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Spartans win at Comerica

Spartans beat Chippewas at Comerica Park 3-1

April 20, 2011
	<p>The Spartans look toward the flag as the national anthem is sung Wednesday at Comerica Park in Detroit. The Spartans took on the Central Michigan Chippewas at the Detroit Tigers&#8217; home stadium in the Clash at Comerica. Matt Radick/The State News</p>

The Spartans look toward the flag as the national anthem is sung Wednesday at Comerica Park in Detroit. The Spartans took on the Central Michigan Chippewas at the Detroit Tigers’ home stadium in the Clash at Comerica. Matt Radick/The State News

Photo by Matt Radick | The State News

Detroit — Sophomore pitcher Andrew Waszak had been to Comerica Park before. But never like this.

In the first-ever college baseball game at the stadium in Detroit, Waszak gave up one run in seven innings en route to MSU’s 3-1 win against Central Michigan on Wednesday night.

“I’ve been to a game here, and I’m looking down at the players,” said Waszak, who is from nearby Rochester Hills. “Today, I come out on the field and I’m looking at the stands and it’s just different.”
The Clash at Comerica was announced in early February as part of the 100th anniversary of the teams’ first meeting and was an opportunity for both programs to get more exposure.

“I think any exposure we can get in the north, whether it’s our program, Central Michigan, Western, Eastern Michigan, whoever, it’s good for college baseball,” MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “To get the opportunity to play on the big stage down here like this is just a positive for college baseball and it’s something that, in the north, we really need to try to continue to grow and make it more popular, and I think we’re getting closer.”

As for the play on the field, only the fans — 2,169 total — who took their seats early saw any action.

The Spartan bats started hot, as sophomore second baseman Ryan Jones singled in the first inning, extending his hitting streak to 22 games. Senior first baseman Jeff Holm scored Jones on a double hit to deep center field — which might have been a home run in most college stadiums.

The next batter, junior infielder Torsten Boss, walked. Then, sophomore designated hitter Jared Hook hit a ground ball to second base. It could have been an inning-ending double play, but Central Michigan’s Jordan Dean couldn’t field it, as Hook reached base safely.

Holm rounded third and headed home, and Dean’s throw to home went past the catcher, giving MSU (23-10) a 2-0 lead and two errors charged to Dean.

Boss then scored on a fielder’s choice from freshman catcher Joel Fisher as MSU took a 3-0 lead after the first frame.

Central Michigan (18-19) answered in the bottom of the frame, as a walk and double quickly cut MSU’s lead to 3-1. However, Waszak quickly found his groove, retiring the next eight batters.

Following the offensive first, the remainder of the game was the definition of a pitcher’s duel. The Spartans recorded five hits for the remainder of the game and the Chippewas had four.

“Mostly in that first inning, I was trying to get inside on guys and I was missing over the plate a little bit,” said Waszak, who moved to 3-2 on the season.

“So I kind of just concentrated more on getting in on guys and locating my fastball and try not to make mistakes and let them capitalize on it.”

Waszak allowed five hits and one earned run in seven innings of work, along with six strikeouts and one walk. He threw 92 pitches, 59 of which were strikes.

Central Michigan pitcher Bryce Morrow had a solid outing, pitching eight innings and giving up seven hits and one earned run — three total runs — but moved to 0-4 on the season.

The Spartans were able to exact revenge for a 3-1 defeat to the Chippewas on March 30 in East Lansing, which Boss called his worst loss in his three years at MSU.

“It was a heartbreaker to lose at home like that,” Holm said. “But coming out here, it was win first, surrounding second. Our task was really to get the W today. Thankfully we did it in front of a lot of fans on a pretty decent night. It was a lot better to come out here and win.”

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