Spartans Edged By Eagles, 4-3, Tuesday
Ando Goes 2-For-3 With RBI Triple
YPSILANTI, Mich. -- Michigan State baseball was edged by Eastern Michigan, 4-3, Tuesday night at EMU's Oestrike Stadium.
The Spartans slide to 15-10 on the season, while EMU improved to 10-18.
Michigan State was limited to just six hits, but held Eastern Michigan to only four hits. The Spartans left eight runners on base Tuesday, compared to six for the Eagles.
"That's how it's gone the last week and a half for us. We've had plenty of chances, we just haven't had many results," MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. "We need somebody to step up and lead the ball club on the field. I think it's a very talented group but somebody's got to take ownership of what's going on out here and we've got to be ready to get it done on the field. We're certainly capable of it, but it just hasn't happened lately for us."
Tuesday was MSU's fifth-straight loss, with four of those five being by one run.
"We've worked really hard to get guys in position to score, but we can't get it done. We've had a few opportunities where we have gotten guys in position, but for whatever reason, we're not getting it done. There's some things we need to fix. Fresno State comes into town this weekend so we're going to need to be prepared for them," Boss said.
EMU scored a run in each of the third and fourth innings for a 2-0 lead.
MSU countered with two of its own in the fifth frame. Senior catcher Matt Byars led off with a double to right center and Ando followed with a triple to the wall in right center, plating Byars for MSU's first run of the evening. two batters later, junior centerfielder Brandon Hughes hit a sacrifice fly to center to drive in Ando and tie the score at 2-all.
The Eagles retook the lead in the bottom of the sixth on a solo home run by Mike Mioduszewski. EMU added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases and then drawing a walk to plate a run and take a 4-2 lead.
In the ninth, the Spartans got their first two batters on after sophomore right fielder Dan Chmielewski and Byars both drew walks. After a sac bunt by junior pinch hitter Kory Young moved them up a base, freshman left fielder Bryce Kelley grounded out to second but was enough to plate Chmielewski and advance Byars to third, but the rally fizzed with a strikeout to end the game.
The Spartan pitching staff yielded only four hits and chalked up eight strikeouts, with junior reliever Nate Lowery taking the loss, sliding to 2-1 on the season.
Tuesday's game was a reunion of sorts for three members of the MSU coaching staff, as Coach Boss was head coach at Eastern Michigan in 2008 before becoming the Spartans head coach the next season. Boss was also an assistant coach at EMU from 1997-2004. Eastern Michigan head coach Mark Van Ameyde was a pitching coach under Boss for six seasons at MSU (2009-14). Van Ameyde was an assistant on the Spartan staff that won the 2011 Big Ten Championship.MSU student assistant coach Jonathan Roof is in his first season on the Spartan staff and was a Spartan alum (2008-10). Roof's brother, Eric, is in his third season as an assistant coach at Eastern Michigan, after serving as a volunteer assistant under Coach Boss for two seasons (2013-14), and was a three-year letterwinner at Michigan State (2007-09). Spartans' volunteer assistant coach Jordan Keur, who is also a former Spartan player, was also an assistant coach at EMU before joining the MSU staff.
Michigan State continues its non-conference week this weekend when the Spartans host Fresno State next weekend, Friday-Sunday, April 7-9 in a three-game, non-conference series, the second of three-straight home weekends at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field. Friday's series opener is at 3 p.m., followed by Saturday and Sunday with 1:05 p.m. start times.
Fans should stay tuned to www.MSUSpartans.com or follow MSU Baseball on twitter at statebaseball for any schedule updates.