Brandon Eckerle collects three hits to tie school record with 245 career hits. Photo courtesy of MSU SID.

 

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana used a six-run third inning to take down Michigan State, 8-6, Friday afternoon at Sembower Field in the first game of the weekend series. It marked the first time this season MSU has lost the opening game of a series in Big Ten play.

Senior center fielder Brandon Eckerle went 3-for-5 at the plate and tied Bob Malek’s school record of 245 career hits. Sophomore designated hitter Jared Hook tied his career high with four hits, while Torsten Boss, Justin Scanlon and Jordan Keur each collected two hits apiece for the Spartans.

MSU starter Kurt Wunderlich (8-2) suffered only his second loss of the season on the mound, allowing eight runs on 14 hits in seven innings of work.

Michigan State (31-16, 13-6 Big Ten) gave Wunderlich a 2-0 lead to work with by scoring twice in the top of the second, but the Hoosiers (28-21, 9-10) stormed back with six runs on six hits in the bottom of the third, led by Micah Johnson’s three-run triple and Jerrud Sabourin’s two-run homer. Sabourin went 4-for-4 with three RBIs to lead the Hoosiers.

The Spartans and Hoosiers traded single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. MSU cut the lead to 6-3 on an Eckerle RBI single in the fourth, and then trimmed it to 7-4 in the fifth as Hook had an RBI single to right field.

Michigan State continued to chip away at the lead on a Jeff Holm sacrifice fly in the seventh that put the Spartans down three runs at 8-5.

In the eighth, Jordan Keur’s RBI single sliced the Indiana advantage to 8-6, but it could have been worse for the Hoosiers. With two outs and runners on first and third, IU reliever Chad Martin got Ryan Jones to fly out to center field, ending the Spartan threat.

Freshman Ryan Halstead sealed the win for Indiana in the ninth and earned his ninth save of the season.

Michigan State returns to action for game two of the series Saturday at 3 p.m.; the game will be broadcast nationally on the Big Ten Network.