May 12, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State baseball team fell to Iowa, 2-1, Saturday afternoon at McLane Baseball Stadium.
The game was a pitcher's duel between Spartan starter Andrew Waszak and Hawkeye southpaw Sasha Kuebel, but it was ultimately decided by the bullpens.
In the top of the ninth, the Hawkeyes (20-25, 8-12 Big Ten) scored the game-winning run on a two-out, bases-loaded walk to pinch hitter Anthony Torres on a full count.
The Spartans (32-17, 11-9 Big Ten) scored the game's first run in the bottom of the sixth, finally getting to Kuebel as Ryan Jones hit a one-out double to right-center, then scored on a single off the bat of Justin Scanlon. MSU just missed out on scoring more runs as Hawkeye left fielder Kris Goodman made an excellent two-out catch, crashing against the left-field fence to rob Jordan Keur of an extra-base hit with Torsten Boss on base.
Waszak, who only allowed three hits in his 7 1/3 innings, was pulled in the eighth after walking leadoff batter Nick Day and letting him reach second on a sacrifice bunt.
Spartan reliever Jeff Kinley then gave up a single to Eric Toole to put runners on first and third with one out. Jake Mangler's sacrifice fly tied the game at 1, but the damage could have been worse, as Anthony Cheky made a diving catch just before the warning track in center field to prevent an extra-base hit.
Kuebel also exited the game in the eighth following a leadoff single to Joel Fisher and a sacrifice bunt from Cheky. Kuebel, a freshman who entered the game with a 5-0 record, yielded just one run and scattered six hits without walking a batter.
Hawkeye reliever Nick Brown got Jones to pop up to second base on a full count, but hit Scanlon to place runners on first and second with two outs for Boss. Although Boss had two singles earlier in the game and became just the 16th Spartan to collect his 200th career hit, he went down swinging against Iowa lefty Taylor Kaufman to end the inning.
Kinley, who hadn't allowed a run in his previous 27 1/3 innings, gave up a leadoff single to Mike McQuillan in the ninth. McQuillan then went to second on a sacrifice bunt and eventually scored following three walks by Spartan relievers.
Tony Wieber entered first, but walked two straight batters on nine pitches to load the bases. Bryce Jenney then came on for MSU, and struck out pinch hitter Taylor Zeutenhorst on three pitches. That brought up the pinch hitter Torres, who worked Jenney into a full-count walk, allowing McQuillan to score from third. Another outstanding defensive play, this time from Keur in left field, ended the Hawkeye ninth as Keur made a head-first diving catch along the line to rob Toole of at least a double.
In the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Krill was hit by a pitch with one out, but a 6-4-3 double play sealed the win for Iowa.
Kinley (6-3) took the loss after getting charged with the game-winning run, while Kaufman (3-0) earned the win by pitching 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Jones had two doubles for Michigan State and now ranks third in Spartan history with 44 career doubles.
The game, originally scheduled for a 1:05 p.m. start, was delayed by rain for two hours and 26 minutes and didn't start until 3:31 p.m.
The Spartans return to action for the series finale against Iowa Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m.