Hoosiers Edged at MSU, 15-13
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Indiana baseball team lost a back-and-forth affair at Michigan State on Saturday, falling 15-13, to the Spartans at Kobs Field in East Lansing. The Hoosiers' fifth-straight loss dropped their record to 23-22 overall and 7-14 in Big Ten play. Michigan State improved to 24-20 overall and pushed its record to 11-10 in league action.
The game featured six home runs, three by each team. Senior shortstop Seth Bynum, senior leftfielder Kevin Mahar and junior rightfielder Joe Kemp all hit home runs for Indiana. Bynum led IU at the plate, finishing 3-for-6 with two runs scored and three RBI. Mahar, sophomore centerfielder Reggie Watson and freshman third baseman Josh Richardson all collected two hits apiece. Sophomore second baseman Jay Brant had a three-RBI triple.
Indiana gave starting pitcher Nick Vitielliss a three-run cushion in the top of the first. Watson singled up the middle to lead off the game. Watson stole second base, and Brant drew walk. Bynum knocked a double into right field, scoring Watson easily from second base. Brant rounded third and got caught in a run down. He barreled down the base path and went diving into home plate and the Spartan catcher dropped the ball. First baseman Corby Heckman scored Bynum from third base with a sacrifice fly to put IU on top, 3-0.
Indiana added another run in the second. Catcher Cody Wargo walked and came around to score Watson's double to right-center field.
Michigan State tied the game, 4-4, in the second. James Moreno led off with a bunt single, and then went to second on a wild pitch. Designated hitter Miller got a base hit through the left side to score Moreno. After Vitielliss hit Alan Cattrysee with a pitch, Troy Krider banged a two-double to the center field wall to score both runners. Krider scored on Oliver Wolcott's base hit to left.
The Spartans grabbed their first lead in the fifth. Cattrysee hit a home run out of the park in left field to make it 5-4, MSU. The Spartans pushed home two more runs. Krider came home on Travis Gulick's infield single, a ball that high-hopped Brant at second.
With Michigan State leading 7-4, Indiana closed the gap to one run in the top of the fifth. Heckman reached first after being hit, and Kemp blasted his seventh home run of the year to right, to make it 7-6.
Michigan State extended its lead in the sixth, courtesy of a two-run home run by catcher Sean Walker.
In the top of the seventh, Bynum sparked an Indiana scoring surge when he drove his seventh home run of the season to left-center to lead off the inning. It was the first of seven runs IU would post during the frame.
Mahar pounded a two-run shot to left to tie the game at nine. The long ball was No. 13 on the season, as he continues to pace the Big Ten in that category, and moved him into the top 10 in IU history for homers in a season. Following Mahar's homer, senior DH Ryan Donley laid down a bunt single, and the Hoosiers loaded the bases as Richardson and Wargo drew back-to-back walks. Brant drove a 3-2 pitch to the wall in left-center, clearing the bases and putting the Hoosiers back on top 12-9. Bynum doubled to score Brant and give the Hoosiers' their 13th run of the game.
Michigan State answered with five runs to regain the lead in the bottom of the seventh. Cattrysee reached on a fielder's choice an errant throw to first by Brant allowed him to move up to second. With two outs, Morris walked and then Wolcott singled to right to load the bases. Freshman Doug Fleenor enter to relieve Steve Nielsen on the mound for the Hoosiers, but in the next at-bat, Gulick stepped up and ripped a triple, scoring all three runs to make it 13-12.
Moreno hit a two-run shot to left, his 10th home run of the season, to put Michigan State on top for good. The Spartans added their final run in the eighth. Morris' sacrifice fly scored Ryan Basham, who had singled to reach base.
Fleenor (0-1) was charged with the loss for Indiana in one-third of an inning. He gave up three hits and two earned runs. Vitielliss pitched the initial three innings, and scattered seven Spartans hits. He was responsible for seven earned runs and struck out one. Vitielliss faced three batters in the fourth before Steve Nielsen came on to replace him. He pitched three-and-two-thirds innings, and allowed four hits and five runs, three of them earned, while walking four and striking out two. Freshman Matt Saba finished the game for the Hoosiers, pitching one inning and giving up two hits and one run.
Michigan State used six pitchers in the contest, and it was reliever Craig Brookes who picked up the win and moved his record to 3-4. He pitched two-thirds of an inning and gave up two hits and two earned runs. Brookes struck out one and walked one.
The series between Indiana and Michigan State continues on Sunday afternoon at Kobs Field. First pitch of the doubleheader is scheduled for 1 p.m. A fourth and final game is set for 1 p.m. on Monday, May 10. (All times are local to site, Eastern)
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