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Spartan baseball rebounds from tough loss with win against Western Michigan

April 9, 2014
<p>Volleyball head coach Cathy George hugs first baseman Ryan Krill on April 9, 2014, before a baseball game against Western at McLane Stadium at Old College Field. George was throwing the ceremonial first pitch. Erin Hampton/The State News</p>

Volleyball head coach Cathy George hugs first baseman Ryan Krill on April 9, 2014, before a baseball game against Western at McLane Stadium at Old College Field. George was throwing the ceremonial first pitch. Erin Hampton/The State News

Photo by Erin Hampton | The State News

Coming off a tough 10-1 loss against Central Michigan on Tuesday — which snapped their seven-game winning streak — the Spartans were able to showcase their talent and raise their confidence for the coming Big Ten weekend games. MSU never trailed at any point against the Broncos after a dysfunctional outing against the Chippewas that included multiple Spartan errors.

“I thought we appeared better today than (Tuesday),” head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “If we stick to the plan, we’ll be good. ... The pitching was okay, but we were good defensively.”

After a scoreless first inning, senior pitcher Chase Rihtarchik allowed Western Michigan’s Grant Miller to advance to first base on a single, but the next batter struck out to end the inning.

MSU came back with two runs by sophomore outfielder Cam Gibson and junior first baseman Ryan Krill in the second inning. Junior outfielder Jimmy Pickens and Gibson then scored in the third, followed by freshman infielder Johnny Nate in the fourth. Boss said he has been trying to see what works with the lineup changes.

“We’ve been moving some guys and settling some spots but it hasn’t worked, so we tried something different and tried to shake things up,” Boss said.

To Boss, Krill and junior shortstop Ryan Richardson had a big day coming off of the disappointment from the Central Michigan game and “both guys were much needed.”

“Me and (Richardson) talked and said that yesterday was probably the worst game of his entire life,” Boss said. “I give him credit because he bounced back.”

Brett Sunde scored for the Broncos at the top of the fifth inning, followed by teammates Vinnie Booker and Kurt Hoekstra to give the Bronco’s their only runs of the day.

Scoreless in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, MSU drove in five runs in the bottom of the eighth, while Western Michigan was scoreless from the sixth inning on.

“It was good to get on the field and bounce back,” Krill said. “I’d say it was one of the best games we’ve played. It was good to get consistency today.”

After splitting the pair of midweek bouts with in-state competition, the Spartans will face Purdue at 3 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at McLane Baseball Stadium at Old College Field.

“Every Big Ten weekend is a big weekend,” Krill said. “The CMU game showed that if we don’t show up well, any team can beat us.”

Boss said that Purdue is a good team and will bring strong coaching and skill players.

“I told the guys, ‘Don’t be fooled by their record,’” he said.

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