March 5, 2007
LAKELAND, Fla. - Down 3-0 after seven and a half innings, the Michigan State baseball team scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth and one in the bottom of the ninth to rally for a 4-3 victory over Pittsburgh Monday night at Joker Marchant Stadium, the spring training home of the Detroit Tigers. With one out and the bases loaded in the ninth, Sean Walker was hit by a pitch, bringing home Eli Boike for the game-winning run.
Eli Boike started the ninth inning with a single to left center, and after a strikeout, advanced to second on a Brandon Doherty infield single. Doherty went 5-for-5 in the game with a triple. Panther pitcher Bobby Bell, who came into the game at the beginning of the inning, then walked Steve Gerstenberger to load the bases and hit Walker with the bases loaded to give the Spartans (3-2) the win.
Bell relieved starter Nate Reed, who threw seven shutout innings before running into trouble in the eighth. After a groundout opened the frame, Reed walked Kyle Day. Reed struck out the next batter, but on the same play, Day stole second, and proceeded to get to third on a throwing error by catcher Nick Mullins. The error gave MSU an opening, and the Spartans capitalized. With runners on first and third after a walk, MSU put on a double steal, and Day scored from third as Chris Roberts stole second. Roberts scored the tying run on an Evan Friedland single, but Friedland was thrown out at second to end the inning.
The Panthers (0-8) scored the game's first run in the top of the fourth, plating Sean Conley on a Peter Parise single. In the fifth, Pitt went up 3-0 on a two-run shot to left by Jordan Heer.
Mark Sorensen (1-1) hurled three innings of shutout relief to earn his first victory of the season. Sorensen struck out four and did not allow a hit. He relieved starter Jon Kibler, who scattered four hits and struck out two in six innings of work.
The Spartans, winners of three straight, return to action Tuesday to take on Central Florida in Orlando at 6:30 p.m.