The Michigan State Spartans took out #23 Illinois at home. Here is the complete recap and picture from the MSU SID!
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- On the second night of Michigan State baseball's Senior Weekend, it was junior pitcher Mitchell Tyranski who was also in the spotlight on the way to a 5-2 Victory for MSU over No. 23 Illinois Friday night under the lights at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field on MSU's Military Appreciation Night. The Spartan southpaw pitched a seven-strikeout complete game outing and got solid defensive help with a season-high four double plays along with a three-run home run by senior infielder Marty Bechina, for an MSU victory.
U.S. Marine Sergeant Patrick Forystek throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game, and the Spartans wore special Military Appreciation Night uniforms, featuring a military camo pattern, designed by Nike.
It was Tyranski's first complete game as a Spartan, topping his previous career-high of 8.0 IP vs. Northwestern on April 27. The seven strikeouts gives Tyranski five or more Ks in all 10 of his starts, as he has won his last four outings in a row.
"He had really good stuff early, I thought maybe in the middle he started to leave a breaking ball up a little bit. He started to miss up in the zone a little bit but then the seven inning he settled back in to it and was really, really good in the seventh, eighth, and ninth," MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. "I give him a lot of credit from where he started the year, we started him in the bullpen at the beginning of the year and he really struggled his first couple starts. After that first couple starts in Big Ten Conference play, he has just been outstanding the last four weekends now. Again that's a really, really good ball club over there (Illinois), they had a chance to win a championship this weekend if everything lined up for them and so for Mitch to hold those guys to eight hits and two runs I think is even more impressive."
The Bechina blast was a no-doubter over the scoreboard in left field in the third inning, as MSU took a 3-0 lead.
"He's our guy, he makes us go and he been seeing the ball well" Boss said about Bechina. "He had a big night last night and he got the barrel to the ball with runners on base and that was a long home run, that was a no-doubter off the barrel and he's a strong kid, he's a gamer and he's a guy you want up with runner on base in any situation and like I said, he got the barrel to the ball and was able to knock it out of the park for us and that was a big play; it put us up three to nothing and we were kind of able to take a deep breathe and just relax and go play."
Illinois countered with two runs in the top of the fourth, but MSU tacked on a run in the home half of the fourth and added a run in the eighth for the 5-2 win.
Bechina was also part of three of the four double plays by MSU.
"Mitch and Marty are two of our four captains and the four double plays certainly don't hurt. That keeps you out of the big inning, that gets you out of jams, and I think a big part of that is Mitch throwing the right pitches in the right spots and hitting the location that he needs to for where he needs to put the pitch and at that point it's just a matter of the infielders executing. Those guys were positioned right, (MSU pitching coach) Coach Van Ameyde works on the scouting report and had those guys positioned in the right place and really we had balls hit right at guys, so at that point is just becomes about executing and playing the game."
The other twin-killing came on a fly out-throw out double play in the top of the third on a fly ball to freshman outfielder Zaid Walker in right, and throwing out an Illinois runner trying to tag and move up to third, with sophomore infielder Zach Iverson applying the tag to nab the runner. MSU's four double plays tops its season-high of three twin-killings done twice before, lastly at Iowa on May 11. It is the first four double-play game for the Spartans since May 23, 2018 vs. Minnesota.
"It takes a lot of guys doing their jobs correctly to get four double plays. Mitch has got to make a right pitch and the guys on defense have got to execute it. On the double play with Walker, he executed the footwork correctly, he got behind the ball, and threw a laser to third base and a strike and maybe we got a break on the call, who knows, but I think the fact that that play was even close speaks to Zaid's athleticism because I don't think anybody in the park thought that would even be a bang-bang play."
Walker was also a standout at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a run scored. He had a season-long eight-game hitting streak halted Thursday night, but has at least one hit in 14 of the last 16 games, including seven multi-hit outings in that span.
Senior infielder Royce Ando and sophomore designated hitter Adam Proctor were both 1-for-4, with Proctor smacking a double in the eighth. Proctor now has 10 extra base hits out of his 16 hits on the season, with a team-leading eight home runs and two doubles. Senior catcher Nic Lacayo was 1-for-2 and got hit by a pitch twice, while Bechina also took one for the team.
Illinois starter Ty Weber was dealt the loss, just his second of the year, after going 4.0 IP with three hits and four runs allowed, walking four and striking out two, and is now 4-2 with the loss.
Neither team sent more than four batters to the plate in the first two innings, before Illinois had runners on first and second without any outs in the top of the third but Tyranski got out of the jam with some nifty defense. Branden Comia lofted a fly ball to right field that Walker circled back behind and caught on the move, snaring the fly and then firing a laser to third base, where Iverson made the catch and applied the tag to get Michael Michalak for the out. Tyranski induced a flyout by the next batter to end the frame unscathed.
In the bottom of the third, Iverson sparked the Spartan rally by leading off with a walk, but he was erased on a fielder's choice off the bat of junior infielder Justin Antoncic. Next up was Kelley and he drew a walk, and two batters later Bechina's blast cleared the scoreboard in left with the three-run home run and a 3-0 MSU lead.
Illinois quickly countered with two runs in the top of the fourth, stringing together three-straight singles to lead off the frame for one run. Later, a double play drove in the second, then a fly out ended the inning after the Illini closed to 3-2.
MSU went up by two runs in the home half of the fourth, as Walker started the rally with a single up the middle. Senior catcher Nic Lacayo followed by getting hit by a pitch to move Walker to second, then they both moved up a base on a wild pitch. Iverson walked to load the bases with one out, bringing Antoncic to the plate, and he lofted a sacrifice fly to center to plate Walker, putting the Spartans ahead at 4-2.
Starting with the first double play of the game in the aforementioned fourth frame, Tyranski retired Illinois facing the minimum for the next 15 batters in a row. The Spartan defense posted another double play in the fifth after a leadoff single, then another twin-killing to end the eighth. After a leadoff double in the top of the ninth, Tyranski rang up back-to-back strikeouts before a flyout to Kelley in left sealed the Victory for MSU and sparked the Spartan celebration, capped by the newly established tradition of flashing the lights at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field in the first season with lights.
The Spartans and Illini wrap up regular-season action on Saturday with a 1 p.m. start time. Saturday is MSU Senior Day, with a pre-game ceremony honoring the Spartan seniors before their final game for the Green & White.
The Spartans will honor their five senior players: Royce Ando, Marty Bechina, Dan Chmielewski, Evan Flohr and Nic Lacayo, as well as three senior managers Atticus Bohr, Eric Behan and Joseph "Rocco" Spizzirri, in a pre-game ceremony, so fans are encouraged to arrive early to honor the Spartan seniors.
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