Spartans win home opener against CMU
The temperature might have been cold, but the bats of the MSU baseball team were hot as they beat Central Michigan, 4-2, in the team’s home opener Tuesday afternoon.
The Spartans (16-8, 2-1 Big Ten) were led by freshman outfielder Cam Gibson, who had one hit, one RBI, and one run scored.
Gibson got the scoring started in the bottom of the third inning with a single up the middle to score sophomore outfielder Anthony Cheky.
The Spartans kept the scoring going in the same inning when senior outfielder Jordan Keur got a two-out hit to drive in Gibson to give MSU a two run lead.
“Understanding what we can do in order to be successful on a consistent basis,” head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “Swinging at strikes, swinging at good pitches to hit, making our pitches on the mound when we needed them. When we play the game the right way, I think good things are going to happen.”
In the bottom of the fourth inning, MSU catcher Blaise Salter reached on an error on the Central Michigan second baseman that also allowed sophomore first baseman Ryan Krill to score.
The Chippewas answered in the top of the sixth inning with a two-run home run by third baseman Jordan Adams off starting pitcher, junior Chase Rihtarchik to pull Central Michigan to within one run.
“(It was a) fastball away, and he kind of got too much of the barrel on it, and the short porch in right (didn’t help),” Rihtarchik said.
He finished the day going six innings with three runs on two hits and two walks.
Between Rihtarchik and senior reliever Trey Popp, the Spartans hit four batters, one more than the number of Chippewas hits.
“Some pitches got away from me,” Rihtarchik said. “(I) just lost focus a little bit. I know where they should be going and just didn’t execute on a few of them and that kind of hurt me. Luckily, our offense scored some runs and we came away with a win.”
He moved to 3-0 on the season, while freshman pitcher Justin Alleman picked up his fourth save of the season.
After winning two of the three games at Ohio State last weekend, Gibson said the Spartans are right where they should be heading into the first home weekend series against Michigan.
“We beat Ohio State twice on the road, so that’s definitely a confidence booster and that’s going to help in a game like this where it’s a midweek game, you’re kind of tired from the weekend, but you’ve still got all that confidence built up from Ohio State and you’re going to win that game,” Gibson said. “We’re not going to overlook Eastern. It’s a game we should win. Hopefully we can get the hits that we need to get all the runs that we need to win.”
MSU travels to Ypsilanti, Mich., to take on the Eagles tomorrow before returning home for a tilt against Michigan on Friday.
Both the Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan games were rescheduled from a week ago because of inclement weather, but sophomore second baseman Kevin Goergen said it was a blessing in disguise to help get the ball rolling.
“We want to win all the time — get our confidence up,” Goergen said. “We’ve got to play hard all the time no matter who we’re playing, and it’s always good to get a couple wins before we go into a Big Ten series, especially this week against Michigan.”