t know but there’s some juice in the bat but he’s been hot of late too, just usually has really good at bats.”

The walk off was Ashley’s first career home run as a Hoosier, but that wouldn’t have been possible without the stellar start from sophomore Cam Beauchamp on the mound.

Making his second consecutive Saturday start he allowed just two hits and struck out four to keep Indiana ahead all game until the ninth.

Indiana starting pitcher Cam Beauchamp went six shutout innings and allowed just two hits in Saturday’s 2-1 12 inning win vs Illinois. (Mark Timko/HN)

He gave up just one hit through his first five innings of work and faced one over the minimum in innings three through five. That kept his pitch count down finishing at 88 on the afternoon and allowed him to escape a tough first and third jam with two outs in the sixth to keep Indiana ahead in a tight game.

“It was his best outing of his career I think it’s the first time he really pitched,” Lemonis said. “And he just pitched and it’s a good lineup and he just pitched in and out and didn’t leave them any balls over the plate and gave us a great outing.”

The last time Beauchamp pitched six innings was March 18 against Northern Illinois. With Indiana’s usual Saturday starter Pauly Milto out for the second straight weekend with arm soreness and with the game going to extra innings, Lemonis said it was key for him to eat up innings.

As for Ashley, he picked up the first three hit game and home run of his Indiana career Saturday. After getting the start back-to-back days, he’s now 5-for-8 in the series.

“Whenever you’re trying to do it for the team, you’re not really worried about your individual results,” Ashley said. “That’s when everything comes together and that’s why we’re a team.”

Indiana still owns the best team ERA in the nation at 2.41, but the hitting has struggled to get it going as of late averaging just over three runs in the last five games.

On Saturday they struggled once again by picking up just two extra base hits in the 12 inning affair, but they finally pulled through with the big hit off the bat of Ashley to end the four game skid.

“It feels good our kids are joking because we give out a game shirt and they want to burn number 30 because its been sitting there all week,” Lemonis said. “For our guys it was a good win, tough win, we’re still not swinging it great but when you pitch and play defense you always have a chance.”

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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