May 26, 2012

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Around the Tournaments: Saturday recaps


Indiana outlasts MSU, will face Purdue for Big Ten title

By Phil Stanton Co-Founder



COLUMBUS, Ohio – It was another thrilling game in this year’s Big Ten Tournament.


Michael Basil had a RBI single in the top of the 11th as second-seeded Indiana edged fifth-seeded Michigan State 4-3 in the Big Ten Tournament at Huntington Park.


The Hoosiers (32-27) will need to beat top-seeded Purdue tonight and again Sunday afternoon to claim the Big Ten title. The Spartans fall to 37-21 and will have to wait until Monday to see if they earn an NCAA at-large bid.


Both teams scored two in the second and were blanked over the next six frames. Some might have been lulled to sleep before the late-game excitement.


Dustin DeMuth had a two-out double to left in the top of the ninth for IU, marking the end of the day for MSU starting pitcher Mick VanVossen (8.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K). Bryce Jenney took over on the mound and Will Nolden ripped a single to right, plating DeMuth with the go-ahead run.


The bottom of the ninth was a blast to watch, trying to think along with both coaches on what they would do.


Justin Scanlon lined a ball to right to start the frame for the Spartans and just beat the tag at second. Jordan Keur reached on an error by the third baseman to give MSU two on and no outs. That was the end of an outstanding day for IU starter Chad Martin (8 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K).


Jonny Hoffman took over on the mound for the Hoosiers. Torsten Boss laid down a bunt to Hoffman and the throw got away at first, allowing Scanlon to score the tying run and moving Keur to third. Hoffman got a strikeout and intentionally walked John Martinez to load the bases with one out.


UI skipper Tracy Smith brought Chad Clark in off the bench as a fifth infielder, using just two outfielders. Jimmy Pickens ripped a shot back at the feet of Hoffman, who threw home for the force out. Catcher Kyle Schwarber thought about firing to first to try to get the inning-ending double play, but held on to the ball.


Smith pulled Clark and replaced him with pitcher/outfielder Joey DeNato, who went to left. As coaches say, the ball will find you. Joel Fisher lined a ball to left toward the line. The lefty DeNato dove and made the catch near the line to extend the game.


The Hoosiers got a two-out single by Travis in the top of the 10th, but he was gunned down trying to steal second.


Cheky coaxed a walk to start the bottom of the frame for the Spartans and was sacrificed to second. Halstead came in and got a pair of groundouts to end the threat.


In the 11th, Micah Johnson drew a leadoff walk for the Hoosiers, was sacrificed to second and came in as Michael Basil hit a tough-hop single past the shortstop to give IU a 4-3 advantage.


Halstead retired the Spartans in order in the bottom of the 11th to secure the win.


IU started the scoring in the top of the second. Johnson lined a leadoff double to right center and moved to third on a single to right by Dillon Dooney. The throw to the plate got away from the catcher and Johnson was caught between third and home. An errant throw to third allowed Johnson to score the game’s first run and put Dooney on third. With two away, Nolden delivered a RBI single to center to give the Hoosiers a 2-0 lead.


MSU answered in the bottom of the second. Boss drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on a double by Martinez. Krill had a sacrifice fly and Fisher had a two-out RBI single to tie it at 2.


Michigan State finished with five hits.