This is the second straight season the Spartans have opened the season 4-0. Here is the complete rundown from our buddy Zach Fisher.
Michigan State Completes Four-Game Sweep Of ACU With 14-5 Win Sunday
Third Tim Under Boss and 11th Time in School History They Start 4-0!
ABILENE, Texas -- Michigan State baseball continued its explosive start with a 14-5 win at Abilene Christian on Sunday to complete the four-game series sweep.
"I'm very pleased for our guys. It's tough to beat the same team four times in a weekend and I thought we showed some mental toughness throughout the course of the game today. We started out very quickly again today and then they got back in it as we knew that they would. They would continue to fight and scratch and claw. Abilene Christian is a good ball club, they're gritty, hard-nosed and very well-coached. We knew it wasn't over after the first inning and they scratched and clawed their way back into it," MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said.
The Spartans scored double-digit runs for the second-straight game, in improving to 4-0 for the second-straight season and the third under Boss, as part of the 11th time in school history.
"It's a good weekend. I think we have a long way to go and our guys understand that. We'll take a workman like approach into practice this week. There's a lot of areas I think we need to be better at and we get to work on it this week and be ready to play a very good UNC-Greensboro team next week. We've got a long way to go," Boss said.
MSU scored their 14 runs after rapping out 17 hits Sunday, as the Spartans completed the weekend with 63 hits and scoring 51 runs.
"It was a big team effort today by our guys. Several guys had big days at the plate, Danny Gleaves, Marty Bechina, Zack McGuire all had great at bats and Dan Durkin put the cap on a great weekend with two big RBI. I've very pleased with the effort all the way around today," Boss said.
Six Spartans had multiple hits in the game and four had multi-RBI, led by junior first baseman Zack McGuire going 3-for-5 at the plate with two RBI and two runs, while freshman outfielder Danny Gleaves was 3-for-6 with two RBI and scored twice. Sophomore third baseman Marty Bechina was 2-for-5 with three runs scored and one RBI, while junior center fielder Brandon Hughes was 2-for-5 with a run driving in and a stolen base. Senior catcher Matt Byars was 2-for-4 with two RBI while sophomore right fielder Dan Chmielewski was 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Senior second baseman Dan Durkin was 1-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored, getting walked twice, a day after coming up a triple shy of the cycle.
Defensively, freshman Mason Erla made his debut on the mound and went 4.0+ innings, yielding four earn runs while scattering eight hits. Erla gave way to junior right-hander Jake Lowery, who pitched 3.0 innings of shutout baseball with only one hit allowed while striking out four. Sophomore right-hander Nathan Witt started the eighth and got a double play, before giving way to junior lefty Keegan Baar for a match-up with ACU's Derek Scott and Baar tallied his first strikeout of the season. Freshman righty Mike Mokma pitched a three-up, three-down ninth with a pair of strikeouts in his debut.
"I can't say enough about the job that Jake Lowery did out of the bullpen for us today. We were in a hole but he got us deep into that game and then we were able to turn it over to Baar and Witt for the eighth. Nathan Witt got us a big double-play ball and Keegan Baar did a great job with his guy in a match-up situation. It was good to see Mike Mokma on the mound, striking out two guys. Fortunately we put up a big number in the ninth for insurance runs," Boss said.
Gleaves led off with a single on the first pitch of the game. After Bechina was hit by a pitch, McGuire drove Gleaves in with a single. Durkin later score on a balk and junior designated hitter Chad Roskelly singled to center to plate Bechina. Byars followed with a sacrifice fly for a 4-0 Spartan lead.
ACU cut the gap in half with two runs in the third stringing together three hits to go with an MSU error to score two runs. The Wildcats were trying for more runs, but McGuire made a diving snag at first on a line drive by Myles Paschall to end the inning and home team's rally. The Wildcats added another in the fourth on a single by Derek Scott, who then stole second and was driven in on a double by Dalon Farkas.
Michigan State added three runs in the top of the fifth as sophomore shortstop Royce Ando led off with a hit by pitch. After a walk to Durkin, Bechina singled to left to drive in Ando. McGuire followed by lacing an RBI double to left, chasing ACU reliever Brandon Lambright. Junior center fielder Brandon Hughes greeted new reliever Ryan Kotulek with a single to right to plate Bechina and MSU regained its four-run cushion at 7-3.
That four-run lead didn't last long as the home team scored a pair on a two-run home run by Russell Crippen. The Spartans brought in junior right-hander Jake Lowery and he got a ground out and two strikeouts to shut the door on any kind of a Wildcats' rally, leaving the score 7-5.
The visiting Spartans added a run in the seventh as McGuire started the rally with a single. He later scored on a wild pitch with the bases loaded.
MSU topped its high-scoring weekend by batting around and plating six runs in the top of the ninth. The big blows came on by Gleaves lacing a two-run single to left and Durkin belting a two-run double to right center. Mokma came on in the ninth to register the first two strikeouts of his Spartan career to end the game and seal the 14-5 victory for MSU.
The Spartans will head to Greensboro, N.C. for a three-game series at UNC-Greensboro in an all-Spartan match-up on Friday-Sunday, Feb. 24-26. Friday’s series-opener is slated for a 4 p.m. ET first pitch, following by 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday’s series-finale at 1 p.m.