Spartans Fall to OSU, 3-2, in Extra Innings
MSU plays OSU again Sunday morning with the winner advancing to the championship game.
"I thought our kids competed and really proud of the way they did," said head coach Jake Boss Jr." We missed out on a couple of opportunities. They took advantage of one opportunity late and we lose a one-run ball game. Good ball game all of the way around and our guys will be ready to play tomorrow."
It was a back and forth game in the early going, but remained tied 2-2 from the fifth inning on. The Spartans put the potential game-winning run on second with one out in the ninth, but a double play ended the threat and sent the game to the 10th.
Ohio State's Ronnie Dawson led off the top of the 10th and sent his 13th homer of the season over the right field wall to give the Buckeyes the lead for good.
After OSU struck first to take a 1-0 lead in the second inning, MSU answered in the bottom half of the inning to tie it right back up. Kris Simonton and Marty Bechina both reached to get things going and then the two players executed a double steal to put two runners in scoring position. With two outs, Kory Young laid down a bunt toward third base and legged out a single, allowing Simonton to score from third.
"We want to play small ball," said Boss. "I thought it was important to take the lead early. Ohio State took the lead and we ended up tying it on a great bunt with two outs. It was a back and forth ball game with two good clubs. You try to get momentum in any way that you can."
The Spartans (36-19) took the lead in the next inning, continuing the small-ball theme to generate a run. Jordan Zimmerman extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a leadoff single. Dan Durkin sacrificed him into scoring position, allowing Matt Byars to single him home to make it 2-1.
OSU (41-18-1) tied things back up in the fourth inning, facilitated by back-to-back leadoff singles. Jalen Washington picked up the RBI on a groundout to second that allowed Troy Kuhn to score from third.
Jake Lowery came on in relief for starter Andrew Gonzalez in the sixth with two runners on and nobody out. Lowery retired the first two batters he faced to escape the jam. The redshirt sophomore escaped another two on, one out jam in the eighth with consecutive strikeouts.
Lowery finished with a career high five Ks in 3.0 innings of scoreless work.
Walter Borkovich took the loss for MSU and is now 4-3 on the year. Borkovich came on in relief for Lowery with a runner on second and one out in the ninth, but retired the first two Buckeyes he faced.
MSU has a quick turnaround and gets another shot at making the Big Ten Tournament championship game tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. ET.