Baseball Falls In Big Ten Opener, 5-3
Spartans lose for the first time since March 7.
April 2, 2010
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Despite limiting Iowa to just five hits, the Michigan State baseball team saw its 11-game winning streak come to an end on Friday afternoon as it fell, 5-3, to the Hawkeyes in the Big Ten opener at McLane Baseball Stadium. Iowa starting pitcher Jarred Hippen (2-2) threw a complete game for the Hawkeyes, as he held MSU to three runs off seven hits. The Spartans are now 17-5 and 0-1 in the Big Ten, while the Hawkeyes improved to 10-13 and 1-0 in conference play.
"It's a tough loss but have to give credit to Iowa, they took advantage of some of the mistakes we made and that's what happens when you get into the conference and you face a good team," said MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. "We hit the ball hard and hit some balls right at guys, but that's baseball."
Iowa took the lead in the first inning with a two-RBI double off the bat off Ryan Durant. It marked the first time in eight games the Spartans surrendered runs in the first frame.
In the top of the third inning with two outs and two runners on base, the Hawkeyes threatened again with Phil Keppler at the plate. Keppler hit a bouncing ball that nearly got through the infield, but a diving stab by first baseman Jeff Holm, and quick throw to a stretching A.J. Achter covering first ended the inning.
The Hawkeyes added another run in the top of the fifth, extending their lead to 3-1. With a runner on third, it looked like Iowa would get another run when Durant sent a sharply hit ball toward left field but another stellar defensive play, this time by Bo Felt, ended the inning.
After giving up a solo run in the second inning, Hippen held the Spartans in check as he retired 10 of the next 12 batters before giving up a ground-rule double to Boike with one out in the sixth inning. Two batters later, Boike, who finished 3-for-4 at the plate, scored courtesy of a deep sacrifice fly from Jonathan Roof to make the score 3-2.
The Spartans finally scrapped back to tie the game in the sixth inning. Roberts got on base with a one out walk and two batters later, Torsten Boss drove him in with a single.
Just as soon as the Spartans gained a bit of momentum after knotting the game at three, the Hawkeyes responded to reclaim the lead with two runs in the top of the eighth frame. Durant recorded his third RBI of the day with a double and two batters later, a sacrifice bunt by Andrew Host scored another run to make it 5-3.
MSU put two runners on base in the bottom of the eighth inning but neither advanced past first and in the ninth, Hippen sent the Spartans down in order.
"We're obviously disappointed, but we've got two more games to go in the series," Boss said.
MSU starter A.J. Achter went eight complete innings but suffered his first loss of the season (3-1). Acther gave up five hits, walked three and had five strikeouts.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. at McLane Baseball Stadium. Admission is free.