EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State baseball team dropped the series opener to Indiana, 9-2, Thursday afternoon at Kobs Field. The Spartans, very much in the hunt for a spot in the Big Ten Baseball Tournament, were subdued by a strong pitching performance by Indiana's Eric Arnett and a five-run Indiana seventh inning. Both of MSU's runs came on a two-run homer in the sixth inning by junior Kyle Day.
Arnett (4-4) pitched 8.0 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on nine hits. He struck out four and walked two. Hoosier outfielder Chris Hervey went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer and four RBI. Leadoff man Andrew Means collected two hits and scored four runs for the Hoosiers.
Nine different Spartans had one hit each. Day lifted a 1-1 pitch from Arnett over the left field fence in the sixth for his team-leading eighth home run. Freshman Jonathan Roof scored on the home run. Senior Justin Potes also hit a double in the sixth inning.
Things didn't start well for the Spartans (24-26, 12-15 Big Ten). Means reached on an MSU throwing error to lead off the game. Just a few moments later Hervey pulled a towering fly ball down the left-field line. The ball was ruled fair, and the Hoosiers took a 2-0 lead.
Means tripled in the top of the fifth and scored on a Hervey single to make it a 3-0 contest. Day's homer in the bottom of the sixth cut the Michigan State deficit to 3-2.
IU (25-28, 12-17 Big Ten) would break the game open with five runs in the top of the seventh. The first three batters of the inning singled before Josh Phegley smacked an RBI double to left-center. After a Jerrud Sabourin sac fly made it 6-2, IU's Tyler Rogers had an RBI double and scored on a wild pitch to extend the IU lead to 8-2. Sabourin added an RBI single in the eighth to provide the final margin.
Michigan State senior starter Mike Monterey (3-4) took the loss, despite pitching effectively into the seventh inning. He allowed six earned runs over 6.0 innings and struck out two with no walks.
With the win, Indiana pulls to within one game of Michigan State in the Big Ten standings with three games to play. MSU entered the weekend in a virtual tie with Northwestern for sixth place in the Big Ten standings. NU is at Big Ten regular season champion Michigan this weekend.