Spartan Baseball Win Streak Ends

DenisePopiolek

MIAMI, Fla. - Michigan State (3-4) baseball fell to Florida International (9-8), 3-2 Tuesday night as the Golden Panthers rallied from behind to steal the win in extra innings. Held hitless stepping to his fifth at bat, FIU's Alex Alfonso produced the game-winning RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning. All three of Florida International's runs of the night were scored with two outs, and both teams stranded 11 runners.

Having turned a double-play with the game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the 10th inning, it looked as the Spartans would get another chance at the plate, but Alfonso spoiled those hopes, scorching a two-out line drive to left field, scoring Corey Lozano from second base to give Florida International the 3-2
win.

With the tight ball game, the Spartans maintained control for the majority of the night behind a stellar performance from right-handed starter Mark Sorensen. Retiring nine-straight Golden Panthers in the middle innings with a commanding inside fastball, Sorensen allowed just one run on five hits in 7.0 innings pitched, while tying a career high with six strikeouts.

"Mark Sorensen pitched a phenomenal game, he really proved tonight that he is a front-line starter," MSU head coach David Grewe stated. "He pitched with heart and passion, and it really showed."

A game scoreless after four innings, State finally took a 1-0 lead in the fifth, when Ryan Basham extended his hitting streak to 21 games, lining a single through the gap in right, later scored on an RBI-double by Adam Tripp.

Florida International answered three innings later, knotting the game at one apiece, but the Spartans came right back with a score in the top of the eighth to regain a one-run lead on Oliver Wolcott's sacrifice fly.

Advancing to third base on a walk, a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch, Lozano scored the tying run as Chris Dunn chopped a single into shallow right field, as the Golden Panthers rallied with two outs. Two batters later and the bases loaded, the Spartan infield came through in the clutch, sending the game into extra innings. Unable to produce a run in the top of the 10th, it looked as though MSU might be given another shot in an 11th inning, until Alfonso's heroics.

"Either team could have come out on top tonight," Grewe said. "I'm extremely pleased at the way our team played with pride - playing the right way. It proves that all of our hard work has paid off."

Reliever Frank Gonzalez (3-2) earned the win for the Golden Panthers, throwing the final 4.0 innings, allowing one run on four hits, while fanning four batters. Mike Monterey (1-2) took the loss for the Spartans.

The Green and White will play its fifth game in five days tomorrow, traveling to Coral Gables to face Miami (Fla.), which enters the contest with an overall record of 12-6. Game time is slated for 7 p.m. Courtesy of MSU.

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