Spartans Top CMU in Extra-Innings Marathon at Comerica, 7-3
In what was the Spartans’ longest game since 2012, the Michigan State baseball team topped Central Michigan, 7-3, in 14 innings on Wednesday night at Comerica Park in Detroit. MSU snapped the 3-3 deadlock with four runs in the top of the 14th inning to improve to 23-6 on the year.
“This group has a lot of character,” said head coach Jake Boss Jr. “They just keep fighting and clawing and competing. We’ve talked about competing for each other since the beginning of the season and I think tonight was a really good example. It was going bad there for a while, but our pitching kept us in the ball game and gave our offense a chance to win it.”
Freshman Riley McCauley pitched the final three innings, holding CMU to one hit as hit picked up his first collegiate victory.
With the game tied 3-3 in the top of the 14th, the Spartans loaded the bases and Brandon Hughes came through with a double down the left field line to put MSU on top. Taylor Grace followed with sacrifice fly and Kris Simonton added an RBI single to put MSU out front, 7-3.
“We got the leadoff hitter on, which was important,” said Boss. “We were able to get him to second base and once you get a guy in scoring position, who knows what can happen. We felt good about our three and four-hole hitters coming up. We felt like Hughes was a good matchup and we liked our chances.”
Trailing 1-0 in the top of the second, the Spartans took a 2-1 lead on a wild pitch from Dazon Cole that scored Simonton and then a sac fly by Marty Bechina. MSU loaded the bases in the following inning and managed another run on another sacrifice fly, this time off the bat of Justin Hovis.
The Chippewas (7-26) used an unearned run in the bottom of the third to make it a 3-2 game and looked like they might tie the game in the bottom of the following inning, getting runners on second and third with one out. MSU starter Andrew Gonzalez eluded any damage however with two consecutive fly ball outs.
Dakota Mekkes got the Spartans out of another jam in the bottom of the fifth as he came into the game with the bases loaded and one out. But on his first pitch he got CMU’s Jarrod Watkins to bounce into a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play.
With the Spartans still hanging on to a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh, the Chippewas capitalized on a double and a throwing error to knot the game. Daniel Jipping doubled into right field and the relay throw to second base by Simonton skipped high, allowing the runner to round third and score.
CMU had a chance to end the game prior to heading to extras as it put runners at second and third in the bottom of the ninth with one out. Joe Mockbee was able to induce a groundball for the second out and then second baseman Dan Durkin made a leaping stab on a ball labeled for the gap in right center field to send the game to the 10th.
Mekkes and Mockbee combined for 10 strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work out of the bullpen. Mockbee shut the Chippewas down in the eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th innings.
Wednesday was the Spartans’ longest game in terms of innings – and time (4:38) – since 2012.
The Big Ten-leading Spartans travel to Purdue this weekend for a three-game series beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m.