Thursday, December 2, 2021

Gulick's ninth-inning home run not enough, as 'U' loses 6-5

May 27, 2004

This was no marathon, but the first round of the Big Ten Tournament for the No. 4 seed MSU baseball team coasted at a slow pace Wednesday afternoon.

And as the game neared its end the pace was altered to a sprint when a 1-1 tie in the top of the eighth turned into Purdue's half of the inning.

The No. 5 seed Boilermakers (29-26 overall) got a grand slam home run from outfielder Andy Dahl to give them a 5-1 lead. One more run at the top of the ninth by Boilermakers third baseman Simon Klink off an Eric Osborn bunt put Purdue up 6-1 with little time for the Spartans to reel.

With few chances left, no outs and the bases loaded, junior rightfielder Travis Gulick stepped to the plate and knocked a grand slam of his own over the left field fence, bringing the Spartans (32-25) to within one, 6-5.

"It was a slow game at that point," Gulick said of Purdue's grand slam.

"We had to come back and we couldn't generate runs up to that point. Luckily, I put it over the fence."

After Purdue had seemingly taken over the game, MSU baseball coach Ted Mahan said his assistants, John Young and Dylan Putnam, began to discuss and even believe that the Spartans could get back into the game with a few good hits.

Gulick definitely answered and had the whole team seeing the game changing.

"It felt like we were going to do it," freshman leftfielder Ryan Basham said. "There was little doubt in our minds that we could do it."

The next batter, senior third baseman James Moreno, flied out to center field. Senior first baseman Scott Koerber was walked and Basham was the next to hit, singling to right field.

With two batters on and one out, sophomore centerfielder Alan Cattrysse grounded into a double play, ending the game.

"We came up a little short," Mahan said. "But today we played well coming back the way we did."

In the double-elimination style tournament, the Spartans now await the loser of the Michigan-Penn State game, which was played after the MSU-Purdue contest.

MSU went 3-1 against Penn State this season, while they split four games with the Wolverines.

The Spartans will play their first game of the losers bracket today at 1:05 p.m.

Wednesday, four Spartans were named to the All-Big Ten teams. The members of the MSU baseball team include seniors Moreno, pitchers Adam White and Bryan Gale and Gulick.

Of the four, Moreno, White and Gulick were awarded first-team honors, while Gale was named to the second team.

Moreno started every game for the Spartans this season en route to being one of four Big Ten players to be unanimously selected All-Big Ten.

He led the Spartans with a .346 batting average and 12 home runs.

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