On a sunny, but brisk day in McLane Baseball Stadium the baseball team (10-11 overall) cruised to a 8-3 victory over the Central Michigan Chippewas (15-10 overall) in the team's home-opener.
"Not a bad day today, we showed a little progress especially offensively," head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. "We love playing at home, it's a beautiful facility, a great atmosphere, our guys are excited to play at home."
MSU wasted no time getting the offense going early, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first. Junior outfielder Cam Gibson was the lead-off man and he opened the game for MSU with a double.
Senior first baseman Ryan Krill, the designated hitter for the day, then walked. Senior infielder Mark Weist was hit by a pitch to load the bases for the Spartans.
Gibson scored on a wild pitch and senior first baseman Blaise Salter grounded out to third scoring Krill and giving MSU a 2-0 lead. Freshman catcher Chad Roskelly gave MSU the 3-0 lead with a sacrifice fly.
Things were quiet for a few innings, until the fourth. In the top of the fourth with two outs MSU's starting pitcher freshman Alex Troop was working on an early no-hitter until the Chippewas freshman DH Daniel Jipping hit a solo home run to left field, reducing the gap to 3-1.
The Spartans answered in the bottom half of the inning, with one put freshman infielder Kory Young singles and Gibson follow with a single of his own. A throwing error advanced Young to third and Gibson to second and a ground out by Krill scored Young, advancing Gibson to third. A single by Weist scored Gibson and gave MSU a 5-1 lead.
A solo home run by freshman pitcher and outfielder Brandon Hughes gave the Spartans a 6-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth.
The sixth got hairy for MSU as Troop began the inning walking the first two batters. After consecutive walks Troop was replaced with sophomore Walter Borkovich. A sacrifice on the next at-bat gave CMU runners at second and third with one out.
"I should have taken (Troop) out after the fifth, he hasn't gone that deep into games yet," Boss Jr. said. "All in all (it) was a good learning experience for him today and (he) was able to control the game for the majority of it when he was in there.
"(He) walked a couple of guys in the sixth (and) that was a little disappointing but he's got a bright future ahead of him."
Borkovich hit the next batter, loading the bases for CMU with one out. Borkovich responded by striking out junior first baseman Zack Fields for the second out and forcing freshman Zach McKinstry to ground out to end the inning.
The seventh inning saw CMU put up two more runs, the only time it felt as if the game could get close. The Chippewas began the inning with a ground out but after a single and consecutive walks CMU chased Borkovich off of the mound.
Sophomore Joe Mockbee replaced Borkovich at pitcher and Mockbee started off strong with a strike out. But with two outs junior outfielder Logan Regnier singled scoring two runs that were charged to Borkovich. Mockbee struck out the next batter, ending the inning.
The Spartans wouldn't let CMU get any closer as MSU blew it back open in the eighth. Gibson scored an unearned run on a RBI single by Salter. Senior outfielder Chase Toth scored on an RBI single by Richardson after being put in to pinch run for Krill.
In the ninth the Spartans closed the game with no further damage, opening up play in McLane with an 8-3 victory over CMU.
Gibson was the offensive star of the day, going 3-for-5 with 3 runs scored and Troop moved to 2-1 behind a solid day on the mound giving up only two hits and one earned run through five innings pitched.
"We came out here and we started getting those runs pretty quick which helped us be confident throughout the game," Gibson said. "We stayed pretty consistent throughout the entire game which is what we needed to do."
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