Charity exhibition draws huge crowd and raises $30K as Hoosiers dominate in 8-0 one-hit fashion over Div II powerhouse Southern Indiana
Group photo courtesy of Kelly, Jeff, and Zach Mezger
by Carl James • @jovian34 • Oct 21
The Indiana Baseball team got to be a part of a very big event on Saturday in Evansville. Sam Archuleta, the 14-year-old son of Southern Indiana baseball coach Tracy Archuleta, is afflicted with the degenerative muscular disorder Friedreich’s Ataxia. The two baseball teams converged on historic Bosse Field for a fall exhibition game to raise money towards the search for a cure.
It was a win for all as 2,795 people were in attendance and over $30,000 was raised. Sam was honored at the beginning of the game by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to Evansville native, former Yankee great, and current Miami Marlin manager Don Mattingly.
The on-the-field action was another opportunity to see the Hoosier baseball team under first-year head coach Jeff Mercer in action. The last time we saw the Hoosiers, they split a pair of short exhibition games with national powerhouse Louisville. This time around the Hoosiers were matched against a Division II program (although also a national powerhouse in their own right) University of Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles.
Weather was a factor as the clear skies and huge wind gusts wreaked havoc on defenders leading to a few unusual “hits” for both teams including USI’s only hit of the game. In the bottom of the 1st a high pop-up initially heading toward the backstop was blown into fair territory just inside the third-base line about 30 feet from home plate. That “hit” off of Tanner Gordon was the only hit surrendered by the four Hoosier pitchers over nine innings of dominant work on the mound.
The juco transfer and Junior righty Gordon was electric, striking out five in three innings and not walking a single batter. Sophomore Lefty Tommy Sommer, who did not pitch in Lousiville, was impressive as well in the next three innings of work. Sommer also struck out five. He had the only pressure situation when an error put a runner on base and a balk moved him to second base in the fifth inning. Sommer got out of it by striking out the next batter.
Junior lefty Andrew Saalfrank was also dominant in the 7th and 8th innings giving up no hits or walks. Junior righty Cal Krueger was brought on in the closing role. He did walk the first batter he faced, but the baserunner was erased by a game ending 5-4-3 double play allowing Krueger to face the minimum in a non-save situation.
On offense the Hoosiers scored 8 runs on 13 hits while striking out 6 times. The big hit of the day was a no-doubt three-run home run off the bat of Senior Matt Lloyd in the top of the fifth inning. Lloyd went 3-for-5 on the day getting on base 4 out of 5 times with 4 runs batted in. Junior Matt Gorski batted lead-off and went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles. Other Hoosiers getting hits on the day were juco transfer and Junior Carter Bridge, Freshman Jake Skrine (RBI double in the sixth), redshirt Junior Scotty Bradley, Junior Jeremy Houston, and Freshman catcher Gavin Napier.
The Hoosiers did not look quite as clean defensively as they did in Louisville. In addition to the infield “hit” that was permitted to drop by Lloyd and Napier, both players at short-stop, Houston and Sophomore Justin Walker, committed errors on hard hit ground balls. This was something Coach Mercer had said to expect as players have spent less time in scrimmaging and more time in individual development in pitching and hitting this fall.
The highlight of the game for Southern Indiana was an outfield assist in the 8th inning when Napier was gunned down at the plate by a great throw from the Screaming Eagles right fielder.
This concluded the exhibition games on the Hoosier Baseball fall schedule. Overall this is a very deep team with a coaching staff working diligently on developing skills. The next time this team will be in action against another program will be for real: on the road against Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee on February 15th, 2019.