No. 23 Spartans Get 6-5 Walk-Off Win Over Western Michigan

 

EAST LANSING – A bases-loaded RBI single by Matt Byars in the bottom of the ninth inning helped the No. 23 Michigan State baseball team top Western Michigan, 6-5, on Wednesday afternoon at McLane Stadium. The win halted the Spartans’ two-game skid as they improved to 26-8 on the season.

“It was good to get the win,” MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “We got a couple of big at-bats there in the ninth. We felt like we needed a little momentum heading into the weekend and hopefully today does that for us. We took some small steps today to getting back where we need to be and then we’ll try to have a good practice tomorrow.”

Brandon Hughes and Dan Durkin drew consecutive walks to start the bottom of the ninth inning and a perfect bunt down the third baseline by Marty Bechina moved both runners into scoring position. An intentional walk to Kris Simonton by WMU reliever Derek Schneider brought up Byars. The junior laced a 1-2 pitch into right field, easily scoring Hughes to give the Spartans a 6-5 win.

It was Byars’ lone hit of the day, extending his hitting streak to 10 games.

Western Michigan pushed the game to bottom of the ninth after plating a pair of runs in the top of the frame. A leadoff homer by Nate Grys made it 5-4 and then a two-out single into center field by Connor Smith knotted the game at 5.

Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the second, the Spartans used a two-out rally to take a 3-1 lead. Walks to Chad Roskelly and Kory Young, sandwiched around a single through the middle by Justin Hovis, loaded the bases for Justin Zimmerman who drew a full-count walk on the 11th pitch of the at-bat to bring in the Spartans’ first run. Hughes then drilled single to right field, belting the first offering from pitcher Jack Szott into the gap in right field to plate Young and Hovis.

Western Michigan made it a 3-3 game in the top of the fourth on two-RBI double by Tanner Allison. Allison was thrown out on the play trying to stretch the hit into a triple.

An error by Smith in the bottom of the sixth on a ball hit by Roskelly helped the Spartans regain the lead, 4-3. Roskelly moved to second on a wild pitch after the one-out error and Hovis brought him home when he drilled the ball up the middle.

Riley McCauley took over for MSU starter Andrew Gonzalez in the top of the seventh and retired the Broncos in order, allowing the Spartans to add to their lead with a solo run in the bottom of the frame. A two-out single up the middle by Simonton bounced off the leg of pitcher Kyle Mallwitz and between the first and second basemen, bringing home Hughes from third to make it 5-3.

Jake Lowery, who pitched the ninth inning, earned his second win of the season. Gonzalez, who was in line for the win heading into the top of the ninth, allowed six hits in six complete innings.

The Spartans will host Indiana in a three-game series this weekend beginning Friday at 3:05 p.m.