April 3, 2011
IOWA CITY, Iowa - The Michigan State baseball team fell at Iowa, 19-7, Sunday afternoon in the series finale at Duane Banks Field. The Spartans (17-7, 2-1 Big Ten) committed a season-high five errors in the loss and 10 of the runs Iowa scored were unearned.
Although they fell on Sunday, the Spartans won the series by taking two of three games and are tied atop the Big Ten standings at 2-1 along with Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio State and Penn State after one weekend.
The Hawkeyes (10-15, 1-2) put the game out of reach with a 10-run seventh inning that gave them a 19-5 lead.
Michigan State used seven different pitchers in the game. Freshman starter David Garner (3-3) took the loss as he allowed six runs, four earned, on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Iowa got on the scoreboard first, putting up three in the bottom of the second. The Green and White bounced back with two runs in top of the third as Brandon Eckerle scored from third on a bases loaded double play and Jared Hook hit an RBI single through the left side of the infield.
The Spartans took their only lead of the game with three runs in the top of the fourth to make it 5-3. Three RBI doubles in the inning, one each from Andrew Carpenter, Eckerle and Jeff Holm, pushed the Spartans in front. Eckerle finished the game 2-for-4 and improved his batting average to .431 on the season.
Iowa knocked Garner out of the game with three runs in the fifth to go ahead 6-5, and followed with three runs in the sixth before the 10-run outburst in the seventh. MSU committed two errors, walked two, hit two batters, and surrendered five hits in the inning.
In the ninth, Torsten Boss hit a two-run double for the Spartans to make the final 19-7.
"We had a chance to take control early, but we left the bases loaded in the second and couldn't score," said MSU head coach Jake Boss. "Iowa then came back with three runs in the bottom the inning and we lost some momentum. Our guys did a good job of clawing back and taking the lead, but when you can't make plays defensively, it's hard to stay in the game. Give Iowa credit, we did everything we could to stop them there in the seventh, but they got some big hits.
"Big picture, we're glad we won the series. If you win the series every weekend, you're going to give yourself a good chance to win a championship. At the same time, we're disappointed with the way we lost today and it shows we still have a lot of work to do."
Michigan State returns to action for the fifth annual Crosstown Showdown Tuesday, April 5. The game will begin at 7:05 p.m. at Cooley Law School Stadium in Downtown Lansing; all tickets are priced at $10 and are still available for sale at msuspartans.com and lansinglugnuts.com.