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Four-Hit Game for Sabourin Leads IU Past First-Place Spartans in Series Opener

May 13, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Jerrud Sabourin and Micah Johnson drove in three runs apiece as the Hoosiers out-slugged Michigan State in an 8-6 victory that included a total of 28 hits. A six-run third inning for Indiana (28-21, 9-10 Big Ten) propelled IU past the first-place Spartans (31-16, 13-6) in the series opener on Friday

On the mound, a pair of freshman shined for the Cream and Crimson. Joey DeNato got the call for his second straight Friday night start, and delivered another 'W.' Fellow Californian Ryan Halstead closed out the ballgame, earning his ninth save of the year to put him in a three-way tie (with Chris Squires, 2010 and Ryan Smith, 2002) for the most single-season saves in school history.

It wasn't all rainbows and sunshine for Indiana, however, committing three errors in the second inning to allow a pair of unearned Spartans runs to cross the plate. The Hoosier bats seemed to press in the home half of the second, following a Sabourin lead-off double with three consecutive first-pitch outs.

Indiana's next at-bat was arguably the best of the season though, exploding for a half-dozen scores. The first seven Hoosiers reached base (six via hits, one HBP) safely, and Indiana gashed MSU starting pitcher Kurt Wunderlich for six tallies before he could record an out. Wunderlich entered the game with an 8-1 record before being handed his second defeat of the season on Friday at Sembower Field.

Johnson, who was responsible for two of the defensive errors in the second stanza, made amends with his bases-clearing triple in the third. The scoring resumed as Johnson trotted home on Alex Dickerson's RBI-single and Sabourin connected on a two-run bomb which landed in center field of the IU Softball Field.

The fourth frame included Michigan State's first earned run of the day, but also DeNato's 11th pick off. Indiana leads the conference with 28 runners picked off while the next closest TEAM merely matches DeNato's total of 11 pegged runners.

Sabourin and the Hoosiers then matched the tally in the bottom half of the inning. Sabourin's RBI-single converted T.C. Knipp's second HBP of the day into a Hoosier run.

Michigan State continued to chip away as the game went on, plating lone runs in the fifth, seventh and eighth innings to pull within two runs at 8-6. Michael Basil is credited with Indiana's eighth run, blasting the first pitch he saw in the fifth over the left field wall, just inside the foul pole, for his fourth dinger of the season.

Halstead got the nod for the ninth, entering with an 8-6 Hoosier lead. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., native froze Joel Fisher on a called third strike for the final outa.

Sabourin was 4-for-4 with an intentional walk on the day.

Saturday's game will be seen by a national audience as the Big Ten Network strolls into town to broadcast the 3:05 pm contest.