Sabourin's Walk-Off Homer Lifts Hoosiers to 6-4 Win
May 14, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Jerrud Sabourin hit a two-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Indiana baseball team to its fifth straight win with a 6-4 victory over Michigan State on Thursday. Junior Josh Phegley hit a game-tying two-run shot in the bottom of the seventh as well in the victory, as Indiana improved to 27-24 on the season and 15-6 in conference action.
IU is currently in third place in the conference, one game behind first-place Minnesota and one-half game behind Ohio State. The Buckeyes opened their series with a 13-4 win over Iowa, while Minnesota scored an unearned run in the top of the ninth to best Penn State 7-6 in the series opener for those two teams. The Hoosiers leapfrogged Illinois with today's action, as the Fighting Illini were defeated 12-5 by Purdue.
Chris Squires picked up the win in relief, tossing two innings of shutout ball for Indiana. That followed up a strong performance on the mound by Matt Carr, who surrendered just one hit over four innings of shutout work in relief as well. Starter Joey O'Gara collected a no-decision after allowing four runs, but just two earned, in his three innings of work.
Offensively, Phegley went 2-for-3 with his Big Ten-leading 17th homer of the year, while Vince Gonzalez hit a solo homer, his first career longball, in the win as well. Gonzalez and Kipp Schutz each had two hits, while leadoff hitter Chris Hervey had a crucial double and reached base five times - twice on walks and twice after being hit by a pitch.
In the 10th, reliever A.J. Dunn retired Gonzalez and Jake Dunning for the first two outs with Hervey coming to the plate. The senior manufactured an eight-pitch walk to extend the inning, bringing Sabourin to the plate. The San Diego native, who had earlier been robbed of extra bases by right fielder Eli Boike, jumped on the first pitch he saw and blasted it over the wall in right and onto the IU Softball Field to give Indiana a 6-4 win. It was IU's first walk-off victory since Tyler Cox's walk-off grand slam against Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament last year. The round-tripper was Sabourin's fifth of the season.
IU used an equally dramatic seventh to tie the game. After MSU starter Nolan Moody had stifled the Hoosiers for just one run over the first six innings, Indiana scored three times in the bottom of the seventh to tie the score. Dunning started things with a single up the middle with one down and Hervey followed with a double just inside the bag at third to put a pair of runners in scoring position. Sabourin came up next and delivered a sacrifice fly to right field to make the score 4-2. With two down, Michigan State summoned Dunn from the pen, but Phegley came to the plate and shot a 2-1 pitch high into the air that carried over the right-field wall for a two-run homer.
Michigan State scored all four of its runs in the top of the third. Boike started the rally with a one-out single up the middle and then A.J. Shindler delivered the first big punch of the day, blasting a ball over the left-field wall for his first home run of the season to make it 2-0. After a lineout, Eric Roof reached on an error, and then a Johnny Lee double and a Jonathan Roof single plated a pair of unearned runs to make it 4-0.
IU retaliated with a solo run in the bottom of the frame, as Gonzalez hit his first career homer, going the other way to put it over the fence in right and onto the IU Softball Field to make it a 4-1 MSU edge. Indiana now has 57 home runs on the season, matching the 2004 squad's total for the most by an IU team over the last decade. The 1999 Hoosiers hit 67 longballs.
Indiana and Michigan State will play game two of their three-game series on Friday at Sembower Field. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m. with lefty Matt Bashore slated to go against MSU's A.J. Achter. Live audio and Gametracker will be available on IUHoosiers.com.
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