Baseball out-hit Central Michigan University 9-2, but left ten runners on base, as they fell 3-1 to the Chippewas Wednesday afternoon at McLane Baseball Stadium in East Lansing. This is the Spartans’ third loss in four games, and it drops them to 6-13 on the season.
Senior Andrew Gonzalez got the ball for the Spartans at the start of the game and did not allow a hit in 5 innings, but he did walk 7 batters and eventually surrendered a run in his final frame. The loss went to Jesse Heikkinen, a freshman right-hander from nearby Holt, who allowed 2 runs in his only inning.
“We pitched it well enough, although we walked ten guys and hit one,” head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “If you’re not gonna hit, it’s probably not fair, but I have to ask those guys to be a little bit more clean on the mound. All the way around, we need to better- on the pitching side, offensively, defensively, the whole deal.”
An odd play occurred in the third inning. Second baseman Kory Young bunted designated hitter Chad Roskelly to second, but he saw third base was uncovered and took off. The Chippewas recovered and threw Roskelly out on a close play which caused a considerable amount of argument afterwards, both from Roskelly and Boss.
“He saw an opportunity. I’d have to see a replay; I thought he was safe,” Boss said postgame. “But the umpire didn’t call him safe. It’s just an unfortunate thing, but I appreciate him trying to make a play. I’d rather have guys being aggressive and trying to make something happen than sitting back and letting the game dictates things.”
The Spartans did take the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning with some small ball. Center fielder Justin Antoncic laid down a bunt single with one out. After senior first baseman Zack McGuire singled to center, shortstop Ryan King sacrificed himself, bunting Antoncic home to draw the first blood of the game.
Gonzalez walked three in the fifth inning, including a run-scoring wild pitch on ball four to CMU catcher Ethan Kratt, which allowed the Chippewas to even the score. After the game, Boss was moderately pleased with Gonzalez’ start.
“He’s struggled with command. On the positive side, he walked his share of guys, but got out of it most of the time,” Boss Jr. said. “It was good to see him throw zeroes up there. At the same time, they’re scuffling a bit offensively. That’s gonna come back and haunt you at some point when you play against teams that are very, very offensive. He got away with it today. On a different day, against a different opponent, he might not.”
The game turned in the top of the seventh inning, when Heikkinen hit one Chippewa and walked another to begin the inning. Jake Lowery, a redshirt senior right-hander, came in and got two outs to bring the Spartans to the verge of getting out of the inning unscathed.
However, Kratt sawed off a pitch to right field and plated two Chippewas, which would prove to be the final players to score on the day.
The Spartans will next play University of Michigan at 4 p.m. on Friday in Ann Arbor.