The Michigan State baseball team (15-19, 2-7 Big Ten) was able to squeeze a game in between brief rain showers in East Lansing on Wednesday evening with Eastern Michigan (15-20) in town and secured a 7-6 victory.
“Proud of our guys, they showed a lot of character tonight,” Michigan State Head Coach Jake Boss said postgame. “It could've went south for us on a couple different occasions. We didn't play perfect baseball, but we made plays when we needed to and that's kind of what it's all about. Great effort ... I think we showed a lot of maturity today, which is probably what I'm most proud of in this group. They keep fighting, they keep scratching and we were able to pull one out.”
The Spartans got the scoring started in the bottom of the first after sophomore outfielder Jack Frank knocked a line drive down left field and allowed sophomore infielder Mitch Jebb to circle home.
However, the Eagles answered quite quickly, coming up in the top of the second with three runs to surpass the host. Freshman outfielder Logan Hugo cracked a double to bring around freshman catcher Aaron Dolney and senior outfielder Brady Huebbe. Hugo's run-in brought the game 3-1.
They added a fourth run in the top of the third, getting comfortable in a lead before MSU finally found a voice and retaliated.
In the bottom of the fourth, a double from redshirt junior infielder Peter Ahn got Frank to third base and sophomore infielder Trent Farquhar to home. Another rocket down the right-field from redshirt freshman catcher Bryan Broecker brought the game within one as Frank scored.
EMU responded with two more runs in the top of the fifth inning and by the halfway point in the game, EMU had snuck six hits, six runs and three errors on freshman pitcher Aidan Arbaugh, who had only managed three strikeouts in return.
After the bottom of the fifth, where MSU managed two more runs to keep the difference between them and their opponent at a slim one run, Arbaugh was swapped out for redshirt junior pitcher Wyatt Rush. Rush got three strikeouts and forced the Eagles to leave one runner on base, putting MSU back at the plate for redemption.
It wasn't until the bottom of the sixth that MSU saw the lead again, 7-6, when sophomore infielder Dillon Kark and junior outfielder Zaid Walker rounded the bases. With two outs, Farquhar walking to second and Jebb having stolen second, there was a chance to pad the lead ahead of EMU.
That's when Frank walked, loading the bases. A home run would push MSU into double digits on the night, something not often rectified by the program. However, they failed to see it through.
By the end of the night, MSU had gotten 10 hits off EMU, with seven runs, two errors and six runners left on base. They were carried offensively by Jebb, who went 3-for-5 on batting appearances, and their pitching was carried by Rush, who got four strikeouts in only 2.2 innings pitched and 11 batters faced.
The Spartans advance 15-19 on the season and will head down to Northwestern Friday to kick off a three-game weekend conference season. The first pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. followed by Saturday and Sunday both at 3 p.m.
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