Smith was saving DeNato for next batter

IU coach Tracy Smith was asked if he thought about going to Joey DeNato to face the left-handed Tommy Edman in the bottom of the ninth Monday. He said he had planned to go to DeNato to face the next hitter, left handed batter Danny Diekroger. He said with Edman being a switch hitter he would have batted right handed and the wind was blowing out to left field.

The stage appeared to be set for the Indiana baseball team heading to the bottom of the ninth inning Monday in the Regional championship game with Stanford.

IU clung to a 4-3 lead and reliever Scott Effross would face the 8-9-1 hitters in the Stanford lineup.

Effross had come in relief in the seventh. He had retired all four batters he had faced. In the eighth he had recorded two strikeouts including a backwards K on designated hitter Dominic Jose to end the inning.

As the ninth began, IU coach Tracy Smith had both a right hander and a left hander up in the bullpen. Luke Harrison was the righty and staff ace Joey DeNato was the left handed pitcher who was up.

The first batter Effross faced was Wayne Taylor, the hero from Sunday night for the Cardinal. Taylor hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning Sunday to rally Stanford back from a 6-4 deficit in the eighth. Stanford would eventually win 10-7 to force one more game Monday.

This time Taylor ripped a single to center field. No. 9 hitter Brett Michael Doran followed by sacrificing Taylor to second.

Next up was the top of the order. Freshman Tommy Edman, who had come up big in the series, was batting left handed and many wondered if Smith might go with DeNato out of the bullpen.

Instead, he stayed with Effross and the rest is history. Edman hit the first pitch deep over the right field fence for a walk off home run and a 5-4 Stanford victory that ended the season.

Smith was asked if he thought about going with DeNato in the ninth.

"I was going to go to (DeNato) the next hitter, if the kid was a switch hitter, so it didn't matter if we spun him around,'' Smith said. "Truthfully, the flags played a little bit into the equation, blowing out to left.

"Credit to him. He put a good swing on it and hit a home run but DeNato was ready for the next guy and it just didn't happen.

Effross who got the win in the first game and was in line for the win Monday night, was the unlikely loser. He threw 1.2 innings, throwing 29 pitches to the seven batters he faced.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch


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