MSU sweeps Rutgers, wins in come from behind fashion
On a gorgeous spring afternoon in East Lansing, the Spartans hosted Rutgers for the third and final game of a weekend series to kickoff the start of Big Ten play. After a doubleheader on Saturday, MSU completed the series sweep in come from behind fashion to defeat the Scarlet Knights by a final score of 6-5. The Spartans would improve to 18-3 on the season and 3-0 in the Big Ten.
It was all Rutgers in the first couple of innings. The Scarlet Knights opened the top of the first with a run to get out to an early 1-0 lead. Mike Carter would start things off with a base hit and he would eventually score on a balk called on MSU’s starting pitcher, junior Walter Borkovich.
Borkovich would find himself in even more trouble in the second inning, where he would give up four earned runs to make the score 5-0 in the Scarlet Knights’ favor. Center fielder Jawuan Harris singled to lead off the inning and would steal both second and third. Harris would score off a base hit from DH Nick Matera, and Matera would eventually score off a Carter base hit. R.J. Devish and Carter both scored in the inning, giving MSU work to do.
MSU would start to chip away at Rutgers’ lead in the bottom of the third to make the score 5-1. Dan Durkin led things off with a double and would advance to third on a sac fly by Taylor Grace. Kris Simonton would score Durkin on an RBI single, but that would be all for MSU in the third.
The Spartans would add two more runs in the sixth inning to further chip away at Rutgers’ lead. Zimmerman led off the inning with a single to center, he would advance on an error by Harris in center field. Zimmeman would score on a base hit from sophomore DH Zack McGuire and McGuire would score from a groundout from catcher Matt Byars to give MSU some life and make the score 5-3.
Rutgers would go to the bullpen in the seventh inning and Christian Campbell would take the mound for the Scarlet Knights. Coming into the contest, Campbell had a 1.12 ERA and had racked up 12 strikeouts in only three relief appearances. The Spartans, however, would take the lead thanks to a pair of home runs from freshman Marty Bechina and junior Jordan Zimmerman to take a 6-5 lead into the eighth inning.
After giving up 5 runs in the first two innings of work, Borkovich would finish the day strong, going scoreless the rest of the afternoon and finishing the day with four strikeouts and one walk and seven hits in 7.2 innings of work.
Dakota Mekkes would come in for relief and finish out the game. Mekkes would strike out two in the ninth inning and record the final out on a slow rolling grounder back to the mound.
The Spartans will take a day off to recoup and will get back into action on Tuesday when they will host Oakland University for a day game. First pitch for Tuesday’s game against the Golden Grizzlies is set for 3:05 p.m.