Spartans Thump Michigan, 11-5

EAST LANSING -An eight-run sixth inning lifted the Michigan State baseball team past No. 22 Michigan, 11-5, in a non-conference game Tuesday afternoon at McLane Stadium. The Spartans’ eight-run inning snapped a 2-2 tie as they went on to up their season record to 22-6.

“I’m proud of our guys, I thought we played well today,” said MSU head coach Jake Boss. “We took a lot of good swings and didn’t chase many balls out of the strike zone.”

The game-changing bottom of the sixth began with U-M’s Brett Adcock taking over for starting pitcher Evan Hill and issuing a walk to Dan Durkin and plunking Brandon Hughes. A Taylor Grace single loaded the bases, subsequently ending Adcock’s day.

The next batter, Kris Simonton started the Spartan scoring barrage with a two-RBI single into center field. A Justin Hovis sacrifice fly and Matt Byars double, respectively, plated two more runs.

Two batters later with two outs, a Michigan error allowed Marty Bechina to reach, scoring Byars, and Jordan Zimmerman followed with an RBI single.

Another error on a ball hit by Durkin brought in the Spartans’ seventh run of the inning and Grace capped the scoring with an RBI single to left field, making it a 10-2 game.

“We got that big hit to kind of start the rally and were able to string together a few good at-bats and then it just kept rolling,” said Boss. “When that happens guys feel good, they’re comfortable and they tend to barrel balls up.”

Jake Lowery took the ball from starter Keegan Baar in the top of the fifth inning and went on to earn his first win of the season, allowing one run on three hits in 3.2 innings. He blanked the Wolverines until the top of the eighth when he allowed a one-out RBI double.

An error gave the Wolverines the first run of the game in the top of the third inning, but MSU responded in the bottom of the inning, pushing across two runs to take a 2-1 lead. With the bases loaded and two outs, Brandon Hughes singled to shortstop and an error on the play allowed both Royce Ando and Byars to score.

Michigan (21-9) pushed back in the top of the fifth inning as the first two hitters reached via a single and double, allowing Carmen Benedetti to plate the tying run with an RBI groundout. Lowery then replaced Baar on the mound and didn’t allow any further damage, retiring two consecutive hitters to end the inning.

Grace, who finished the game 3-for-5, plated the Spartans final run in the bottom of the eighth with a double.

The Wolverines added two runs in the top of the ninth to make the final score 11-5.

The Spartans travel to Comerica Park on Wednesday to take on Central Michigan at 7:05 p.m. MSU and U-M will meet again in a conference series, April 29-May 1.