May 3, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A two-out RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning by Casey Fletcher gave Illinois a 5-4 victory over the Michigan State baseball team on Saturday afternoon in Champaign, Ill. With the loss, the Spartans are now 24-19 overall and 8-9 in the Big Ten.
The two teams played a back-and-forth game for the second straight day as MSU bounced back from an early 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead in the top of the fourth inning. The Illini (26-17, 12-5) tied the game in the bottom of the fourth frame and then the two teams traded runs again in the sixth.
With the game tied, 4-4, both teams put runners in scoring position in the late innings. Both teams stranded men at second base in the seventh, while the Spartans were able to get runners in scoring position in each of the next two innings, but couldn't come up with the go-ahead RBI.
Illinois' Will Krug led off the bottom of the 10th inning with a double to right center field off reliever Anthony Misiewicz, who replaced starter Justin Alleman to get the final out of the seventh. Misiewicz got a strikeout and then walked David Kerian before being replaced by Jeff Kinley.
Kinley got Jason Goldstein to fly out for the second out, but followed by hitting Reid Roper to load the bases. Fletcher then ended the game with a walk-off RBI single down the left field line, plating Krug to make the final score 5-4.
An RBI groundout in the first and then a solo homer in the second gave Illinois a 2-0 lead before the Spartan offense got going in the top of the third inning. A two-out double by Cam Gibson and then a passed ball put him third base for Blaise Salter, who singled through the right side to make it a 2-1 game.
The Spartans pulled ahead in the top of the fourth. Ryan Krill's leadoff homer to right field tied the game and then a sacrifice bunt by Justin Hovis scored Ryan Richardson from third base for a 3-2 Spartan advantage.
The lead was short-lived though as Fletcher tied the game in the bottom of the fourth with a homer to right field.
Both teams traded long balls again in the sixth. Joel Fisher hit his fourth homer of the season with one out in the top of the frame and Goldstein answered with one of his own to lead off the bottom of the inning, tying the game again, 4-4.
Alleman tossed 6 2/3 innings, allowing four runs off eight hits. He struck out five and walked two before giving way to Misiewicz. Misiewicz gave up just one hit in his 2 2/3 innings, struck out three and walked one.
Illinois reliever Ronnie Muck took over for starting pitcher John Kravetz to start the seventh inning and held the Spartans to just one hit the rest of the way.
The two teams will complete the three-game set tomorrow at Illinois Field at 2 p.m. ET.