In the 2017 home opening game at McLane Baseball Stadium in East Lansing, MI, the Michigan State Spartans (12-6) struck early and often in an 11-2 victory over the Central Michigan Chippewas (8-11).
The Spartans were relentless scoring in all but three innings in a 16 hit, 11 run offensive effort.
Central Michigan looked primed to get on the board in the top of the first inning with a runner on second base with two outs. Chippewa first baseman Daniel Jipping hit a shard ground ball past the MSU shortstop into left field. The Michigan State left fielder Bryce Kelley was able to throw the ball home and catch Jipping in time to end the CMU threat.
In the bottom of the first inning MSU started off with hot bats beginning the bottom half of the first with four straight hits and bringing in a total of — runs. The Spartans’s first run of the game came on a wild pitch from Central Michigan starter Zach Kohn that brought Dan Durkin across the plate. Michigan State first baseman Alex Troop brought in MSU’s second run of the game off of a shop single to left field. Designated hitter Zack McGuire hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield for Michigan State’s third run of the inning.
CMU put pressure on the Spartans in the top of the second inning , loading the bases with only one out in the inning. The Spartans were able to get out of danger with minimal damage after Chippewas were only able to scrap one run across the plate in the inning thanks to MSU pitcher Keegan Baar who walked the third baseman for CMU, Grant Frazier, to bring in the run.
In the bottom of the third inning MSU extended their lead back to three runs off of McGuire’s second RBI of the game. This time McGuire sent a single into left field to score third baseman Marty Bechina and the Spartans led 4-1.
The Spartans yet again threatened to score in the bottom of the fourth inning and succeeded by bringing in— runs. Matt Byars came in for Michigan State’s fifth run of the game on a bunt and throwing error to third base. In the next at-bat Bryce Kelley came in to score from third base on Kohn’s second wild-pitch of the game. Alex Troop brought in MSU’s third run of the inning on the very next pitch with a double down the right field line to bring in Brandon Hughes.
Michigan State scored for the third straight inning on a single to left field by Bryce Kelley to score Royce Ando in from second base and stretch MSU’s lead to seven at 8-1.
The Chippewas finally found the scoreboard again for the first time since the top of the second inning thanks to another bases loaded walk, this time surrendered by relief pitcher Jake Lowery.
MSU would three two more insurance runs in the bottom of the eight from a Bechina single on a hard hit ball to the shortstop to get the back up to seven at 9-2. Robbie Jones’s pinch hit single to left field scored the second and third run in the half inning to stretch MSU’s lead to 11-2.
In the 16 hit, 11 run effort by MSU, every player who had an at bat had at least one hit for the Spartans.
The Spartans used seven total pitchers in their victory starting with the left hander Keegan Baar. Baar went 2 innings and surrendered CMU’s first run of the game.
The Spartans roughed up Central Michigan’s starting pitcher, Zach Kohn who went four innings and gave up seven of MSU’s eight runs though only four of them were earned due to 3 Chippewas errors.
Up next for the Spartans is a weekend series in their Big Ten opener at Illinois from Friday March 24 to Sunday March 26.