With two outs to go in what seemed like an endless game, sophomore Justin Antoncic stepped up to the plate and would not disappoint by bringing home freshman Ryan King off the game winning hit to secure the win.
The Spartans took the first game of the doubleheader on Friday afternoon defeating the Crusaders, 5-4 in extra innings. It was the first time that the Spartans had gone through 12 innings since 2012.
"Really good win, game one" head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. "We didn't have many good at bats late in the game. I thought we got ourselves out a lot in the last seventh, eight, ninth, 10th innings maybe I think they went four in a row. I want to say maybe the guy retired 12 or 14 of us in a row. I thought we were getting ourselves on an awful lot."
In game one, MSU held a 2-1 lead heading into the seventh before Valparaiso’s junior Sam Shaikin drilled a homer to give the Crusaders a 4-2 lead.
The Spartans would answer right back in the bottom of the seventh as junior Marty Bechina homered to left field to cut the deficit to one. In the bottom of the eighth redshirt senior Chad Roskelly singled to right field, which would bring home freshman Zach Iverson to tie the game up.
For the next three innings, Valparaiso’s senior right-handed pitcher Alex Dirienzo was a force to be reckoned with as the Spartans failed to secure a single hit.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the 12th when King singled up the middle to put a man on base, followed by sophomore Bryce Kelley who singled to left to put runners in scoring position.
Antoncic would hit to left field to bring King to give the Spartans the victory as the dugout sprinted to first to mob Antoncic game winning hit. Antoncic lead the team hitting three for five and two RBI’s.
"Bottom of the 12th, we finally hit a ball hard," Boss said. "Justin hit a first pitch, put a good swing on it and you know that's what we're capable of. So real good win."
In the second game, it was a back and forth early on as both teams scored in the first, but the Spartans striked hard as junior Nic Lacayo doubled down the right field line that would send home Bechina. Iverson would single to center to bring home Kelley as the Spartans had a commanding, 5-1 lead after two.
Valparaiso came right back in the top of the third as senior Giovanni Garbella launched a two-run homer to left field to make the score, 5-3.
Bechina was on fire on the afternoon as he would hit his second home run on the day in the bottom of the third to give the Spartans a 6-3 lead. This is now Bechina's fourth home run on the season and now leads the team.
In the fourth Valparaiso would bounce back scoring four runs and three hits off Garbella's double down the left field line to give the Crusaders a 7-6 lead and would maintain that lead the rest of the way.
Valparaiso's redshirt senior Trey Ferketic had an impressive day, pitching his second back-to-back complete games on the season. Ferketic threw for a total of 116 pitches on the afternoon.
"We kicked all over the park," Boss said. "We didn't locate in the strike zone. When you don't play good defense you're going to have a good time beating anybody. That's a very offensive club and we talked about it all week long. You give them extra opportunities and you give them more chances they're going to take advantage of it."
The Spartans are now 10-21 on the season and will face Valparaiso to complete the weekend series at 1:05 p.m. Saturday. This will conclude the Spartans 12-game home stand before they hit the road.
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