Third Straight Walk-Off Win at Sembower Field
April 13, 2012
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana Baseball (16-18, 6-4 Big Ten) improved to 6-2 at home this season with the team's third consecutive walk-off win at Sembower Field, topping Michigan State (20-12, 3-4), 3-2, in the series opener. The Hoosiers out-lasted Ball State in 15 innings last week and laid down a bunt single walk-off two days ago against Indiana State.
Friday's game ended when Michael Basil scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth. Drama was not scarce in the final frame as the Spartans loaded the bases with just one out in the top half of the ninth. Reliever Jonny Hoffman got Jordan Keur to line out to left and Will Nolden gunned down Anthony Cheky at the plate trying to tag up for the go-ahead run. Coincidentally, Nolden was the man in the box when Tony Wieber's errant toss reached the backstop and allowed Basil to come in for the winning tally.
Indiana used just two pitchers in the contest, saving most of the bullpen for Games Two and Three. Starter Joey DeNato toed the rubber for seven innings, scattering seven hits and a walk while surrendering a pair of runs. Hoffman then closed out the game working the final two scoreless innings.
It was a typical Friday night game early on as both DeNato and MSU starting pitcher Tony Bucciferro dueled it out through three shutouts innings to begin the game. Dillon Dooney halted the goose eggs in the bottom of the fourth, curling a long-ball around the left-field foul pole to give IU a 1-0 lead on the solo shot.
The Spartans countered immediately in the next half inning with a run of their own. Blaise Salter led off with a two-bagger and later scored on a groundball. Indiana responded right away as well, regaining a one-run edge in the home half of the fifth. Nolden started a two-out rally by rolling a pitch through the right side. Justin Cureton took care of the rest, clubbing an RBI-triple to deep left center.
Michigan State opened the sixth with a double, just as they had in the previous inning. DeNato hunkered down though, fanning the next two Spartans. He then got a weak chopper, but It found its way through the infield to drive in a run and knot things up at 2-2. A subsequent fly ball sent the game to the seventh stanza.
Basil rode the momentum of Nolden's outfield assist in the top of the ninth, grooving a single to open the bottom half. Dooney, who not only had the homerun earlier in the game but also drew two walks, kept delivering. The IU designated hitter pushed a picture-perfect sac bunt down the first base line, pushing Basil into scoring position. With two outs, DeMuth legged out an infield hit to extend the game and advance Basil 90 more feet. Pinch-hitter Ricky Alfonso followed with a walk and set the stage for Nolden to be both the defensive and offensive hero. His services weren't needed, however, when the second pitch of the at-bat skipped past the catcher and ushered Basil across the plate.
Saturday's game is slated for a 1:05 pm first pitch. IUHoosiers.com will be providing GameTracker live stats and an audio broadcast for Game Two.
Check back soon