Roberts' Walk-Off Hit Lifts Baseball Over IU, 9-8
Spartans rally in the ninth inning.
May 14, 2010
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Chris Roberts' game-winning, one-out single in the bottom of the ninth inning completed Michigan State's comeback and lifted MSU to a 9-8 win over Indiana on Friday afternoon at McLane Baseball Stadium. Prior to the final play, the Spartans never led in Friday's game and came back from deficits on three different occasions to tie the score.
"We really needed that win," said MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. "I think our guys really showed some character today. We got down early but our guys stayed the course and put together a great ninth inning and ended up winning it."
Both teams are now 9-10 in the Big Ten, while MSU improved to 31-16 overall and IU fell to 24-23.
Trailing 8-6, Bo Felt led off the bottom of the ninth and reached on an error by IU third baseman Brian Ritz. Hoosier closer Chris Squires, who entered in the eighth inning, then walked Ryan Jones and Torsten Boss loaded the bases when he got on with a bunt single.
The Spartans cut the deficit to one run when a wild pitch by Squires allowed Felt to score and the runners to move up. Jonathan Roof then tied the game with sharply hit ball toward the shortstop that turned into fielder's choice RBI as Jones scored.
With first base open and Boss on second, the Hoosiers followed by intentionally walking cleanup hitter Jeff Holm, bringing up Roberts.
On a 1-0 count, Roberts belted the ball into left field, sending Boss around third and across home plate to compete the comeback.
"When I got the hit, it was just a relief," said Roberts, who finished the game 3-for-5. "It was a big win for us. It was a good team win all around."
IU got off to the fast start on Friday as the Hoosiers scored six runs off nine hits in the first three innings. Josh Lyon's bases-loaded single drove in two runs in the first inning, Brian Ritz led off the second with a solo home run and a trio of RBI hits in the third got IU its early runs. Eli Boike got MSU on the board in the second inning with a two-RBI double to right center field. Brandon Eckerle also drove in a run with an RBI single to knot the game at three in the second.
Down 6-3 in the fifth, Boss hit a two run blast just over the right field wall to pull MSU within a run and a solo homer by Roberts to start the sixth inning tied the game again.
After allowing six runs through the first three innings, Achter held the Hoosiers off the scoreboard for four consecutive innings, allowing the offense to get MSU back in the game.
"A.J. got through the first three innings then kind of settled in," Boss said. "He's a competitor and he's going to keep fighting and our guys fed off of that."
In the eighth, Achter walked the leadoff hitter, Ritz, but then retired the next two hitters and it looked like he might finish the inning. But in the next at-bat on Achter's 122nd pitch of the game, Micah Johnson hit an RBI double to reclaim the lead for Indiana.
Alex Dickerson brought in another run two batters later off MSU reliever Kurtis Frymier.
Frymier allowed the first two Hoosiers to reach in the top of the ninth, but quickly slammed the door as he retired the next three hitters, setting up the dramatic ninth bottom of the ninth.
After earning saves in his last two outings, Frymier got the win on Friday to improve to 3-0.
Squires took the loss in relief as he allowed three runs off four hits in falling to 5-2 on the year.
The two teams will meet in game two of the series on Saturday at 12:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.
Notes: Prior to Friday's game, there was a moment of silence for former athletic director Joe Kearney and former Spartan great and Baseball Hall of Famer Robin Roberts. Each passed away last week. Roberts' son, Jim, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.