April 15, 1998
YPSILANTI, Mich. -- Eastern Michigan used a pair of big innings to knock off Michigan State, 8-5, on Wednesday afternoon.
The Eagles (17-18) hung a three spot on the scoreboard in both the third and sixth innings, as EMU grabbed a 6-2 lead after six. Michigan State(15-18, 4-8) pulled to within one in the latter stages of the ballgame, 6-5, but a pair of unearned runs in the ninth put the contest out of reach.
MSU starter Kimya Massey (1-5) was strong early, facing the minimum eight batters through the first 2.2 innings. But a three-run, two-out rally in the third gave EMU the lead, as Massey takes his fifth loss of the season. The sophomore southpaw finished with five runs allowed in 5.1 innings, fanning two and walking two.
The Spartans only managed five hits, but received nine free passes from Eagle hurlers. But the Spartans could not deliver hits with runners on base, as they left 12 on base during the afternoon.
Senior Tom Grigg scored three times in the affair, while sophomore Gary Zsigo knocked in two on a RBI single in the fifth and a bases-loaded walk in the seventh.
Michigan State opened the scoring in the top of the first, as the loaded the bases with one out on a Mike Wagner single and a pair of walks to Grigg and Zsigo. Mark Mulder delivered Grigg to the plate with a line drive single to right on a 1-2 count, leaving the bases full of Spartans. But EMU starter Kirk Martin (3-1) escaped further damage by striking out the next two Michigan State batters.
After Eastern Michigan took a 3-1 advantage with its third-inning rally, the Spartans cut the deficit to one with a single tally in the fifth. With one down, Grigg reached on EMU shortstop Nick Soliz's third error of the afternoon. After stealing second, Grigg scored on a ground ball single through the right side by Zsigo.
But the Eagles opened up their 3-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth, as a two-run homer by Greg Ryan knocked Massey from the hill. EMU picked up another run in the frame to gain a 6-2 edge.
Michigan State came back in its very next at bat. A pair of walks to Carlos Fernandez and Grigg, plus a Mike Wagner hit batsman, loaded the bases with none out. Zsigo scored Fernandez by drawing a walk on five pitches, leaving the bases loaded for Mulder. The left-handed hitting-junior bounced hard into a 463 double play, but Grigg came in from third to cut the Eagle advantage to 6-4. The Spartans could not get the remaining runner home from third, keeping the deficit at two.
The Spartans picked up another run in the eighth, but again failed to capitalize with runners on. With one down, Joe Kalczynski reached on a base hit to left. Ted Demetral followed with a base on balls, putting runners at first and second. Fernandez laced a double just out of the reach of EMU right-fielder Dan Hyott, allowing Kalczynski to score to cut the deficit to one. But a fielder's choice at the plate and a strikeout kept the Spartans from tying the score.
Eastern Michigan put the contest out of reach in the bottom of the eighth, scoring two unearned runs, accounting for the final count of 8-5.
Michigan State now heads into a showdown with the Michigan Wolverines this weekend. The Spartans will host two games at 1:00 pm on Saturday, with Mark Mulder and Gary Zsigo throwing for MSU. Single games on Friday and Sunday will be played in Ann Arbor.
Michigan State 100 010 210 - 5 5 2 Eastern Michigan 003 003 02 - 8 10 3
MSU: MASSEY, Brandell (6), Yens (7), Mulder (8) and Fernandez EMU: MARTIN, Nordquist (6), Stewart (7), Kommer (9) and Aldridge, Jacks (9)
NOTES: Senior Shortstop Tom Grigg had seven assists in the contest, as he now has 499 for his career...Mark Mulder struck out two in the eighth inning, his only inning on the hill, as he moved into a tie for tenth place on MSU's single-season strikeout list with 78...Mike Pisani went 0-4, snapping a four-game hitting streak.