Spartan Baseball Take Series Opener From Minnesota, 5-3

Eli Boike’s two-run homer in the sixth inning proves to be the difference.


Photo courtesy of MSU SID.
Photo courtesy of MSU SID.

MINNEAPOLIS – A two-out, two-run home run by Eli Boike and another strong outing from starting pitcher A.J. Achter helped the Michigan State baseball team win game one of a three-game set with Minnesota, 5-3, on Friday night at the Metrodome. The Big Ten-leading Spartans have now won 15 of their last 16 games and are 21-5 overall and 3-1 in conference play. The Gophers are now 12-18 and 2-2 in the conference.


Minnesota led 3-2 in the sixth inning and after the Spartans scored twice in the second inning, Gopher starter Seth Rosin limited MSU to just two hits over the next three innings. It looked as though the Spartans would be held off the scoreboard again in the sixth as Rosin retired Chris Roberts and Ryan Jones to start the inning. With the Spartans looking like they would go down in order, Rosin then hit Bo Felt with a 2-2 pitch to give MSU a base runner. Felt then moved over to second on a wild pitch before being replaced by pinch-runner Jordan Keur.


The hit batter proved costly as Spartan catcher Andy Johnson then tied the game for MSU with a double to right field, scoring Keur. In the next at-bat, Eli Boike completed the comeback for MSU with a two-run shot to left field.


“It certainly was a big hit,” said MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. “You also have to give credit to Bo for moving over on the wild pitch and then to Andy for tying the game with his double. Eli has been big in big situations this year and he put a good swing on a good pitch.”


After giving up a lead-off single in the bottom of the seventh, Trey Popp came on in relief of Achter. Popp was able to get a double play and a fly out to end the inning and then got two more outs in the eighth before giving way to closer Kurtis Frymier.


Frymier struck out the only batter he faced in the eighth inning and then slammed the door in the ninth by retiring the side to ensure the 5-3 win for the Spartans. The save was Frymier’s fifth of the season.


“Trey got a big hold for us and Kurtis came in and got the job done from there,” said Boss. “It was a good, well-played college baseball game and I thought we played well in all three phases.”


Achter went six complete innings to improve to 4-1. He allowed three runs, all earned, off 11 hits while striking out five and issuing just one walk.


With one out in the top of the second inning, Jones and Roberts singled in consecutive at-bats to give MSU its first scoring opportunity of the game. Torsten Boss then came through with a double to left center field – giving MSU a 2-0 lead.


With two outs and Schultz on second base in the third inning, the Gophers looked to chop the Spartan lead in half when AJ Petterson singled to right field. A hard charging Tip Schultz sprinted toward home, but Boike’s throw from right field was on target and Johnson tagged Schultz before he could touch home to keep the Gophers off the board and end the inning.


The Gophers finally go to Achter in the bottom of the six as they scored three runs – all with two outs - to take the lead, 3-2.