Michigan State is doing an great job of keeping their eyes on the moment and the proverbial, "One game at a time." While their post season hopes rest on success at the Big Ten tournament at the end of the month, for now they took down Western Michigan in a mid-week tilt at Comerica Park. Zach Fisher provides us the superb breakdown.
Spartans Walk Off For Win Over Western Michigan Tuesday
Roskelly beats out infield play for 7-6 victory for MSU.
DETROIT, Mich. -- Chad Roskelly beat out an infield play to drive in Marty Bechina for the winning run in the bottom of the ninth as Michigan State baseball beat Western Michigan, 7-6, Tuesday night at Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers.
“I’m really proud of our guys. It was a really good ball game. We were back and forth the whole way. We just kept chipping away and fortunately we executed really well in the ninth in both the top half of the inning, defensively and on the mound, and then in the bottom half, it was just like we drew it up I guess. Get the leadoff man on and get him over. We had a couple of really good at bats by Bryce Kelley and Chad Roskelly to put the ball in play and make something happen,” MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said.
MSU loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth and WMU brought an extra outfielder in to play the infield behind second. Roskelly bounced a ball to short, that the Broncos tried to turn the double play but the Spartan designated hitter beat out, allowing Bechina to score for the victory for MSU.
“They brought that extra infielder in, so I was trying to get something in the air. I got down to two strikes after I took a fastball and just tried to put something in play with two strikes and it worked out,” Roskelly said.
Tuesday’s walk off win was their first of such drama of the season.
“Our guys play hard. They understand the situation and Chad knew that anything on the ground was going to be a chance for a double play. They brought in a fifth man for the infield. They were banking on a ground ball and they got it. Fortunately, Chad didn’t hit it that hard and was able to beat it out,” Boss said.
Roskelly is one of the 24 Spartans from the state of Michigan, growing up in Macomb, Michigan.
“Tonight was pretty cool. Growing up and coming to games here, you always dream about playing out here. We are lucky enough to have been able to play here the last four years and it’s always awesome to take in,” Roskelly said.
Comerica Park had a Spartan theme to it Tuesday night, with Green & White all over the videoboards around the stadium, including the Tigers wordmark on the top of the scoreboard in left field.
“It is always a lot of fun playing at Comerica Park. Thanks to Mike Healy (Vice President of Comerica Park Operations), the Tigers staff for putting on a great display for our guys. It is always fun to see the Green and White flying around in here and it feels like a home game for us. It is every guy’s dream to play at this level someday, so to get a taste of it is something that our guys will never forget,” Boss said.
Roskelly’s heroics were set up after sophomore closer Riley McCauley shut the door on a one-out bases loaded top of the ninth, getting a pop up and a strikeout.
With the win, the Spartans improved to 25-19 overall while the Broncos slid to 19-23. Tuesday’s game was the Spartans’ ninth game at Comerica and the first against WMU. MSU has won its last four contests at the home of the Tigers, improving to 7-2 all-time at Comerica.
Tuesday’s win split the season meetings between the Spartans and Broncos, after WMU won, 3-2 on March 28 in East Lansing. MSU has won nine of the last 10 meetings, as the Spartans improve to 12-6 vs. WMU under Boss. WMU head coach Billy Gernon was an assistant coach at MSU under Boss from 2009-10 before taking the reins of the Broncos’ program.
Michigan State had 14 hits in Tuesday’s game, led by three players with two hits apiece. Senior catcher Matt Byars was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, Bechina was 2-for-4 also with two runs scored, highlighted by the winning run. Junior shortstop Kory Young was 2-for-4 with two RBI, matching Roskelly’s RBI total for the night.
Junior outfielder Brandon Hughes was 1-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored, adding a stolen base, which is his 24th of the season, moving into sole possession of third place on MSU’s single-season stolen base list.
The Spartans got on the board first with a run in the home half of the opening frame. Hughes led off with a walk and stole second for his 24th swipe of the season. Two batters later, junior designated hitter Chad Roskelly singled through the middle to drive in Hughes.
Western Michigan countered with a run in the top of the second, before Michigan State regained the one-run advantage in the bottom of the frame. Hughes belted a sacrifice fly to center to drive in Bechina, who notched a one-out single for a 2-1 Spartan lead.
The third inning was just like the second with the Broncos plating one run and the Spartans countering to maintain their one-run lead. This time around it was on an RBI double from sophomore right fielder Dan Chmielewski, plating Byars, after he walked with two outs, as MSU took a 3-2 lead.
Michigan State’s lead was short-lived as Western Michigan plated three in the top of the fourth to take a 5-3 advantage.
The Spartans got one run back in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases before sophomore first baseman Alex Troop laced a single to drive in freshman left fielder Bryce Kelley, who reached on an error to pull MSU within 5-4.
MSU loaded the bases again in the home half of the seventh, and junior shortstop Kory Young laced a two-run single to drive in Troop and Byars and put the Spartans ahead, 6-5.
Western Michigan tied it up again with a run in the top of the eighth to level the score at 6-6, setting up the ninth-inning drama, capped by the victory for MSU.
The Spartans have little time to savor the victory, as they return home to host another in-state foe, Eastern Michigan on Wednesday at 4:05 p.m. at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field.