The score remained tied at three between Michigan State and Houston Baptist up until sophomore in-fielder Dillon Klark stepped up to the plate. There's one out on the scoreboard in the bottom of the ninth. The Spartans need a run to seal the win. Kark's swing let off a crack and it was a no-doubter for the win.
“I saw a fastball coming in and I knew that I could put a good swing on it. I hit it out of here and knew it was gone,” Kark said. “It felt great to win. This team came back and never gave up. It was a great all-around team win ... I was mainly looking to get something started, but a home run works too.”
The team was prepared to celebrate. They knew Kark had it in him and could pull it off.
“Going into the final inning I heard coach say, 'Everybody grab the water bottles,' and joked about the smoothies too, implying that we're about to hit a walk-off and everybody get ready to have some fun,” sophomore outfielder Frank said. “That's exactly what we did, and it's the most fun thing we can do. That's the way we wanted it to go.”
Not only was it the first time Kark's hit a walk-off home run, but it was a great start to the home season.
“Dylan had a couple of rough at-bats earlier, and it was great to see him attack the ball and get the win for us,” Frank said. “It felt really cool. This is exactly how you want to open up the season.”
Sophomore pitcher Harrison Cook was on the mound for the Spartans for the first six innings, and junior pitcher Conner Tomasic stepped in for the final three. Cook and Tomasic kept HBU in check throughout the game, holding them to only four hits and three runs.
The first inning started off quiet. It wasn't until the second that things began to heat up. Houston Baptist put up three runs while the Spartans finished the inning off with one run from Frank.
“We don't really think much of it,” Frank said. “Three runs in the second inning, it's so early in the game that nobody's really concerned. We all just keep grinding, scratch a couple across the different innings and we know we'll come out on top.”
The Huskies remained in the lead throughout the third. Frank put up another run in the fourth, but it wasn't until the bottom of the sixth inning when the Spartans tied it up with Frank's final run going 3-3.
“We had a couple good at-bats,” Michigan State Head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “Jack Frank had a really good day for us, left some opportunities out there but we still figured out a way to win and these guys did it. I give them credit ... Harrison was really good, and Conner was outstanding as well outside of the pen. They kept it at three for the Huskies, and didn't let it get away for us.”
The Spartans will return to the diamond on Sunday for a double header starting at 1:05 p.m.
“We've got to keep having good ABs, keep playing well on the field and to be able to keep moving on,” Kark said. “This game's over and we've got a new one ahead of us.”
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