Spartans Top Toledo, 4-1

 

EAST LANSING – A pair of two-run innings helped the Michigan State baseball team get past Toledo, 4-1, on Wednesday afternoon at McLane Stadium. Sophomore Keegan Baar picked up his first win of the year, holding Toledo to one unearned run in his five innings of work.

“It’s always good to get a win,” said MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. “I was a little disappointed in our approach at the plate early, but we got better as the game went on. I thought we pitched it well today.”

Leading 1-0 on a third-inning RBI fielder’s choice, Toledo threatened to add to its advantage in the top of the fifth as three consecutive bunts, the third being sacrifice, put runners at second and third with one out. But Baar got a nice defensive play from Jordan Zimmerman at first base for the second out and then got the next batter to pop out.

The Rockets (9-32-1) held MSU to just one hit until a leadoff triple by Matt Byars sparked a two-run bottom of the fifth inning to put the Spartans in the lead. The triple by Byars extended his hitting streak to 14 games; he scored two batters later on a groundout by Kris Simonton.

Designated hitter Zack McGuire followed and gave the Spartans (28-10) the lead for the first time when he crushed a 3-1 pitch from Parker Ruffer over the scoreboard in left field. The home run was McGuire’s first of the season.

Four straight singles to start the bottom of the sixth helped MSU extend its lead to 4-1 as Zimmerman and Marty Bechina picked up the RBI base hits.

“We started driving the ball a little better as the game went on. Those were good adjustments our guys made,” said Boss.

Zimmerman and Dan Durkin both picked up two hits on the day to lead the Spartan offense.

Andrew Gonzalez tossed three innings of scoreless ball, while Josh Buchalski faced the minimum in the ninth to earn his first-career save.

“With only one midweek game, we were able to give our pitchers shorter stints,” said Boss.  “I thought Keegan was efficient, Andrew was good and it was nice to get Josh some work.”

The Spartans return to Big Ten play this weekend when they take on Michigan in a home-and-home series. The Friday (6 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.) games will take place in Ann Arbor, while the two teams will meet Saturday (1:05 p.m.) at McLane Stadium.