EAST LANSING, Mich. – Jimmy Pickens did it again. This time, the sophomore homered to right field in the bottom of the 10th inning, giving Michigan State a 6-5 win over No. 12 Indiana on Saturday afternoon at McLane Stadium. It marks the first series victory for MSU over a ranked opponent in the Jake Boss era and the second consecutive walk-off win in extra innings.
“This was a big series win for us,” sophomore right fielder Jimmy Pickens said. “To come in and beat Indiana twice and we’ve got one tomorrow. It felt good, the river is running a little high today and the wind was blowing out. That was the first time I ever hit a walk-off home run and yesterday was my first walk-off hit ever. It’s a great feeling.”
Michigan State (20-11, 4-4) led Indiana 5-0 after the sixth inning but the Hoosiers tied the game after three runs in seventh, one in the eighth and one in the ninth. Indiana is now 26-6 and 8-3 in the Big Ten.
“I told our guys, I thought they showed a lot of character again today,” head coach Jake Boss said. “(We took) a 5-0 lead into the seventh and we end up giving it away a little bit at the end. We got a big swing out of Jimmy when we needed it. That’s a really good ball club over there. We could’ve folded, we could’ve given up and cracked under the pressure and all in all we didn’t do it.”
Anthony Cheky went 3-for-5 for the Spartans. Ryan Krill, PJ Nowak and Pickens each chipped in with a pair of hits for MSU.
Freshman closer Justin Alleman recorded a win for the second straight day. He threw two scoreless innings and allowed just one hit and struck out two Hoosiers.
The Spartans started things off with a pair of runs in the second inning. Blaise Salter singled to center field and scored on a double from Krill in the right-center gap. Krill came around to score on a Hoosier error.
MSU added three more in the fourth after Pickens led off the frame with a double to right field. Salter reached on an error and Hovis doubled down the line, sending in Pickens. Freshman Cam Gibson followed that with a two-RBI single for MSU.
Kyle Hart, Indiana’s starter, was tagged with a no-decision and allowed 11 hits and five runs, but just one earned run. He struck out one and walked one.
Indiana got on the board after a two-run homer to right field by Nick Ramos in the seventh inning. The Hoosiers scored another run on a RBI-single from Chad Clark.
MSU starter David Garner also took a no-decision. He threw seven innings and allowed three runs on eight hits. He also walked three and struck out three.
The Hoosiers closed the gap with an RBI single by Clark and evened the game in the ninth on a Spartan error.
Trey Popp got the first out in the eighth and Anthony Misiewicz got the final two.
Pickens led off the 10th and drilled a 1-1 fastball over the fence in right field, sending the Spartans home with their second straight win over Indiana in as many days.