April 11, 2014
EAST LANSING - The Michigan State baseball team dropped its Big Ten home opener on Friday at McLane Baseball Stadium, falling to Purdue, 5-3, in 11 innings. The Spartans rallied from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits in the game and put runners on base in each of the last five innings, but were never able to take the lead.
With the game tied and two runners on with one out in the top of the 11th, Michael Mullen recorded his only hit of the ballgame, an RBI single that got through the left side to make it 4-3. An error later in the inning brought in another run for the Boilermakers.
"I thought it was a fairly well-played ballgame until the last inning, but we had plenty of opportunities to win it and we just didn't get it done," said MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. "It's tough to lose game one of a series because now our backs are against the wall a bit. We dug a hole for ourselves, now we have to try and dig out of it."
Prior to Purdue taking the lead for good in the 11th, Michigan State stranded a pair of runners on base in the ninth. In the 10th, the Spartans had men on first and second, but grounded into their third inning-ending double play of the game.
"We know we still have an opportunity to win the series," Boss said. "We need to play better tomorrow and execute when we have opportunities."
Purdue got the first runs of the game in the top of the second as Brandon Krieg hit a bases-loaded two-RBI single down the left field line.
Jimmy Pickens made it a new ballgame in the bottom of the third, belting a two-run homer high over the right-field fence. Blaise Salter hit a two-out single into the gap in right center field and Pickens followed with his third home run of the season to make it 2-2.
After getting out of the second inning, MSU starting pitcher Mick VanVossen got in a groove, striking out five consecutive batters. But Steve Maniago put a sudden end to VanVossen's strikeout streak, homering to right field to reclaim the lead for the Boilermakers, 3-2, in the top of the fourth.
The Spartans had a prime opportunity to tie or take the lead in the bottom of the seventh when they loaded the bases with one out courtesy of a single by Ryan Krill and two hit batters. Purdue starter Jordan Minch spoiled the Spartans' scoring bid though, inducing a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Anthony Cheky.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Spartans made good on their scoring chance, getting the tying run on a sacrifice fly. Joel Fisher's fly ball to center field scored pinch runner Chase Toth to knot the game at three.
MSU starting pitcher Mick VanVossen struck out a career-best 10 hitters for the second consecutive game. He went seven complete innings, allowing three runs of a season-high nine hits.
VanVossen gave way to Anthony Misiewicz to start the eighth. Misiewicz shut down the Boilermakers over the next three innings, allowing three hits and striking out three.
Jake Lowery took the loss, giving up the two runs in the 11th. He is now 1-1 on the season.
Purdue's Matt Gibbs got the win, pitching the final three innings.
Due to the likelihood of rain on Sunday, the two teams have adjusted the weekend schedule and will now play a doubleheader on Saturday. Game one will begin at 1:05 p.m. with the second game following approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the opener.