LANSING, Mich. – The Lansing Lugnuts topped the Michigan State baseball team, 4-1, on Tuesday night at Cooley Law School Stadium in the 10th annual Crosstown Showdown. A crowd of 8,432 was on hand to watch the annual exhibition game that was played for the first time ever in September after being postponed in the spring due to poor weather.
“It was a beautiful night; great crowd, great atmosphere,” MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr., said. “This is a first-class organization. (Lugnut manger) John Schneider and his team were very gracious to play tonight after their season is over. I’m sure they’re ready to get home after a long season, but at the same time I’m sure they recognize what this game means to the community and Michigan State. I’m really pleased we were able to move the game to the fall, it was everything we thought it would be and more with the home run derby. Nothing but positives to take away for us.”
The Lugnuts, whose regular season came to a close Monday, got on the board quickly, scoring twice in the bottom of the first off an RBI triple by Bo Bichette and an RBI single by JB Woodman.
Christian Williams doubled the Lugnut lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth with a two-run shot over the wall in right field.
A two-out error on a ball hit up the middle by Justin Antoncic scored Dan Chmielewski in the top of the seventh got the Spartans on the board, making the final score 4-1.
Senior Ethan Landon got the start on the mound for MSU – one of nine pitchers to see action for the Spartans in the seven-inning contest.
“We gave ourselves a chance in the seventh,” Boss said. “We didn’t walk anyone, we didn’t make any errors, we out-hit them. I thought the way we played after only being together for four days was pretty good.”
The Spartans finished the game with nine hits. Riley McCauley struck out both batters he faced in the bottom of the sixth, while Chmielewski and Dan Durkin both finished with two hits to lead MSU.
Prior to the game, the two teams held a home run derby with three players from each team taking part. Marty Bechina, Zack McGuire and Durkin participated for the Spartans. After slugging 10 home runs in the opening round, Durkin advanced to the final round where the Lugnuts’ Connor Panas outdueled him, 14-10.
The Spartans will play two more exhibition games this fall – Oct. 1 at Indiana and Oct. 8 vs. BYU at McLane Stadium.