Spartans Beat Buckeyes, 6-2, Friday

Kelley breaks MSU single-season stolen base record, Roskelly and Proctor belt home runs, Erla and Tyranski stymie OSU bats.

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State baseball got a pair of home runs from Chad Roskelly and Adam Proctor combined with solid pitching from Mason Erla and Mitchell Tyranski to boost the Spartans to a 6-2 victory over Ohio State Friday afternoon at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field. Bryce Kelley also broke the MSU single-season stolen base record, with his 31st of the season.

The win not only leveled the three-game series with Ohio State, but improved MSU to 10-12 in Big Ten action, moving up to eighth-place in the B1G standings in the battle for the eighth and final spot in the B1G Tournament, heading into Saturday’s regular-season finale, which is also the Spartans’ Senior Day. Michigan State is now a game ahead of Maryland, who is 9-13 after a loss at Indiana Friday, and the Terrapins hold the tie-breaker.

Thursday’s victory for MSU moved its season record to 19-30 overall, while Ohio State is 34-19 overall and 14-9 in B1G play with the loss. The Buckeyes slid to fifth in the league standings.

“I thought mentally we were pretty locked in for nine innings, and we got a great effort out of our pitching staff. Mitchell Tyranski was really good out of the bullpen, so it was a good day,” MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said.

Kelley, a sophomore outfielder, broke the MSU single-season stolen base record with his 31st of the season, swiping third base in the seventh inning, and breaking former teammate Brandon Hughes’ record of 30 stolen bases, set just last season.

“It feels great and it’s a tremendous honor,” Kelley said. “Going into the season, I never anticipated this would happen, but I started to rack some up, and I had some nice luck along the way, and I realized around mid-way through the year that it was possible. I was fortunate enough to learn the tricks to stealing a base from Brandon Hughes last year so I credit a lot of my success to him.”

Kelley entered the weekend leading the Big Ten and ranking tied for ninth in the NCAA with 0.62 stolen bases per game. Hughes broke Anthony Cheky’s mark of 29 swipes in 2014, with Hughes holding the record for just one season before Kelley topped it.

“I think it’s an awesome accomplishment,” MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “ We talked about it in our post-game meeting in the outfield, when you think about baseball here at Michigan State, we’ve been playing baseball here for over 130 years, and anytime you can set a record after there’s been that much baseball played here for that long I think it’s an unbelievable accomplishment and it’s a testament to his abilities as a base runner. Obviously, you’ve got to get yourself on base if you’re going to steal second base, so as a hitter it’s tremendous and to do it as a sophomore, I think is even more impressive. He’s got a bright future ahead of him and I’m glad he’s on our team.”

Kelley was 2-for-5 with a run scored, while Proctor was 1-for-3, but it was a big one, blasting a two-run home run to right center and into the Red Cedar River in the fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie and give the Spartans a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Roskelley was also 1-for-3 with a home run, a solo shot in the bottom of the first that tied the game at 1-all, and finished the day with two runs scored. Freshman third baseman Zach Iverson was 2-for-3, while junior right fielder Marty Bechina was 1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored and sophomore second baseman Justin Antoncic was 1-for-5 with a run scored.

Erla, a redshirt-freshman pitcher, fired four strikeouts in his 5.0 innings of work, including ending the inning on a punchout in three of his five frames, stranding two Buckeyes on base in both the first and second stanzas, as well as a bases-loaded jam in the fifth. The Spartan starter ended with scattering six hits, allowing one run and walk three to go with the four Ks to earn his team-leading sixth win of the season. Sophomore reliever Tyranski came on to open the sixth, and fired four strikeouts of his own, including a game-ending punchout, yielding three hits, an unearned run and a walk in the 4.0 IP to earn the save, his fifth of the season.

Just like Thursday’s game, Ohio State scored first with a run in the opening frame, with an two-out RBI double by Tyler Cowles, but Erla got out of the jam with a strikeout, leaving two Buckeyes on the bases.

MSU was quick to counter, plating a run of its own in the home half of the first frame, with Roskelly belting a home run to left center field.

The Spartans used the long ball to take the lead with Proctor blasting a two-run home run to right center and into the Red Cedar River. Bechina led off with a single up the middle and was driven in by Proctor’s round-tripper for a 3-1 MSU lead. It was the Spartans’ 10th two-run home run this season out of their 19 total blasts.

Both teams had mirrored innings in their respective halves of the fifth, both loading the bases, but both threats being thwarted by strikeouts to end the inning.

Ohio State pulled within 3-2, taking advantage of an MSU error, in the top of the seventh, but the Spartans got the run back and more in the home half of the frame after the stretch. Kelley started the rally with a one-out infield single and Antoncic followed with a single through the left side. Kelley and Antoncic then teamed up for a double-steal, with Kelley swiping third while Antoncic took second. An OSU fielding error off the bat of Roskelly plated both Spartans. Two batters later, Proctor was hit by a pitch. Next up, a Buckeye error on a pickoff attempt at first trying to get Proctor allowed Roskelly to scamper around from second and put MSU ahead 6-2.

Tyranksi retired the Buckeyes in order in the eighth, chalking up two strikeouts. In the ninth, after getting a flyout for the first out, a pair of walks were sandwiched around another flyout, putting two one with two outs, but Tyranski fired a strikeout to end the inning and the game, and spark the Spartans’ celebration.

The series and regular-season finale is Saturday, which is also Spartan Senior Day, with pre-game ceremonies before the 1:05 p.m. first pitch. MSU will honor its eight senior players and one senior student manager in a pre-game ceremony, so fans are encouraged to arrive early to honor the Spartan seniors: No. 7, pitcher Keegan Baar; No. 34, pitcher Andrew Gonzalez; No. 7, pitcher Ethan Landon; No. 12, pitcher Jake Lowery; No. 55, first baseman Zack McGuire; No. 24, designated hitter Chad Roskelly; No. 11, catcher Will Salter, and No. 19, infielder Kory Young, along with senior manager Jacob Seidel.

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