March 11, 2012
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the 15th inning, the Michigan State baseball team rallied for four runs to get past Seton Hall, 4-3, Saturday night at Charlotte Sports Park in the Snowbird Classic.
With the score tied at 3, runners on first and third, and one out in the bottom of the 15th, freshman Anthony Cheky hit the game-winning RBI single to right field to bring home John Martinez in the dramatic victory.
"We showed a lot of heart and character coming back after giving up three runs in the top of the 15th," said Jake Boss, who won his 100th game as head coach of the Spartans. "It was an outstanding performance by our pitching staff, especially starter Andrew Waszak. Our guys kept fighting and never game up, and we found a way to win."
The Spartans and Pirates combined for 28 hits and 35 runners left on base in the five-hour, 40-minute marathon.
The two teams didn't score a run for the first 14 innings before the Pirates (5-9) put three on the board in the top of the 15th, all with two outs. Michael Betz delivered an RBI single to score Chase Gray for the game's first run, then Betz came home after a single and a wild pitch. Mike Genovese made it 3-0 with an RBI double.
Michigan State's rally in the bottom of the 15th started with Ryan Jones, whose single to lead off the inning was his fifth hit of the game. Seton Hall then walked three straight batters to bring home Jones and load the bases. After a strikeout, pinch hitter Andrew Carpenter came through with a clutch two-run single to right field that tied the game at 3, setting the stage for Cheky's game-winning single.
Waszak threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings and scattered six hits but had to exit the game after throwing 107 pitches. Seton Hall starter Rick Mangione struck out eight in his 6.1 innings of work.
Reliever Tim Simpson (1-0) ended up earning the win for MSU after recording the last out in the top of the 15th. Trey Popp pitched 3 1/3 innings for the Spartans after Waszak, and Mike Mestdagh and Tony Wieber combined for a scoreless 12th inning. Jeff Kinley threw two shutout innings before giving up the three runs in the 15th.
The 15-inning victory over the Pirates marked MSU's second extra-inning win this year (Feb. 25 vs. Furman; 6-2 in 11 innings) and its first win in a one-run game (1-4) in 2012.
Michigan State returns to action Sunday morning at 11 a.m. to face Pittsburgh at North Charlotte Regional Park.