LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State baseball team split a weekday doubleheader with Oakland on Tuesday afternoon at Cooley Law School Stadium in Lansing, Mich. The Spartans (21-8) took the first game, 7-1, but fell in the nightcap, 9-7.
Andrew Waszak (2-2) picked up the win in the opener, working in and out of trouble in his six innings of work, allowing only one earned run on five hits. He struck out three and walked three, while stranding seven Oakland runners.
Oakland got to Waszak in the first inning, jumping out to a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by Aaron Cieslak.
The Spartans evened the score at one in the bottom of the second on a RBI groundout by Andy Johnson. Jared Hook and Justin Scanlon began the inning with singles and were moved to second and third on a sacrifice bunt by Jordan Keur, setting up Johnson’s run scoring out.
MSU loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the third, but was only able to plate one run, coming on a sacrifice fly by Torsten Boss. Boss’ RBI, which gave the Spartans a 2-1 lead, would end up being the game-winner.
Boss made two great defensive plays at third base to keep the Golden Grizzlies off the scoreboard to end the top of the fifth and seventh innings. In the fifth, Boss made a diving play to his right with a runner on second, while in the seventh, he dug out a tough ball and made a strong throw across the diamond to strand runners on second and third.
MSU broke the game open in the bottom of the seventh with four runs. With one out, the Spartans loaded the bases, setting up a two-RBI single by Boss. Hook followed with a RBI single to push the lead to 5-1. After the inning’s second out, Keur was hit by a pitch and Johnson walked to force home the inning’s final run.
The Spartans added their final run in the bottom of the eighth, on a RBI double by Boss, his fourth RBI of the day. MSU took the opener 7-1.
Eckerle went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two stolen bases for the Spartans. Boss had a season-high four RBI, going 2-for-4 in game one.
Simpson picked up his first save of the season, throwing the last three innings. He allowed one hit and walked a batter, while striking out two.
Early struggles on the mound put Michigan State in a hole in the first two innings, a deficit it was never able overcome.
The Golden Grizzlies scored first again in game two, plating a run in the top of the first on a based loaded walk by Kyle Bobolts.
Michigan State quickly responded again with three runs in the bottom of the first. Eckerle led off with a walk and was followed by a Ryan Jones single, moving him to third. The next batter, Jeff Holm, singled home Eckerle, and MSU would score the final two runs in the inning on a sacrifice fly by Boss and a RBI groundout from Hook.
The second inning would end up being the decisive inning, as the Spartan lead quickly disappeared behind four Oakland runs. D.J. Jarrad had the big hit in the inning with a bases loaded, two-run double. Tommy Joblonski followed with a RBI groundout and Aaron Cieslak capped the scoring with a run scoring single. The Golden Grizzlies added another run in the top of the third inning on a RBI groundout by Tim Ryan to take a 6-3 advantage.
MSU chipped away with a run in the bottom of the third. Jones led off with a single, and would advance to third on a stolen base and a wild pitch. He would eventually score on a throwing error by the Oakland shortstop.
After two scoreless innings, Oakland added another run in the top of the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly by Joblonski to regain a three run cushion, 7-4.
The Spartans scored two in the bottom of the sixth inning, cutting the Oakland lead to 7-6, but would leave the bases loaded. Boss led off with a single and would eventually score on a RBI single by Joel Fisher. During the next at bat, Scanlon, who reached on a hit by pitch, would come around to touch home on a wild pitch.
Oakland got across two insurance runs in the top of the ninth, on a RBI single by Aaron Wick and a steal of home by Wick, to expand its lead to 9-6.
The runs in the top of the inning would deem important, as MSU attempted to rally in its last plate appearance. With one out, Jones doubled and moved to third as Holm reached on an error. With runners on the corner, Boss singled home Jones to bring the score to 9-7 and put the tying runs on base. However with Hook at bat, Holm was caught stealing for the second out. Hook would eventually walk, but Scanlon flew out to right field to end the game.
The Spartans return to Big Ten play this weekend, when they travel to Ohio State for a three-game set beginning Friday night at 6:35 p.m.