Spartans Knock Off Hoosiers 7-3 in Regular-Season Finale
May 16, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Eric Roof hit a two-run home run in the top of the seventh to boost Michigan State to a 7-3 victory over the Indiana baseball team on Saturday in the regular-season finale for both teams. The Hoosiers got longballs from Jake Dunning and Alex Dickerson in a losing effort. IU wraps up the regular season at 28-25 with a 16-7 mark in the Big Ten, third in the conference.
As the third seed, the Hoosiers will take on arch-rival Purdue in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament at 3:35 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 20. The tournament will be held in Columbus, Ohio, at Huntington Park, which is the newly constructed home of the AAA Columbus Clippers. For more information or to purchase tickets for the Big Ten Tournament, go to www.bigten.org.
The result of Saturday's contest had no effect on seeding for either IU or MSU, as Purdue's 12-8 win over Illinois in concert with Ohio State's 8-6 win over Iowa sealed the Hoosiers in the three seed and Michigan State in the five seed. Minnesota and OSU will be the top two seeds in next week's tournament. The two teams will be followed by Indiana, Illinois, Michigan State and Purdue.
The third-place finish by the Hoosiers is the highest since the 1996 team finished second en route to the Big Ten Tournament championship and the only NCAA appearance in school history. At 16-7 (.696), Indiana had its highest conference winning percentage since the 1939 team went 7-3 to finish at .700.
Tony Bucciferro pitched 7 1/3 solid innings for the Spartans to pick up the win. The freshman allowed just six hits and struck out nine in improving to 5-2. Matt Igel picked up the loss in relief despite four strong innings to fall to 1-1. The freshman did not allow a walk and struck out four while surrendering six hits. Blake Monar was credited with a no-decision after departing the game in a 3-3 deadlock.
After MSU got a run on a wild pitch in the first, the Hoosiers battled back to regain the lead in the bottom of the third. Vince Gonzalez got Indiana's first hit by lacing a double to left-center and he was followed by Dunning, who unleashed a two-run shot to center for his fifth longball of the year to make it 2-1 IU.
As a harsh rain picked up in the top of the fourth, the Spartans got a pair of singles, a walk and a hit batsman to bring in a run and tie the score 2-2. Igel came on for Monar and got a hard grounder off the bat of Brandon Eckerle that Tyler Rogers ranged over to grab behind second, flipping it to Dunning for a force out, but a run scored to give MSU a 3-2 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, Dickerson came to bat with one out and crushed a pitch over the wall in left-center for his 14th home run of his debut campaign to tie the score at 3-3. But MSU got a double and a single back-to-back in the top of the sixth to take a 4-3 lead and Roof's homer in the seventh pushed it to a 6-4 edge for the visitors. The Spartans also tacked on an unearned run in the ninth to result in the final score.
Indiana will look to avenge its only series loss of 2009 when it takes on the Boilers in the opening round of the conference tournament on Wednesday. Purdue took two of three from the Hoosiers in West Lafayette two weekends ago. Live audio and statistics for Wednesday's game will be available on IUHoosiers.com.
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