Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Michigan State baseball rides career outings to 5-2 win over Purdue

April 11, 2021
<p>Freshman infielder Mitch Jebb (41) slides into second base as the ball comes his way during the game against Purdue on April 11, 2021, at McLane Stadium. The Spartans defeated the Boilermakers, 5-2.</p>

Freshman infielder Mitch Jebb (41) slides into second base as the ball comes his way during the game against Purdue on April 11, 2021, at McLane Stadium. The Spartans defeated the Boilermakers, 5-2.

Photo by Lauren Snyder | The State News

Michigan State baseball traded in the rain for runs Sunday afternoon at McLane Stadium in their 5-2 victory over Purdue. 

"Good win for our guys today, I think it was almost methodically, you could say, offensively," Head Coach Jake Boss Jr. said post-game. "(We) got off to a good start and had some good at bats in the first innings."

In the bottom of the first, with two outs, a 2-2 pitching count and two Spartan runners in scoring position, sophomore outfielder Zaid Walker hit a single to center field that brought in two Spartan runs. 

Senior Bryce Kelley tallied his 80th stolen base in the first inning to break the all-time MSU record for stolen bases.

"It feels really good," Kelley said. "I'm really relieved on two levels. One, I'm really proud of what I accomplished. It's something that I never really would have dreamed of here, and on a second level just relieved it's over and glad I can move on from this and keep winning some games."

MSU played off that early energy to send the Boilermakers back to the dugout after a 1-2-3 out in the top of the second.

Then in the bottom of the second, the Spartans found themselves in a similar position at bat, this time with two outs and bases loaded. Up to bat was Kelley, who drew a walk that advanced freshman Mitch Jebb to home plate, making a 3-0 Spartan lead. 

But Purdue wouldn’t let the Spartans get the shutout, and the Boilermakers found a little bit of footing after a pitching change gave them some more steam.

Purdue’s Miles Simington hit a leadoff double in the fourth inning that put him in a position to be the first Boilermaker to cross home plate. The Spartans looked in trouble with Purdue putting themselves in scoring position but eventually escaped with just one run given.

Neither team would cross home again until the seventh inning when MSU found more rhythm at the plate. The Spartans found a sweet spot in center field, one that Walker took advantage of for his third RBI of the game. 

Jebb later hit a grounder to right field that brought Walker past home to give the Spartans a 5-1 lead.

Freshman pitcher Nick Powers was switched out for Dominic Hann after throwing a strikeout on his 116th throw. The freshman finished the day with a career-high seven strikeouts and allowed just one Purdue run.

"After getting the strikeout, the second out in the eight, I was just grooving," Powers said. "I just wanted to stay in and get one more out to complete the eight. When you're throwing a good game it's not always fun to get pulled out, but pitch count was getting pretty high, so it was my time to come out."

Powers threw 74 strikes and just three walks in his career day. 

Purdue would try to come back in the top of the ninth but would tally just one run before the game ended in the Spartans' favor, 5-2.

The two teams will meet again at McLane on Monday at 3:05 p.m.

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