Friday, May 24, 2024

Spartans drop game two against Michigan 4-3

April 7, 2012
Junior outfielder Jordan Keur arrives the second base safe as Michigan infielder Dylan Delaney failed to catch the ball. The Spartans fell to the Wolverines on Saturday afternoon by 4-3 at McLane Baseball Stadium at Old College Field. Justin Wan/The State News
Junior outfielder Jordan Keur arrives the second base safe as Michigan infielder Dylan Delaney failed to catch the ball. The Spartans fell to the Wolverines on Saturday afternoon by 4-3 at McLane Baseball Stadium at Old College Field. Justin Wan/The State News

On paper, the MSU baseball team has an offense to compete with any team in the Big Ten and many teams across the country. However, on the field this weekend against in-state rival Michigan, the offense has told a very different story.

Squandering multiple scoring threats, the Spartans (18-10 overall, 2-3 Big Ten) once again left runners stranded without a timely hit and fell to Michigan (15-16, 2-3) , 4-3, on Saturday afternoon at McLane Baseball Stadium at Old College Field.

“Looking for leadership out of some of our guys that are supposed to be our best guys and it’s not happening right now,” head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “It’s very frustrating when you have returning guys that are good hitters that are your best guys and we need them to be our best guys and they’re not right now. Very disappointing.”

In both games against the Wolverines this weekend, MSU stranded 19 runners on base, including 10 on Saturday. As a result, the Spartans fell short of a victory in each contest.

“I feel like we’ve got great team chemistry, you know,” freshman designated hitter Blaise Salter said. “Right now, we’re getting people in scoring position and we’re just not getting those timely hits that are so crucial for wins.”

The Spartans got the scoring going in the bottom of the second inning following a single by senior shortstop Justin Scanlon. With Salter at the plate, Scanlon reached second base on a passed ball and moved up to third on the same play after a throwing error by Wolverine catcher Cole Martin. In the same at-bat, Salter drove Scanlon home and gave MSU a 1-0 edge.

Salter picked up another RBI in the fourth inning, knocking home sophomore catcher Joel Fisher to head into the fifth leading by a pair of runs.

The Wolverines battled back in the fifth with a two-RBI single by shortstop Dylan Delaney, scoring right fielder Zach Zott and second baseman John DiLaura to tie the game at two.

However, the Spartans regained the lead in the bottom half of the frame on a bizarre play following a single by left fielder Jordan Keur. Standing on first base, Keur moved up to second on a wild pitch by Wolverine pitcher Trent Szkutnik, then to third on an errant throw into center field by Martin and scored on a poor throw to third base by the center fielder Patrick Biondi all in the same play to go ahead, 3-2.

After surrendering another pair of runs in the top of the sixth inning, the Spartans saw a chance to tie the game up slip away from their grasp in the bottom half of the inning.
With two outs in the inning, freshman Ryan Krill pinch hit for junior first baseman John Martinez and drew a walk. The next batter, freshman center fielder Anthony Cheky put a charge into a ball deep into the outfield for a double, giving Krill a chance to score. However, Krill was cut down on a throw that beat him to the plate, thus ending the inning and the threat for the Spartans.

The Spartans weren’t able to recover from the play and eventually went on to lose the game by the score of 4-3.

“I don’t know how else we’re going to score,” Boss said. “I mean, that’s our one opportunity to score and we have to take advantage of it. Ryan Krill is going to be a great player here, but he doesn’t understand that as soon as the ball is hit, he needs to run hard. And he wasn’t running hard until five, six, seven steps into it and consequently, he was thrown out at the plate.”

The Spartans will try to salvage the series with Michigan at 1:05 p.m. in Ann Arbor on Sunday. And for many including junior third baseman Torsten Boss, the team’s focus will need to improve to get out of the weekend with at least one victory.

“We just need to focus up, I think that’s our biggest thing,” Torsten Boss said. “When guys are called on, we need to execute. That’s one thing that we’ve been having trouble with this year. We just need to focus up.”

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