Michigan State baseball got a solo home run from Royce Ando in the top of the ninth to top UNC-Greensboro, 5-4

Michigan State baseball got a solo home run from Royce Ando in the top of the ninth to top UNC-Greensboro, 5-4

This is a great start for the Spartans and our buddy Zach Fisher has the details of the Spartan win:

Ando Sparks MSU To 5-4 Win Over UNCG In Clash Of The Spartans

Friday Sophomore shortstop blasts solo home run in top of ninth


GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Michigan State baseball got a solo home run from Royce Ando in the top of the ninth to top UNC-Greensboro, 5-4, Friday afternoon in a clash of the Spartans at the UNCG Baseball Stadium in the first of a three-game series.


"That was a really good win against a very good team," MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr., said. "I thought it was very well-played ballgame all the way around by both teams, with solid pitching and very good defense. Both teams just took advantage of some opportunities and fortunately, we got a ball up in the air there in the ninth inning and it landed over the fence. I thought both teams really competed well and both teams pitched extremely well."


With the win, MSU improves to 5-0 for the second-straight season and the third under Boss. It is also the 10th time in school history that Michigan State has opened 5-0. UNCG falls to 1-4 on the season. Friday was the first-ever meeting on the diamond between the pair of Spartans.


Ando, a  sophomore shortstop, blasted a solo shot to left center to lead off the ninth, for his first career home run as a Spartan. His round-tripper capped a 2-for-3 outing with two runs scored and the RBI, adding a double to lead off the fifth, hitting a frozen rope that bounced off the wall in center.


"Royce had two good swings today, one was a double and one was a home run, so he had a very good day at the plate with two big hits for us," Boss said. "It's a fun group right now because really, we're capable of anybody in the order one through nine, being able to get that big hit for us, which is fun. Fortunately for us it was Royce's day today and we'll see what happens tomorrow. This group just continues to compete and they play hard, they play for each other and it's a lot of fun to be around."


Both teams rapped out nine hits in the contest, however six of MSU's hits went for extra bases compared to three for UNCG. In addition to Ando's solid performance at the plate, the Green and White Spartans got solid hitting from sophomore third baseman Marty Bechina , who was 2-for-4 with two RBI on a two-run single in the fifth and also had a double. Freshman outfielder Danny Gleaves was 1-for-5 with an RBI and also had a two-bagger. Senior catcher Matt Byars and junior outfielder Brandon Hughes also had doubles.


On the mound, sophomore Alex Troop started and went four complete innings, scattering seven hits while striking out two and allowing two runs. Junior Jake Lowery threw 2.1 innings, firing three strikeouts while allowing just one hit. Senior Walter Borkovich got the win, improving to 2-0, after pitching 1.2 innings, striking out three, with only one hit yielded while not allowing a run. Sophomore Riley McCauley pitched a perfect ninth, ringing up a pair of strikeouts to pick up his second save of the season.


"Pitching was very good today as well, just that every mistake that we made, they hit it very hard. When you're facing a good offensive lineup, you have to really minimize, and we did that for the most part. We gave up four runs with two in the second and two in the seventh," Boss said. "I thought Alex Troop threw well, but again, when he left the ball up it got hit hard. I thought Jake Lowery was really, really good and gave us a big hold there. I probably left him in there a couple hitters too long, but he was very effective for us. Walter Borkovich was outstanding as well and got us to Riley McCauley, and that's what we need our closer to do, come in and shut the door and he did that, he was outstanding in the ninth."


Michigan State scored in its first at bat, as senior second baseman Dan Durkin had a base knock, before Bechina laced a double to right center, putting Green and White Spartans on second and third with only one out. Junior Zack McGuire plated Durkin with an RBI groundout to short for a 1-0 MSU advantage.


The visiting Spartans added a run in the top of the second on an RBI fielder's choice by freshman outfielder Danny Gleaves to score fellow outfielder, sophomore Dan Chmielewski, who started the rally with a single. However, UNCG scored two in the home half of the second, stringing together three singles to tie the game at 2-2 after two innings.


After scoreless third and fourth innings, Michigan State tacked on a pair of runs in the fifth. Ando led off with his double to center and Gleaves moved Ando to third with a double to left. Bechina drove in both Gleaves and Ando on a single up the middle, chasing UNCG starting pitcher Jack Maynard. Andrew Wantz came on and thwarted the MSU threat, leaving two Green and White Spartans on the bases, with the visitors leading 4-2.


The home team leveled the score at 4-4 in the seventh on an RBI triple by Ben Spitznagel and an RBI single by Andrew Moritz.


MSU rallied in the eighth sparked by Hughes with a double down the right field line and later stole third. Sophomore outfield Dan Chmlielewski later walked and proceeded to steal second, but a strikeout ended the inning.


Borkovich retired the side in the eighth, mowing down the home team with a pair of strikeouts, setting up Ando's top of the ninth heroics. McCauley came on in the ninth and got a leadoff groundout, then fired two strikeouts to seal the victory for MSU.


The two Spartan teams return to the diamond on Saturday, Feb. 25 for game two of the three-game series, with first pitch slated for 2 p.m. ET, and Sunday’s series-finale is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start.

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