FINAL: Spartans explode in fourth inning defeating Toledo
The Michigan State Spartans (11-27, 1-10 Big Ten) crushed the Toledo Rockets (15-23, 3-10 MAC) in nine innings with a final score of 4-2. Since their win over the Oakland Grizzlies Tuesday, the team has continued its winning streak.
In the top of the first inning, junior right-hand pitcher Caleb Sleeman struck out Toledo Chris Meyers as the starting batter of the game. Later on, Toledo's Brad Boss popped up a fly ball into left field which was caught by junior left fielder Bryce Kelley. Boss scored the first run of the game for Toledo.
At the bottom of the first, senior shortstop Marty Bechina walked onto first and later stole second with sophomore catcher Adam Proctor at bat. They ended the inning 1-0 Toledo.
“We just want to finish strong,” sophomore pitcher Jesse Heikkinen said. “Things haven’t started the way we wanted to, but we keep working hard and go out there every day and play hard. We just want to finish strong.”
At the top of the third, Kelley and freshman first baseman Reese Trahey made a double play to fuel the team to strike the Rockets out within the first three batters. In the bottom of the third, Trahey stole second base while Kelley was at bat.
“I think the biggest (takeaway) was we played clean baseball,” Trahey said. “We didn’t make any errors, we played solid defense and we didn’t walk as many people as other games...”
At the bottom of the fourth, the bases were loaded when senior center fielder Dan Chmielewski popped the ball into left field to bring freshman designated hitter Casey Mayes home to tie the score 1-1.
Later on, the Spartans loaded the bases again to allow freshman right fielder Zaid Walker to run home, bringing the score up to 2-1 Spartans.
“We kind of came out slow today which happens during midweeks,” senior shortstop Marty Bechina said. “It was good that we got it going a little bit and took the lead and never looked back from it.”
In the bottom of the fifth, Bechina stole second base and walked to third, and later went on to run home to bring the score up 3-1 Spartans. Later on, senior second baseman Royce Ando ran home as well to make the score 4-1.
At the top of the sixth, Toledo Chris Meyers ran home to bring the score up to 4-2. At the bottom of the sixth, a Spartan foul ball ricocheted off the home dugout and hit Meyers in the face. He was down for awhile, but eventually got up and continued play.
“Hopefully we have some momentum moving into the weekend, we won two in a row now,” MSU coach Jake Boss said. “I thought we played good enough to win tonight, I don’t think we played great. But I thought we played well last night and hopefully we’re confident, we have a little bit of momentum going into the conference series and we need to make some ground up in a hurry…”
The Spartans will host a three-game series against Northwestern at McLane Stadium starting Friday. Livestream is available at btn2go.com, and live stats are available at msuspartans.com.