The Spartans improved to -30 on the year with a win over Valpo. Here is a picture and recap courtesy of the MSU SID!
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Senior catcher Nic Lacayo'sthree RBI on two hits was part of Michigan State's season-high tying 15 hits on the way to a 9-3 Victory for MSU over Valparaiso Wednesday evening at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field.
Lacayo was 2-for-4 with a career-high three RBI, lacing two doubles, including a two-run two-bagger as part of a four-run seventh inning for MSU, helping the Spartans pull away from a 5-3 lead with a big inning to seal the win.
A total of six Spartans had multiple hits, led by senior infielder Marty Bechina going 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Freshman outfielder Zaid Walker remained on his recent hot streak, doing 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Junior infielder Andrew Morrow had his first multi-hit outing as a Spartan with a 2-for-3 outing, adding a run and an RBI. Senior infielder Royce Ando was 2-for-3 with a run scored, while junior outfielder Bryce Kelley was 2-for-5 with an RBI.
"It was a good night, it was good to get some other guys some opportunities tonight," MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. "I'm really impressed with Andrew Morrow the way he took advantage of the opportunity of the couple hits tonight, I thought Lacayo had a good day at the plate today, as well Marty had three hits and kind of broke out of it a little bit, Zaid keeps swinging the bat well. So multiple hits by a lot of different guys tonight, it was a good day at the plate for us."
Senior outfielder Dan Chmielewski was 1-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, while junior designated hitter Bailey Peterson was 1-for-4 with a run scored. Peterson swiped a career-high two bases, while Walker added a stolen base.
Bechina had a double in the first inning, his team-leading 14th double of the season and the 42nd of his career, moving up to tie for No. 8 on MSU's career doubles list. Walker also had a two-bagger, as MSU rapped out four doubles on the day, its second-most of the season, behind the five doubles vs. UConn on March 15.
Freshman pitcher Colton Panaranto started and went 4.0 IP with three strikeouts while scattering four hits and yielding a run. Sophomore Jesse Heikkinen pitched the next 2.0 IP, earning the win, followed by 2.0 IP from junior Sam Benschoter with three Ks, then sophomore infielder/pitcher Zach Iverson moved from playing third base the previous eight innings to the mound for the ninth, pitching a three-up, three-down inning, getting a double play for the final pair of outs.
Michigan State has now won seven of its last 10 and eight of its last 12, as the Spartans wrap up their five-game week by returning to Big Ten Conference play after two non-conference games this week with a 7-0 non-conference loss at Michigan Tuesday night. MSU plays a three-game weekend series at Iowa this weekend.
"It was a tough loss last night so this one today allowed us to get that taste out of our mouth and get ready for a big conference series against Iowa. We'll be on the bus early tomorrow morning, get a good practice in at Iowa City and be ready to go for Friday," Boss said.
Valpo bolted out of the gates with a solo home run to left field by Chase Dawson for a 1-0 lead.
The Spartans did not trail for long, as they hung three runs on the board in the home half of the second with a two-out rally. Iverson sparked the rally with a two-out walk, then Morrow laced a single to left to move Iverson up to second. Chmielewski followed with a single to left to put the Spartans on the board on Iverson scoring. Kelley was up next and single up the middle to plate Morrow. Bechina then singled up the middle to drive in Chmielewski, before a flyout ended the inning and stranding two Spartans, but the home team had a 3-1 lead.
Valpo tied it up at 3-3 with a two-run home run by Sam Shaikin in the top of the fifth.
Again, Michigan State quickly countered with two runs in the bottom of the fifth frame on a two-run RBI double by Lacayo for a 5-3 Spartan lead.
The home team blew the game open in the seventh putting a four-spot on the board, as Bechina started the rally with a single. After Ando singled up the middle, junior designated hitter Bailey Peterson reached on a fielder's choice, then Walker singled to score Bechina. Next up was Lacayo, who laced his second double of the contest to left center, driving in Peterson and chasing Valpo reliever Josh Currier. New Crusader pitcher Montana Quigley struck out Iverson, but Iverson reached on a wild pitch on strike three, and Walker scored. Morrow followed with a sac fly to left before a flyout to right ended the Spartans' big inning and expanding their lead to 9-3.
The four-run seventh was MSU's fifth inning of four or more runs, and three of the five frames have been in the seventh innings of games, and also of the five times, they've been alternating, doing so the first, third and now fifth times, with a second and eighth big inning squeezed in. The Spartans are now 4-1 when hanging a four-spot or larger on the scoreboard.
Benschoter got into a bit of a jam with an up and down start to the top of the eighth, with a leadoff single, then back-to-back strikeouts, but then yielding two walks to load the bases full of Crusaders. However, Benschoter got out of the frame by inducing a line out to Bechina at short.
Iverson moved from third to the pitching mound in the ninth, making his fifth pitching appearance. Iverson opened with a strikeout against Valpo pinch hitter Christian Barczi, then gave up a single to another Crusader pinch hitter Kevin Barry, but got a double play from freshman infielder Reese Trahey making the scoop, flipping to Bechina at second, who fired over to Morrow at first to seal the Victory for MSU.
Michigan State opens the three-game weekend series at Iowa on Friday with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch. Saturday's second game is a 3:05 p.m. start time, before Sunday's series finale at 2:05 p.m.
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