Hoosiers Drop Finale to Spartans, 8-5
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana baseball team fell to Michigan State, 8-5, in the final contest of a four-game, Big Ten Conference series, at Sembower Field in Bloomington on Sunday. The Spartans used an eight-run seventh inning to even the series at two games apiece. Indiana finishes the weekend with a 22-9 record and a 7-5 mark in conference action while MSU moved to 9-20 overall and 3-7 in league games.
Indiana claimed the lead in the bottom of the third inning as senior third baseman Vasili Spanos cranked his third home run of the weekend out the park in left, putting the Hoosiers ahead, 1-0.
Things would stay that way until the top of the seventh, when the Spartans went on a scoring spree. IU starting pitcher Chris Behrens had pitched six innings and allowed just one hit and two walks. In the seventh, Michigan State's James Moreno reached on an Indiana error and Scott Koerber and Jim Duffy followed with base hits to load the bases with not outs. Senior reliever Kevin O'Brien replaced Behrens and immediately struck out Jim Deliz on three straight pitches. But the Spartans regained their composure and reeled off six straight hits. O'Brien pitched to three of those batters before senior closer Ryan Smith came into the game for the Hoosiers. Brady Burrill and Charlie Braun hit back-to-back doubles off Smith before the Hooisers were able shut the Spartan offense down.
At the end of the innings, MSU had totaled eight runs on eight hits and one error.
The Hoosiers fought back and were able to put two runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, catcher Cody Wargo collected his second of three hits, a single up the third base line, to start things. Redshirt freshman Ryan Parker was inserted to pinch hit for centerfielder Chad Coder. Parker came through, smacking a single up the middle and Brad DeStefano came in to pinch run for him at first. Shortstop Seth Bynum looped a double into shallow right field, plating Wargo for the Hoosiers' second run. After Mark Calkins walked to the load the bases, MSU pitcher Jeff Gerbe hit Spanos with a pitch to walk in a run.
IU was able to add two more runs in the eighth. With one out, first baseman Kevin Mahar drew a walk and Wargo drove a single through the left side. Redshirt freshman Reggie Watson entered to pinch run for Wargo. DeStefano followed with an RBI single to right and Mahar came home.
Ryan Golem came in to pitch for Gerbe with runners on first and third. Pinch hitter Ryan Donley got on a fielder's choice, but a fielding error by the Spartan shortstop failed to put DeStefano out at second and Watson scored to make the score, 8-5.
Indiana was unable to complete the comeback and suffered its fifth Big Ten loss of the season.
Gerbe (2-2) picked up the win for the Spartans, surrendering 10 hits and four earned runs in 7.1 innings on the mound. He issued two walks and struck out one. Golem earned his first save of the season.
Behrens fell to 2-2 with the loss, despite a solid outing. The junior lefty allowed just three hits and two earned runs while tying his season-high of five strikeouts. Smith gave up three hits and one run while walking one and striking out one over the final 2.2 innings.
IU will hit the road for a midweek game at Wright State on Tuesday, April 15. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m. in Dayton, Ohio.
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