Baseball Rallies To Down Michigan in Extra Innings, 8-7
Spartans beat in-state rival for first time since 2006.
April 17, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State baseball team rallied from two-run deficits in the ninth and 10th innings then scored one in the 11th to defeat Michigan on Friday (April 17) afternoon in front of a crowd of more than 1,500 at McLane Baseball Stadium. The win was MSU's first over Michigan since the 2006 season.
"Our guys showed a lot of character today," said Spartan head coach Jake Boss Jr. "We fought back from two, two-run deficits and I'm really proud of them. They kept playing and that is something we've been preaching all year long. They showed a lot of character today and a lot of heart and I'm proud of them for that."
With the Spartans trailing 5-3 entering the bottom of the ninth, Bo Felt and Brandon Eckerle led off the inning with back-to-back singles to get the rally started. Eli Boike then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Felt over to third but an errant throw from Michigan reliever Tyler Burgoon to first base sailed high and into foul territory, allowing both Felt and Eckerle to score and tie the game at five.
With no outs, the Wolverines intentionally walked the bases loaded to create a force out at any base. The strategy worked as U-M was able to get a double play and another force out and send the game into extra innings.
It didn't take long for Michigan to put MSU back in a two-run hole as Mike Dufek hit a two-run home run to give U-M a 7-5 lead in the top of the 10th. Frymier then retired the next three batters and set MSU up for another two-run rally.
Three of the first four Spartan batters, including Jonathan Roof (walk), Felt (single) and Eckerle (walk), reached in the 10th to again load the bases. Boike then walked to bring in a run and pulled MSU within one at 7-6. A.J. Shindler followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to again pull the Spartans even.
Kurt Wunderlich came in to relieve Frymier in the 11th, retiring the side and sending the game to the bottom of the 11th tied at seven.
With two out and Eric Roof still at second, Bo Felt sent a ground ball toward U-M shortstop Kevin Cislo that got under his glove and into the outfield. After Roof slid into third and the ball rolled into left field, he got up and sprinted toward home plate. Wolverine Kenny Fellows' throw toward home plate was off target and Roof scored to give MSU an 8-7 victory.
"When we were down two runs, the dugout picked us up," said Jonathan Roof. "Guys kept saying, `We're going to do this, we're going to get the runs back.' And we found ways to get the runs."
Spartan starter Nolan Moody sent the first six Wolverines down in order before U-M scored four in the top of the third to take a 4-0 lead. The Wolverines loaded the bases to start the inning and two consecutive RBI singles followed by two sacrifice flies cleared the bases.
The Spartans responded in the bottom of the third and cut the lead in half with the help heads-up base running from Brandon Eckerle and a costly U-M error. Eckerle reached on a single, stole second, and advanced to third on a wild pitch to get into scoring position. Eckerle later got caught in a rundown but a dropped ball allowed him to score and put MSU on the board. Roberts drove in the Spartans' second run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to center field.
Eli Boike made it a one-run game in the fifth at 4-3 with a leadoff homer to right field, his team-leading sixth of the year.
Anthony Toth gave Michigan back its two run advantage in the eighth with an RBI single to make the score 5-3.
After giving up four runs off four hits in the third inning, Moody gave up just one hit through the next four. Wunderlich got the win for MSU in relive to improve to 4-4.
Wolverine starter Chris Fetter went eight complete innings and struck out six while Katzman suffered the loss to fall to 5-3.
The two teams will play game two of the series on Saturday (April 18) in Ann Arbor at 1:05 p.m.