Feb. 26, 2010
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Michigan State used solid pitching and scratched for late-inning runs in a 5-3 comeback win over Seton Hall on the first round of the Big Ten-BIG EAST Baseball Challenge at the Naimoli Baseball Complex.
"I thought our guys did a nice job of staying in the ballgame," said MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. "We got a big hit from Bo when we needed it and capitalized and beat a good Seton Hall team."
Seton Hall third baseman Sean Gusrang broke up a double no-hitter by both starting pitchers when he clubbed a home run just to the right of the batter's eye in centerfield to give the Pirates a 1-0 advantage in the fourth inning.
SHU starter Joe DiRocco did not allow a hit over the first four innings until the Spartans began pecking away effectively. Michigan State's Andrew Carpenter broke the ice with a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning to tie the score. Two innings later, the Pirates' Chris Spagnuolo looped a two-run double to left to regain the lead for Seton Hall, 3-1.
MSU pulled within one run at 3-2 when Jeff Holm walked with the bases loaded to force in a run in the sixth. Brandon Eckerle's fielder's choice RBI tied the game at 3 in the bottom of the seventh before an RBI triple by Bo Felt and a run-scoring single by Carpenter in the bottom of the eighth put away the game.
MSU starter A.J. Achter was impressive with eight strikeouts, one shy of his career high, and a pair of walks over 5.1 innings. Relief ace Trey Popp advanced to 2-0 by working 3.2 innings of shutout ball with three strikeouts, and walk and just one hit yielded.
"A.J. threw well early on and Trey came in and was outstanding in relief," said Boss. "He threw strikes and got ahead in the count - another solid effort for him."
Spagnuolo belted a pair of hits to lead the Pirates' six-hit performance as the losing squad actually outhit the Spartans 6-5. Reliever Ed Ras, the fourth of five SHU hurlers, was tagged with the loss and fell to 0-2.
The Spartans will play their second game of the Challenge on Saturday when they face No. 15 Louisville at 4:30 p.m.