WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Gritty would best describe the Indiana University South Bend baseball team today in a pair of games that went to extra innings. Despite a depleted bullpen the Titans managed to win game one by a score of 13-8 in 12 innings while getting seven innings of solid relief from its bullpen. In the nightcap the Titans fell to the host Webber International University on a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th inning.
Freshman Tyler Reece (FR/South Bend, Indiana) came on in relief in the fifth inning against Knox and tossed seven innings allowing two runs on six hits and striking out eight batters in a gutsy performance to propel the Titans to a 13-8 come from behind victory.
Early on it looked as if IU South Bend was going to let this one get away from them as they surrendered six runs in the first five innings. In the top half of the sixth the Titans offense got to Knox's starter and tagged him for a five run rally capped off by a three-run blast from Brian Reits (JR/Kalamazoo, Michigan) over the centerfield fence.
After giving up a run in the bottom of the sixth frame the IU South Bend offense continued to swing a hot bat in the top of seven. Nick Defreese (FR/Elkhart, Indiana) and Drew McDonald (FR/North Liberty, Indiana) reached to lead off the frame and were bunted over by Robbie Hernandez (FR/Griffith, Indiana). McCool drove in Defreese with a sacrifice fly and McDonald scored on an RBI single from Kevin Phelps (JR/Portage, Michigan) who later came around to score on a Mason Love (FR/Monmouth, Illinois) single.
Down to their last out in the bottom of the ninth inning Knox strung together two hits to bring in the game-tying run and send the contest into extra innings.
Reece kept the Titans in the game and in the top of the 12th the offense gave him some insurance as they turned four Knox errors into five runs to take a 13-8 lead. In the Knox half of the 12th Reece retired the first two hitters before issuing a walk to put a man aboard with two outs. Reece fanned his eighth hitter to seal the victory for the Titans.
Mangus, Love, and Defreese each recorded two hits while McCool and Reits each drove in three runs.
Once again the IU South Bend offense took advantage of the oppositions errors to put runs on the board as the Titans posted three runs in the fourth frame against Webber International to take a 3-0 lead. It all started when Phelps was plunked by a pitch. Mangus then singled to score Phelps and moved up to second base on an error by the center fielder. Later in the inning after a Defreese walk, Sam Azarian (SO/Racine, Wisconsin) reached on an error. Defreese would come around to score on a Josh Fry (FR/Mishawaka, Indiana) single.
With three runs over the next two innings Webber evened the game at three but the Titans answered with two runs in the top of the sixth when McCool and McDonald each drove in a run to put IU South Bend back in front 5-3. The Warriors plated two in the eighth frame to tie the game at five.
The Warriors loaded the bases in the bottom of the 10th and were able to one across in walk-off fashion to take down the Titans by a score of 6-5.
Today's split moves the Titans to 7-6 overall on the season. The Titans will play the final two games of their spring trip tomorrow night as they travel to Southeastern University. The first pitch is set for 4:00 p.m.