Spartan Baseball Falls Short Off Sweeping Minnesota, 6-3

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Gophers foil Spartans’ bid for series sweep.  Photo courtesy of MSU SID.

Gophers foil Spartans’ bid for series sweep. Photo courtesy of MSU SID.


MINNEAPOLIS - Down by one run in the bottom of the eighth inning, Minnesota scored four times to take the lead and went on to the defeat the Michigan State baseball team, 6-3, on Sunday at the Metrodome. The loss - just the second for MSU in its last 19 games - foiled its bid for a three-game sweep of the Gophers. Michigan State is now 22-6 and 4-2 in the Big Ten.


“It was good to come in and win two of three from a great program like Minnesota,” said MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. “While we’re happy with the series win, losing today left a bad taste in our mouths, and hopefully, we’ll learn from it.”


With the score tied at two in the top of the eighth inning, Eli Boike reached on a leadoff walk and then Brandon Eckerle got on base with a bunt. Boike was able to get all the way over to third on the play after a throwing error by Minnesota relief pitcher Scott Matyas. After Jonathan Roof struck out, Jeff Holm laid down a perfect bunt that got Boike home and gave MSU a 3-2 lead.


After his error led to the leading run, Matyas atoned for his mistake by striking out Ryan Jones and Chris Roberts, consecutively, to end the inning and strand Eckerle and Holm on base.


MSU starter Tony Bucciferro limited the Gophers all day, allowing just six hits through seven innings. In the eighth though, Bucciferro hit the leadoff batter, A.J. Petterson, and then gave up a single to Mike Kvasnicka to give the Gophers two on with no outs. Kyle Knudson followed with a two-RBI double that gave the Gophers the lead for good and ended Bucciferro’s day.


Minnesota (13-19, 3-3) pushed across two more runs in the frame to make the final score 6-3.


With the game still scoreless in the top of the fifth inning, the Spartans grabbed the first lead when Jordan Keur singled in John Martinez with a two-out double down the left field line.


MSU made it 2-0 in the sixth inning off a sacrifice fly from Holm.


After being held scoreless all day, the Gophers finally got to Bucciferro in the bottom of the seventh as Troy Larson tied the game at two with a two-RBI single up the middle.


Bucciferro suffered the loss for MSU, his first since Feb. 27, and is now 4-3 on the season. He allowed five runs off nine hits, struck out four and walked just one.


“I thought Tony threw well,” Boss said. “He got himself out of some tough jams and definitely threw well enough to win today.”


Matyas (2-1) picked up the in relief for Minnesota.


The Spartans will be back in action on Wednesday in Kalamazoo when they take on Western Michigan at 3 p.m.