In the tenth annual Crosstown Showdown — an exhibition between the Michigan State University baseball team and the Lansing Lugnuts, the class-A Midwest League affiliate for the Toronto Blue Jays — ended in the Lugnuts’ favor, winning their fifth-straight matchup between the Spartans by a final score of 4-1 at Cooley Law School Stadium in downtown Lansing.
Lansing scored two runs early, taking a 2-0 lead after the bottom of the first inning. Second baseman Cavan Biggio started the inning for the Lugnuts with a single against redshirt-junior Ethan Landon. One batter later, Designated hitter Bo Bichette tripled to deep right-center making it a 1-0 game. Center fielder J.B. Woodman followed up with the third straight hit of the inning and scored Bichette, making it a 2-0 game.
MSU had their first of many offensive attack cut short in the second inning, after senior catcher Matt Byars and redshirt-sophomore left fielder Dan Chmielewski hit back-to-back singles to start the attack with one out in the inning. Redshirt-junior Chad Roskelly then hit a line drive back to Ravel, the starting pitcher who proceeded to double off Chmielewski.
The Spartans would have another inning cut short in the top of the third when freshman center fielder Danny Gleaves was cut down trying to advance from first to third on a Dan Durkin single. In the fourth, Sophomore third baseman Marty Bechina would single to lead off the inning, but would be thrown out trying to return to first base after junior first baseman Zack McGuire lined out to the shortstop Yeltsin Gudiño.
Lugnuts right fielder Joshua Palacios singled down the left field line to start the home half of the fourth, off of senior pitcher Josh Buchalski who came in relief for freshman Sam Benschoter. One batter later first baseman Christian Williams hit would would have been his fifth home run of the season over the right field wall, making it a 4-0 game.
MSU’s best scoring chance was squandered in the top of the fifth when senior catcher Chad Roskelly led the rally with a walk. Freshman Bryce Kelley pinch ran for Roskelly, and was later thrown out at home on a close play after sophomore infielder Royce Ando singled. Woodman was credited with the outfield assist.
The Spartans would rally in the seventh inning, Chmielewski would score their first run of the game off an error by Biggio, making it 4-1 with two outs. MSU would be cut short with the game ending with Robbie Jones, pinch hitting for senior left fielder Taylor Grace, striking out.
MSU actually out hit the Lugnuts, nine to six as well as playing perfect defense while the Lugnuts committed one error.
The Spartans would pitch the game by committee, with nine pitchers in total seeing the mound. Landon earned the exhibition loss with the two earned runs he allowed in the first inning. Freshman Mike Mokma and Sam Benschoter saw time on the mound as well.
MSU has two more exhibition games this fall — an away game in Bloomington against Indiana on Oct. 1, and a home game against Bringham Young University on Oct. 8 at McLane baseball stadium.
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