The Michigan State baseball team was able to avenge an early season loss to in-state foe Western Michigan Tuesday night in dramatic fashion by walking off in the bottom of the ninth inning to come out victorious with a 7-6 win.
The Spartans and Broncos entered the ninth inning tied at six. Marty Bechina lead off the inning with a single before moving over to second base after Kory Young hit a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher. The Broncos sophomore pitcher Nic Laio, the losing pitcher in the contest, proceeded to walk the next two Spartan batters, (Brandon Hughes and Bryce Kelley), to load the bases. Chad Roskelly, the next batter, hit what could have been an inning ending double play to short-stop but the Broncos could not ” turn two” and the winning run came across the plate for a 7-6 MSU victory.
The Spartans and Broncos were in an early inning back-and-forth battle that resulted in the Spartans lead 3-2 after three innings. MSU was able to push a run across the plate in each of the first three innings of the game. The scoreless tie was broken in the top of the first inning when Roskelly singled in his first of two RBIs on the night to give his Spartans a 1-0 lead. Brandon Hughes broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the second inning with a sacrifice fly ball to centerfield. In the bottom of the third inning, Dan Chmielewski broke a 2-2 tie with a double to left field for his lone RBI in the game.
The Broncos took the lead in the top of the fourth inning with three runs of their own to take a 5-3 lead and knock out MSU starter, Caleb Sleeman, out of the game. Sleeman left the field giving up six hits and four runs, three of them earned, over 3 1/3 innings.
The Spartans were able to re-take the lead after seven innings with one run in the bottom of the fifth frame via an Alex Troop RBI single to right field and a two-run RBI single to centerfield from Kory Young in the bottom of the seventh to give MSU a 6-5 lead.
An infield single with the bases loaded from the Broncos in the top of the eighth tied the game at 6-6 setting up the thrilling finish in the ninth that was ultimately won by Michigan State.
The Spartans received many contributions from their offense. Young finished the night 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs. Matt Byars and Marty Bechina each chipped in two hits of their own.
On the mound Riley McCauley picked up his first victory of the season for the Spartans.
With the victory, Michigan State improved their season record against Mid-American teams to 3-2 with the two other victories coming against Central Michigan and Toledo, both occurring in East Lansing.
The victory over Western improved MSU’s overall record to 25-19 on the season as they head back to East Lansing for a matchup against the Eastern Michigan Eagles tomorrow afternoon at McLane Baseball Stadium.