And then with one pitch to one of the better college players in the nation it all came to a screeching halt.
Dansby Swanson crushed the first pitch from IU reliever Luke Harrison with one on and one out in the top of the ninth deep into the seats beyond the left field fence to give top-seed and host Vanderbilt a come-from-behind 6-4 victory over IU before a capacity crowd of 3,626 at Hawkins Field.
Indiana (36-23) will now face Radford Sunday at 4 p.m. ET in an elimination game at Hawkins Field. IU will be the home team in that game. The Hoosiers defeated Radford on Friday, 7-1.
Radford eliminated Lipscomb earlier in the day Saturday, 5-2. The winner of Sunday’s 4 p.m. game would then have to beat Vanderbilt twice to advance out of the regional. The first of those games would be Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET.
Swanson, who came into the game hitting .347 with 13 home runs and 58 RBI, was 2-for-4 Saturday against the Hoosiers. He also made a big play in the bottom of the ninth at his shortstop position when he went deep into the hole to throw out IU leadoff hitter Austin Cangelosi.
IU coach Chris Lemonis was asked following the game if he had considered walking Swanson in that situation after Rhett Wiseman had double down the right field line ahead of him.
He said the plan was to pitch around him but Harrison simply left the ball over the plate.
“We were trying to pitch around him, we just didn’t make the pitch,’’ Lemonis said. “We should have had the catcher stand up and do the intentional walk but we were trying to pitch around him at that point.
“He just left the ball over the plate and a good player hit it.’’
Indiana struggled offensively to the tune of 15 strikeouts. Five different IU hitters had at least two strikeouts each.
The Hoosiers managed six hits and two walks and had one hit batter.
IU scored two runs in the first and one in the second to take a 3-0 lead. Craig Dedelow drove in the first two runs on a bases loaded single to right, and the third run scored after Brian Wilhite tripled and scored on a ground out by Casey Rodrigue.
Vanderbilt (44-19) scored four in the top of the third to take a 4-3 lead and chase starter Christian Morris. Morris allowed four earned runs on five hits in two and two thirds innings pitched.
IU tied it with a single run in the bottom of the sixth with Dedelow again getting the RBI. This time Brad Hartong scored on an infield single by Dedelow on a slow roller to second base.
Scott Effross was great in relief for IU, getting the Hoosiers through the eighth inning. He threw five and a third innings of scoreless relief allowing just four hits.
Lemonis said he wasn’t certain who IU would start against Radford but it would likely be either Evan Bell, Caleb Baragar or Will Coursen-Carr. Baragar has been IU’s third starter all season.