2017 NCAA Regionals: Sowers Powers Hoosiers To Keep Season Alive
LEXINGTON, Ky.—With Indiana facing elimination Saturday against Ohio in the Lexington Regional, Logan Sowers powered the Hoosiers to victory. The junior right fielder homered three times to lead Indiana to an 11-2 victory and keep its season alive.
After Indiana fell into a 2-0 hole in the first inning, Sowers halved the deficit with a solo home run in the second inning. He led off the seventh inning with another home run and then added a towering, three-run home run to left in the eighth to complete the Hoosiers’ rout. He finished the game 4-for-5 with four runs and five RBIs.
Sowers’ big day at the plate supported a complete game effort from sophomore righthander Jonathan Stiever. Senior center fielder Craig Dedelow also homered and freshman catcher Jake Matheny—son of the St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike—came through with a clutch two-run single that gave the Hoosiers the lead for good in the fourth inning.
After hitting two home runs, Sowers said he felt anything was possible at the plate.
“I though the last one was a pop fly and then it just kept going,” he said.
Sowers has plus raw power and won the home run derby at the 2015 Cape Cod League All-Star Game, but said he had never hit three home runs in a game before. He had just one multi-homer game during his college career, homering twice against Indiana State last March.
Sowers started this season slowly, and didn’t pull his batting average over .200 for the first time this season until March 26. Once he got going at the plate, he quickly became one of Indiana’s best hitters. He is now hitting .302/.355/.526 with 12 home runs this season.
Coach Chris Lemonis said he thinks early on Sowers felt the pressure of his draft year and tried to do too much at the plate.
“He’s a big, muscular kid and when he tries too hard he muscles up a bit and he swings and misses some,” Lemonis said. “He’s one of those guys, when he gets the first one you feel like he’s going to get some.”
Sowers again fell into the trap of trying to do too much last week at the Big Ten Conference Tournament, where he went 1-for-15 in three games.
Sowers and Lemonis spoke after the event and he went into regionals more relaxed. It showed in Friday night’s opener, when he went 2-for-4 with two doubles and two walks in a loss to North Carolina State.
“I think it was trying to do too much in the Big Ten Tournament,” Sowers said. “I was coming off the ball a little bit. Here I’m just trying to work through the middle and the backside (of the ball).”
Sowers does have a significant amount of swing-and-miss in his game. He has struck out 73 times in 254 plate appearances this season, but when he is able to reign that in, he has the ability to change the game with his power. It is that quality that will likely entice a team to draft him in a couple weeks.
Sowers’ power fits right in with the rest of the heart of Indiana’s lineup. Dedelow (18), DH Matt Lloyd (11) and third baseman Luke Miller (10) all have hit double digit home runs this season, and Lemonis said Matheny may have as much raw power as any of them, though he has homered just twice.
Sowers said he doesn’t feel any pressure to match his teammates’ numbers, but that they have a friendly competition among themselves. That competition also makes things tough on opposing teams, as Ohio found out Saturday.
“Whenever your two through five guys have more than 10 home runs each, you feel like you can do pretty much anything,” Sowers said.