College baseball

Donley, DeMuth help IU to first College World Series

2013-06-12T19:45:00Z 2013-06-13T01:18:04Z Donley, DeMuth help IU to first College World SeriesJim Peters jim.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com
June 12, 2013 7:45 pm  • 

As a young player, Dustin DeMuth envisioned being drafted and playing in the College World Series.

The LaPorte graduate just never pictured both happening in the span of a few days.

DeMuth was picked by the Minnesota Twins in the eighth round of last week's Major League Baseball draft, then helped Indiana University punch its first ticket to Omaha by sweeping Florida State in Tallahassee.

"It's definitely a dream come true," DeMuth said. "I'm pretty ecstatic. (The draft) was on my mind, but once it was over, I was relaxed and happy, and ready to go out and focus on Florida State."

The Hoosiers (48-14) ousted the Seminoles with 10-9 and 11-6 wins to become the first Big Ten school in 29 years to reach the CWS.

"It was kind of a David vs. Goliath matchup," DeMuth said. "We were fine with it. We don't care what they think about us. We knew if we played as well as we can and hard as we can, at the end of the day, whatever happens, happens, and we come out on top."

While the Big Ten champs may not have surprised themselves, they certainly caught the country's attention by dispatching FSU.

"There's no more hostile environment in college baseball," Crown Point grad Scott Donley said. "You're playing in front of 6, 7,000 fans, screaming and yelling, trying to get in your head. It doesn't matter who the team is, we're not going to let it rattle us. We were prepared."

The former Duneland Athletic Conference stars took different routes to the same destination. DeMuth started from the day he put on an IU uniform, earning Freshman All-American honors. Donley began his career at Virginia Tech. After a medical redshirt season, he transferred following the first semester last year to IU, which had recruited him at C.P., and sat out last spring.

"It was worth it," Donley said. "Going to Omaha in my first year, I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. It's been incredible."

Donley secured a lineup spot in March and didn't let go. He's started all but three games, many as designated hitter, settling in as the Hoosiers' cleanup hitter.

"(Sitting out last season) was huge for me," he said. "It was a whole new feel for how everything ran. I saw the talent the team had and I knew if we kept working hard, it definitely wasn't beyond imagination to get to Omaha. Everything paid off."

The Hoosiers put together a run late last year, reaching the Big Ten tourney finals, where they lost to Purdue. With most of a young roster back, DeMuth knew 2013 could be special. IU went 13-3 in its southern swing, including a series win at Florida.

"(The 2012 finish) gave us confidence in what kind of team we could be and it just carried over," DeMuth said. "We started out knowing we could compete with the big teams."

When they reached the post-season, the Hoosiers were well aware of the Big Ten's CWS drought.

"It was unbelievable, it had been so long," Donley said. "It just shows what teams up north can do. We're trying to change everything around, not only for the Big Ten, but the north in general."

With IU preparing for Saturday's opener versus Louisville, there's no stopping now.

"It's like (Nebraska coach) Darin Erstad said, it doesn't matter where you're from, if you play good baseball," DeMuth said. "It was definitely in the back of our minds, putting the Big Ten back on the map. We don't get a lot of respect compared to the ACC, SEC, Big 12, Pac 12, and we want to get it back for the league. We're happy to be there, but we're definitely not satisfied. We feel like if we keep playing well, there's no reason we can't play with anybody in the country."

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