Michigan Edges Spartans, 4-3, Before Record Crowd at McLane Baseball Stadium

Ben Phlegar

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Before a McLane Baseball Stadium record crowd of 2,734, Michigan State lost 4-3 to Michigan Saturday afternoon. The Spartans (18-10, 2-3 Big Ten) collected 13 hits, but left 10 runners on base in the loss.

Five Spartans had two hits apiece, including Jordan Keur, Torsten Boss, Justin Scanlon, Blaise Salter and Anthony Cheky.

MSU took an early 2-0 lead after four innings of play as Salter produced RBI singles in both the second and fourth.

Michigan (15-16, 2-3 Big Ten) bounced back with two runs in the top of the fifth on a Dylan Delaney two-run single to center field.

The Spartans reclaimed the lead in the bottom half of the fifth by taking advantage of two Wolverine errors – on the same play. Jordan Keur started the inning with a single to left. He then went to second on a wild pitch, and as Michigan catcher Cole Martin attempted to throw out Keur at second, Martin’s throw sailed into center field, sending Keur to third. Martin’s error was followed by an errant throw from Wolverine center fielder Patrick Biondi to third base, bringing Keur home and giving Michigan State the 3-2 advantage.

The lead was short lived, however, as Michigan scored twice in the top of the sixth to go ahead, 4-3. An RBI groundout by Martin tied the game at 3, then a single by John DiLaura placed runners on first and third with two outs, knocking Spartan starter Andrew Waszak out of the game.

Jeff Kinley, who had not allowed a run in his previous four outings, gave up a single to the first batter he faced, pinch hitter Kevin Krantz, that put Michigan in the lead for good at 4-3.

Kinley would settle in after the initial single, and allowed just two more hits in his 3 1/3 innings of work while striking out three. Waszak (3-2) was charged with four runs, all earned, in the loss. He threw 5 2/3 innings and allowed eight hits and one walk against four strikeouts.

Alex Lakatos relieved Wolverine starter Trent Szkutnik in the bottom half of the sixth following a leadoff single by Justin Scanlon. A double play wiped out MSU’s initial scoring threat, but Lakatos walked pinch hitter Ryan Krill with two outs, bringing Spartan freshman center fielder Anthony Cheky to the plate. Cheky responded with a shot into the right-center field gap that reached the warning track, but Krill got a late jump on the ball from first, and was thrown out at home on an 8-4-2 relay that ended the inning.

The Spartans went on to place runners on base in the next three innings, but couldn’t tie the game. Overall, MSU left at least one runner on base in seven innings.

In the seventh, Michigan State had runners on first and second with one out, but a strikeout and popout ended the rally.

A one-out, pinch hit single by Jimmy Pickens in the eighth gave MSU life, and he advanced to second on a wild pickoff throw and then to third on a groundout to second base. A popout to Michigan second baseman Eric Jacobson in shallow right field, however, brought the inning to a close.

With one last chance in the ninth, Boss hit a two-out pop up that landed in the infield for a hit, but a strikeout by pinch hitter Jared Hook was the final out for the Spartans.

Szkutnik (1-1) pitched five-plus innings, scattering nine hits and surrendering three runs, two earned, to get the win. Lakatos recorded the final 12 outs to notch his second save of the season.

The series finale is set for today at 3:05 p.m.; the game will be broadcast live on BTN.

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