After losing a lead in the eighth inning, the Indiana University baseball team nearly pulled off a ninth-inning comeback on Monday night.
Mississippi State scored three runs in the top of the eighth to pull off a 5-4 victory in the second round of the College World Series but it wasn't until a great play by first baseman Wes Rea that the Bulldogs could celebrate.
"That's a heck of a game," IU coach Tracy Smith said. "It had all kinds of drama and things you want to see. But our problem tonight is that we had some really bad at-bats in the middle of that game.
"When you let good teams hang around, crazy things can happen in the end of games."
Trailing 5-3, pinch hitter Chris Sujka led off the bottom of the ninth with a single. Sam Travis then smashed a one-out double off the wall in left center field.
Sujka scored on a ground out to second by Scott Donley. With two outs, Michael Basil hit a slow roller to reliever Jonathan Holder. He picked up the ball and fired to first but the ball skipped about two feet from the bag.
The 6-foot-5, 275-pound Rea had the ball bound towards his chest and out of his glove but he caught it with his right hand and stayed on the bag.
Travis would have been the tying run.
Indiana (49-14) will now be forced into the losers' bracket. The Hoosiers will play Oregon State (51-12) on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. EDT. The No. 3 seed Beavers pounded Louisville 11-4 on Monday.
"A loss is a loss," Smith said. "We have a very confident group and they should be. We're just going to move on now to Oregon State."
The Hoosiers did have nine hits but made two errors and struck out 14 times. The Hoosiers were 1 of 10 with runners on base and 2 of 11 with runners in scoring position during the contest.
"They got the big hit and we didn't," Smith said. "I thought both clubs executed on the mound. Some times it comes down to just that, when you strike out 14 times you are not asking the opposition to make plays."
Freshman Will Coursen-Carr went 5.1 innings for the Hoosiers and allowed four hits and two earned runs, while Ryan Halstead (4-5) was tagged for the loss after going 2.1 innings and allowing four hits and three runs.
Chad Girodo came on in relief of Trevor Fitts in the third inning and worked 6.1 innings and allowed seven hits but only two runs. He struck out 10.