Michigan State baseball opens the season 6-0 for the 2nd straight season after a 22-16 win over UNG. Here is the complete story from Zach Fisher
MSU Baseball Wins 22-16 Shootout Saturday At UNCG
Green and White Spartans Hang 13 On Board In Fourth
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A 13-run fourth-inning blew open the game and Michigan State baseball pulled away for a 22-16 shootout over UNC-Greensboro Saturday afternoon in game two of the three game series of the clash of the Spartans.
With the win, MSU improves to 6-0 for the second straight season and sixth time in school history. UNCG slides to 1-5 on the season.
Michigan State rapped out 20 hits on the day, with seven players having multiple hits. Nine different players had RBI, including seven with multi-RBI afternoons.
“Offensively, I’m very pleased with how the guys went about their business today and proud of our guys for really staying locked in on the offensive side for the entire ballgame,” MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr., said. “I’m a little disappointed defensively that we got a little sloppy, maybe a little sloppy on the mound too, but at the end of the day, we were able to get a win, so that’s what’s most important.”
The 22 runs were the most scored by MSU since hanging 26 against Iowa on April 4, 2010. Saturday’s scoring output came on the heels of Friday night’s 5-4 win over UNCG in the series opener.
“It’s a veteran group, these guys have played a lot all over the field. Every guy on the field has played a lot of baseball, so they know what its all about and understand what’s needed to compete,” Boss said. “We’ve got outstanding leadership and you saw that today from guys like Dan Durkin, Chad Roskelly, a lot of guys had good days at the plate. We just kept coming at them and coming at them, even after we put up 13 in the fourth inning, and I think that speaks to their mental toughness.”
MSU nearly batted around twice in the fourth inning, hanging the 13 runs on the board, facing a total of three different UNCG pitchers in the inning.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of one like that before,” said Boss, who is in his ninth year at the helm of the MSU program and his 11th as a college baseball head coach. “It was a case where hitting is contagious and was one of those things where we started off with a couple hits and it just starting rolling, and nobody wanted to make the last out of the hitting. We strung together a lot of good at bats and hit a lot of balls hard, and took advantage of some opportunities, but I’m really, really pleased with the approach, not only in that inning, but all day long. It was good day.”
Senior second baseman Dan Durkin, sophomore third baseman Marty Bechina, junior designated hitter Chad Roskelly and senior catcher Matt Byars tallying three hits apiece, as Byars was 3-for-4 while the other three were 3-for-5. Byars and Bechina both also went yard for the Green and White Spartans, with Byars belting his first of the year while it was Bechina’s fourth of the young season. Those two round-trippers were part of eight extra base hits on the day.
Senior pitcher Joe Mockbee got the win, improving to 2-0, coming on in relief of junior starter Ethan Landon in the third. Mockbee went 2.1 innings, firing six strikeouts while scattering seven hits. Sophomore Riley McCauley collected his second save in as many days and his third of the season by going 1.1
MSU scored a run in the first before erupting for 13 runs in the fourth, adding three in the fifth, then one each in the sixth and seventh before tacking on three more in the ninth.
In the 13-run seventh, junior center Brandon Hughes led off and was one of the many visiting Spartans to bat twice, and was two batters away from batting a third time in the inning. Hughes laced a single and an RBI triple, coming around to score both times, one of five players to score two runs in the inning.
The pair of Spartan teams wrap up their three-game series in the clash of the Spartans on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 1 p.m. ET.