MSU Tops Nebraska, 5-3, Sunday For Shortened Series Sweep
Spartans plate two runs in eighth to win third-straight.
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth to break a 3-3 tie and held on for a 5-3 victory for MSU over Nebraska Sunday afternoon at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field. With the win, the Spartans swept the shortened series with the Cornhuskers, which was reduced to two games due to weather.
MSU and Nebraska were scheduled to open the three-game series on Friday, but inclement weather postponed that game and the teams were to play a doubleheader on Saturday, but only got one game in before the second was cancelled due to cold temperatures. Sunday's game was scheduled for an 11 a.m. start because of Nebraska's travel schedule so only one game was played.
Sunday's win was the Spartans' third-straight victory, moving to 9-19 overall and 3-5 in Big Ten Conference action. Nebraska slid to 14-16 overall and 2-6 in B1G play, suffering their fourth loss in a row. This weekend's MSU wins snapped a two-game win streak by Nebraska in the series, cutting the Huskers' lead to 10-8 all-time.
"It was a good weekend, I think it obviously came at the right time, but the guys had a good week of practice and thought that we really made some strides to get better and I'm happy for our guys that they got to see some of the fruits of that on the field this weekend, both yesterday and today. I'm very proud of the way that they attacked the entire weekend," MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said.
Senior designated hitter Chad Roskelly was 3-for-4 with one run scored. Junior right fielder Dan Chmielewski and senior first baseman Zack McGuire were both 2-for-3, with Chmielewski scoring a run. Freshman catcher Adam Proctor was 2-for-4 with a run scored. MSU had 11 hits Sunday after a season-high 15 hits Saturday.
"It is a crazy game, at the same time like I said we had a good week of practice. Maybe losing the midweek game to weather was something that was able really to help us, because we got a lot of good work done in the cage, had some time to get some extra swings in and really just kind of zero in on the things and it carried over onto the field this weekend," Boss said.
Redshirt-freshman Mason Erla started on the mound, throwing 5.0 IP with four strikeouts. Senior reliever Jake Lowery pitched 2.0 innings of no-hit, no-runs, firing four strikeouts, and junior reliever Riley McCauley pitched the final two innings, tallying three Ks and got the win.
The scoring started early with Nebraska got on the board in the top of the first, taking advantage of a couple hits to plate two.
MSU countered with a run in the home half of the opening frame, as Chmielewski singled and later came around to score on an error by Nebraska after a single by McGuire, as the Spartans cut the gap in half at 2-1.
The home team tied it up at 2-all in the second. Roskelly singled and was moved around on a single by Proctor and a fielder's choice, and Roskelly later scored on a wild pitch.
The level score was short-lived as Nebraska plated a run in the top of the third on a leadoff home run into the Red Cedar River beyond the right field fence by Scott Schreiber.
After all the scoring in the first three innings, the next three-and-a-half frames were zeros on the scoreboard, aided by senior reliever Jake Lowery striking out the side in the sixth.
MSU evened the score at 3-3 after the stretch, with sophomore left fielder Bryce Kelley leading off with a triple to right center and later scored on a single by freshman second baseman Zach Iverson. The Spartans' rally fizzled with two runners left on, leaving the score at 3-3 with seven innings in the books.
In the top of the eighth, the Huskers by threatened loading the bases but junior reliever Riley McCauley got out of the jam with a strikeout, giving MSU relievers six Ks over the last three innings.
The Spartans took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the eighth, with Roskelly leading off with a single. Sophomore Danny Gleaves came on to pinch run for Roskelly, and was sacrificed over by junior third baseman Marty Bechina. Proctor followed with a single to center to move Gleaves up to third. With sophomore center fielder Justin Antoncic at bat, Nebraska reliever threw a wild pitch that allowed Gleaves to score and Proctor scampered around to third. Later, another wild pitch was on the fourth ball to walk Antoncic and Proctor darted home to put MSU ahead, 5-3.
Nebraska threatened in the top of the ninth, loading the bases, but McCauley thwarted the threat with a flyout to end the game for the victory for MSU.
Michigan State wraps up its 10-game homestand next week with four non-conference games against teams from Indiana, opening with Notre Dame on Tuesday, April 13 in a nationally televised game on ESPNU. First pitch from McLane Stadium at Kobs Field is slated for 3:05 p.m.
The Spartans then host Valparaiso in a three-game non-conference series Friday-Sunday, April 13-15. The Spartans-Crusaders clash opens on Friday at 3:05, followed by Saturday and Sunday with 1:05 p.m. start times. While Tuesday will be the 136th all-time meeting between Michigan State and Notre Dame, last meeting a year ago, MSU has only nine previous meetings with Valparaiso, with the last match-up coming in 1994.
Any schedule updates will be announced on www.MSUSpartans.com and on twitter @statebaseball.