EAST LANSING, Mich. â€“ The Michigan State baseball team fell to Central Michigan, 3-1, Wednesday afternoon at McLane Baseball Stadium in the 2011 home opener.
The Spartans (15-6), who were held to just three hits in the first eight innings, rallied in the ninth for three hits and one run, but couldnâ€™t come through with a game-winning hit to get past the Chippewas.
â€œIt was very disappointing,â€ said Spartan head coach Jake Boss regarding his teamâ€™s performance on Opening Day. â€œCredit Central Michigan. They played a lot better than we did and deserved to win. Weâ€™ve got a lot of work to do â€“ we need to be better.â€
CMU starter Ryan Longstreth (1-3) shut down the Spartan offense, which came into the game ranked first in the Big Ten and eighth in the nation in batting average. The junior southpaw allowed only three hits in his first eight innings before giving up back-to-back hits to start the ninth.
Brandon Eckerle delivered the second of his two hits in the game with a leadoff double in the bottom of the ninth, followed by a Jared Hook RBI single that made it 3-1. Longstreth was then relieved for another lefty out of the bullpen, Mike Nixon, who got Torsten Boss to strike out and Jeff Holm to fly out to right.
After Nixon retired the two left-handed batters in the middle of the Spartan order, right-hander Mike Martin came in for the save. Although Martin gave up a single to Ryan Jones to put runners on first and second with two outs, he got Justin Scanlon to pop out to end the game.
CMU (10-16) took advantage of three Spartan errors in scoring its three runs.
The Chippewas got on the board first in the fourth. With runners on first and second and one out, CMU center fielder Eric Wrozek hit a grounder to pitcher Andrew Waszak, who fired the ball to second for the force out, but in trying to get the double play, shortstop Justin Scanlon threw the ball wild to first, which in turn scored Jordan Dean from second base.
In the fifth, Chippewa right fielder Matt Faiman hit an RBI single to score Brendan Emmett, extending the lead to 2-0.
The Spartans did get out of a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the sixth, but gave up another unearned run in the seventh to fall behind 3-0.
MSU starter Andrew Waszak (1-2) took the loss, giving up two runs, one earned, while scattering seven hits in 6.0 innings.
Michigan State returns to action this weekend for the Big Ten series opener at Iowa (April 1-3). The first game of the series is set for Friday in Iowa City at 7 p.m. ET.