|Tuesday, April 5, 2011
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jesse Goldberg-Strassler
( 517) 485-4500, extension 233
Spartans tip Lugnuts in Crosstown Showdown, 2-1
by Ben Phlegar, Michigan State University Athletic Communications Department
LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State baseball team defeated the Lansing Lugnuts, 2-1, in the 2011 Crosstown Showdown presented by Auto Owners Insurance before a crowd of 7,212 on Tuesday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.
The outcome marked MSU’s second victory in the five-year event, as the Spartans also won 12-2 in 2009.
A total of 41 players saw action in the game, including 13 pitchers. The Spartans used eight different pitchers, while the Lugnuts sent five to the mound. Each team collected five hits and committed two errors.
Seven of MSU’s eight pitchers in the exhibition contest have not seen game action in 2011. Senior Stephen Doty got the start and pitched two scoreless innings to earn the victory.
Michigan State manufactured an unearned run in the top of the first to take an early 1-0 lead. Leadoff hitter Brandon Eckerle reached on a fielding error by Lugnut shortstop Garis Pena, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout, and scored on a wild pitch.
The Green and White extended the lead to 2-0 in the top of the fourth, as Joel Fisher connected on a two-out RBI single that got past Lugnut third baseman Bryson Namba and into left field, scoring Jordan Keur from second.
Two key defensive plays by the Spartans helped keep the Lugnuts off the board until the bottom of the ninth.
In the third, Lansing threatened to score with runners on first and second and one out, but Eckerle made a diving catch in center field and doubled up Markus Brisker at second base.
The Spartans escaped another jam in the bottom of the fourth as the Lugnuts left runners on first and third. The Lugnuts stranded a total of 11 runners on base.
In the sixth, Spartan second baseman Ryan Jones made another stellar defensive play for MSU, scooping up a ground ball hit up the middle and firing it across his body from shallow center field to get out Lugnut first baseman Balbino Fuenmayor.
Lansing again put runners on first and second in the eighth, but Spartan reliever Chad Nielson struck out pinch hitter Matt Nuzzo looking to end the inning.
The Lugnuts scored their lone run in the bottom of the ninth inning, but it wasn’t enough to overtake the Spartans. After a strikeout started the inning, Brisker walked for the fourth time in the game and advanced to third on an errant pickoff throw by freshman pitcher Jeff Kinley. Brisker would score one batter later on a RBI groundout by Jack Murphy. Kinley made up for his error by getting Joe Bowen to ground out for the final out of the game and recorded a save in the process.Lugnut starter Drew Hutchison was charged with the loss after scattering three hits and two runs, one earned, in 4.0 innings. He walked four and struck out four.
The Lugnuts open up their 16th Midwest League season at home with a 90s Night Labatt Blue Light Thirsty Thursday, April 7th, against the West Michigan Whitecaps. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m., with a DJ Patio Party to follow the game. Lansing Lugnuts tickets are available for purchase at www.lansinglugnuts.com or by calling 517-485-4500.
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