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Thursday, December 18, 2014 | Last updated: 12:59am


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Prepping for game with Lugnuts, MSU beats Oakland at home, 5-3




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Junior center fielder Anthony Cheky prepares to swing during the home opener against Oakland on April 2, 2014, at McLane Baseball Stadium at Old College Field. The Spartans defeated the Grizzlies, 5-3. Danyelle Morrow/The State News



Junior catcher Blaise Salter and junior center fielder Anthony Cheky had solid outings, with the duo combining for three doubles and a home run.

Cheky got MSU on the board in the bottom of the third inning with a two-run homer.

Freshman pitcher Joe Mockbee picked up his first career win as a Spartan, coming in for two innings of relief. Junior pitcher Jeff Kinley got the save on Tuesday.

Head coach Jake Boss Jr. was pleased with the win, despite his team not playing what he thought was its best game.

“Every win’s a good win,” Boss said. “Admittedly, we probably didn’t play as well as I would have hoped, but it’s good to finally be home.”

Oakland got off to a hot start, scoring a run in each of the first three innings to build a 3-0 lead, but MSU used a big bottom half of the third to tie the game.

After freshman Dan Durkin singled to right field, Cheky hit a two-run home run on the second pitch to trim the Oakland lead to just one run. Junior shortstop Ryan Richardson then scored from first off a Salter double to tie the game at three.

MSU would take the lead, 4-3, in the bottom of the fifth off a single from Richardson, scoring Cheky from third base.

It appeared Oakland had tied the game at 4-4 in the top of the seventh inning off a sacrifice fly from junior third baseman Spencer Marentette, but sophomore first baseman Brett Impemba left third base too early.

The play was officially ruled a double play and MSU held onto its 4-3 lead.

MSU extended its lead in the bottom half of that inning, scoring off a sacrifice fly from senior designated hitter Joel Fisher.

Pickens scored the run to give MSU a 5-3 lead.

MSU finished with 10 hits compared to Oakland’s 13.

Pickens recorded one hit on Tuesday to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.

MSU now will ride its four-game winning streak into the eighth annual Crosstown Showdown on Thursday against the minor -league  Lansing Lugnuts.

The game has become a well-known event amongst the Lansing area and MSU community.

The game is officially ruled an exhibition game, but both clubs put a lot of emphasis on the game for multiple reasons.

Lansing Lugnuts General Manager Nick Grueser said the game is a great opportunity for the team to get used to the playing elements before the season begins.

Thursday’s Crosstown Showdown is set to begin at 7:05 p.m. at Cooley Law School Stadium in Lansing.

The game can also be seen on the Big Ten Network.

MSU is 2-5 in series against the Lugnuts, last winning in 2011.

“It’s an exhibition game and it helps these guys,” Gruesser said. “One thing that is different (from spring training) is the temperatures, so it kind of helps the players get their blood used to the weather.”

Salter also will enter the game with plenty of excitement.

Salter will be playing in his third Crosstown Showdown on Thursday.

He said it’s always fun getting to play in front of a big crowd and in a professional atmosphere.


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