And for a while it looked as if the Hoosier baseball team was primed to open its conference title defense with a doubleheader sweep of the Nittany Lions.
IU won the opener, 5-4 in 12 innings and then led 7-0 after four innings in the second game. But Penn State came roaring back and put on a total assault of IU’s vaunted pitching staff that led to a 13-7 victory in State College, Pa.
Here is a complete recap of the doubleheader from IU media relations:
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — No. 21 Indiana opened Big Ten play with a 5-4 win in 12 innings vs. Penn State to open Sunday’s doubleheader, but dropped the second contest, 13-7. The two schools were scheduled to play a three-game weekend series with one game each day beginning Friday, March 20, before winter weather cancelled Friday’s contest and postponed Saturday’s tilt, setting up Sunday’s doubleheader.
Recaps from each game are available below. The Hoosiers host No. 11 Louisville at Bart Kaufman Field on Tuesday, March 24, at 6:05 p.m. ET.
GAME ONE: INDIANA 5, PENN STATE 4 (12 INN.)
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — No. 21 Indiana opened Big Ten play with a win for the fifth consecutive year, notching a 5-4 victory in 12 innings at Penn State on Sunday in the first game of a doubleheader at Medlar Field.
After six straight scoreless innings, IU tallied the winning run in the top of the 12th inning for its 12th consecutive win, matching the longest winning streak in the country.
Craig Dedelow doubled to lead off the inning and moved to third on Brad Hartong's flyout to left field. Scott Donley torched the game-winning RBI single to left to score Dedelow and Ryan Halstead closed the game in three batters to secure the win, earning his fourth save of the season.
Indiana and Penn State each had opportunities in regulation to get a win. IU's lead-off man reached base in four consecutive innings (5-8), but the Hoosiers came up empty each time, including twice when advancing a runner to third.
Penn State had runners in scoring position in the eighth and ninth innings, but Indiana survived without giving up the winning run to force extra innings.
Crucial plays by IU in the eighth inning kept the game tied at four heading into the ninth. With runners on first and third for Penn State, Christian Helsel's bunt was scooped up by Evan Bell and shoveled to Brad Hartong at home to prevent the go-ahead run.
After Bell hit the next Nittany Lion at bat to load the bases, Luke Harrison entered the game and recorded a strikeout for the third out. Harrison pitched three scoreless innings, giving up just one hit and striking out three.
Chances were available for both teams in extra innings as well. Penn State put a runner on second base in both the 10th and 11th innings. IU's Austin Cangelosi doubled to lead off the 11th inning, but was stranded at second.
Indiana improved to 11-1 when scoring first and 8-0 when leading after the first two frames in 2015.
Isaiah Pasteur's two-RBI single and a dropped fly ball in center field on Casey Rodrigue's hit gave the Hoosiers a 4-0 advantage.
Penn State had one hit heading into the fourth inning before scoring four runs on five hits over the fourth and fifth innings to knot the game up at four, eventually setting up free baseball at Medlar Field.
GAME TWO: PENN STATE 13, INDIANA 7
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Indiana committed all eight of its errors after the fifth inning as a 7-1 lead turned into a 13-7 defeat in the second game of a Sunday doubleheader at Penn State.
The Hoosiers, who saw their nation-leading 12-game winning streak snapped, jumped out to a 7-0 lead and led 7-1 after five innings. After that, nothing went right for Indiana.
Craig Dedelow, who scored the game-winning run in the 12th inning of the first game Sunday, knocked his first career grand slam out of the park to give IU a 7-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning. IU wouldn't record another hit until the top of the ninth inning.
IU got on the board in the first inning with two runs, scoring in the opening stanza for the fifth time this season (4-1).
Scott Donley, who nailed the game-winning RBI in the opening game, had RBI singles in his first two at bats in IU's loss. His first brought in Brad Hartong in the opening inning after Hartong recorded an RBI of his own on a double to score Casey Rodrigue.
Donley registered his second RBI single in the third inning to score Rodrigue again.
Nolden doubled to lead off the fourth inning, but was called out at home after trying to score on a wild pitch. IU loaded the bases on a pair of walks and an error on a fielder's choice.
Penn State tacked on solo runs in the fourth and sixth innings before closing the gap to 7-6 in the seventh as IU committed half of its errors in the frame. After loading the bases with zero outs, Aaron Novak hit a 2-RBI single to score two runs and leave runners on the corners.
Austin Foote entered the game and struck out a batter before IU's fourth error allowed Penn State to score its third run of the inning, once again leaving runners on the corners.
Brian Hobbie took over and a pair of strikeouts to end the inning sandwiched a wild pitch that allowed Penn State to slice its deficit to 7-6.
Penn State scored seven runs on five hits and two more Indiana errors in the eighth to take its first lead of the series and pull ahead for the win. Seven of Penn State's runs were unearned.