Spartans’ Ninth Inning Comeback Tops Arizona, 3-2
Michigan State scores three in the bottom of the ninth to earn the victory.
MINNEAPOLIS - In the final day of the Dairy Queen Classic/B1G-Pac 12 Challenge, Michigan State baseball scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to overcome Arizona, 3-2, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday afternoon. With the bases loaded and one out, redshirt-senior designated hitter Chad Roskelly drove in the game-winning run with a walk-off fielder’s choice, plating senior infielder Kory Young for the victory for MSU.
The Spartans improve to 3-7 this season, snapping a two-game losing streak, while Arizona falls to 5-5. MSU finished the Classic with a 1-2 record.
Just like his previous two outings, Michigan State starting pitcher redshirt-freshman Mason Erla pitched a gem, allowing two runs and scattering three hits over 6.0 innings. Sophomore Mike Mokma was also strong in relief going 3.0 innings and allowing only one hit to improve to 1-1. Arizona starter Randy Labaut went eight innings, allowing two runs. Preston Price took the loss falling to 0-1 this year.
“We had a really good character win for our guys today,” MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “I thought just like they have done all year long they competed until the very bitter end. We had a couple good at bats today out of Justin Antoncic, and we had three or four really good at bats in the ninth with Zach Iverson leading it off with a double. Justin got his third hit of the day, and we got a little bit of momentum going in the ninth, and it just started rolling for us.”
The Spartans’ walk-off victory was their first since a 7-6 victory over Western Michigan last season at Comerica Park, and Sunday’s walk-off victory was identical with a walk-off fielder’s choice and off the bat of Roskelly, with him beating out the throw at first in both wins.
“Like I said it was a gritty win for our guys, a good character win. I am happy for them. It was a great at bat for Chad Roskelly in the ninth to get it to a full count. He put the ball in play and made something happen. He beat out a ground ball, and we win. It was very similar to the Western Michigan game at Comerica Park last year,” Boss said.
Arizona took the early 1-0 advantage in the top of the second inning. Matt Frazier starting the inning with a double down the right field line. Cameron Cannon followed with a walk, and the runners advanced to second and third after a passed ball. The Wildcats loaded the bases after a walk by Mitchell Morimoto. UA took the 1-0 lead after a sacrifice fly by Cal Stevenson brought home Frazier.
Nick Quintana doubled the Arizona lead in the top of the sixth with a two-out double to left center to score Ryan Haug from third, giving the Wildcats the 2-0 lead.
The Spartans started the comeback when freshman first baseman Zach Iverson doubled down the right field line with no outs. Sophomore centerfielder Justin Antoncic singled through the right side to put runners on the corners with no outs. Junior catcher Nic Lacayo cut the lead to 2-1 with MSU’s third-straight single. After another UA pitching change, Marty Bechina tied the score, 2-2, by driving home Antoncic. With the bases loaded and one out, redshirt-senior designated hitter Chad Roskelly drove in the game-winning run with a walk-off fielder’s choice.
Michigan State returns to action on Wednesday, March 7 against Clemson in Greenville, South Carolina, as the Spartans continue their Spring Break trip, with the first of four games in Greenville.