May 24, 2012

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Indiana rallies, holds on to beat Michigan State

By Phil Stanton Co-Founder



COLUMBUS, Ohio – It was a thriller to win, a heart-breaker to lose.


Second-seeded Indiana scored four in the bottom of the eighth to take a two-run lead and fifth-seeded Michigan State left the bases loaded in the top of the ninth as IU claimed a 6-4 win in the Big Ten Tournament at Huntington Park.


The Hoosiers (31-27) will play in the finals of the winners’ bracket on Friday at 7 p.m., while the Spartans (36-20) will play an elimination game on Friday at 3:30 p.m.


“These types of games show you baseball is a crazy game and it’s never over till it’s over,” said IU head coach Tracy Smith (pictured above). “Their starting pitcher did a good job of shutting us down. We felt like we were getting good swings just making a lot of hard outs and hopefully we would start finding some green space. In the eighth inning, that kind of turned around.”


MSU held a 4-2 lead heading to the bottom of the eighth with IU having the top of the order coming up. Justin Cureton led off with a double to left center and moved to third on a flyout by Kyle Schwarber. Sam Travis followed with a base hit to score Cureton and make it a one-run game at 4-3.


MSU starter Andrew Waszak exited and was replaced by Jeff Kinley. Micah Johnson singled to left to put the go-ahead run on base. Following a strikeout, Michael Basil stepped in with two on and two out. A 2-2 pitch was close, but called a ball. Basil ripped the next pitch into right center for a two-run double, giving the Hoosiers their first lead at 5-4. Basil scored on a base hit by Dustin DeMuth to make it 6-4.


The Spartans did not go quietly. A walk and a pair of singles loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the ninth. But a flyout to shallow center, a strikeout and a comebacker to the mound left them loaded as the game ended.


MSU took the early lead in the second as Blaise Salter belted a two-run homer and Joel Fisher followed with a solo shot to give the Spartans a 3-0 lead. The Hoosiers scored two in the fourth before MSU added one in the fifth.


(photo courtesy of IU Media Relations Office)