MSU Defeated By CMU
Kelley goes 2-for-4 and swipes his 28th base of the season.
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. -- Michigan State baseball was defeated by Central Michigan in MSU’s final non-conference midweek game of the regular-season Tuesday afternoon at CMU’s Theunissen Stadium by a final score of 13-2.
Michigan State slid to 18-29 overall with the loss, while Central Michigan moved to 23-28-1 overall. The Spartans had won two of their previous three visits to Mount Pleasant, including last season.
MSU got on the board first on Tuesday with two runs in the top of the opening inning, but the Spartans were unable to plate a run the rest of the game.
“We scored two in the first, but it’s tough to win when we only have seven hits, and we just had a rough day all the way around,” MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “We need to execute better and we just didn’t do that today.”
With its final non-conference game of the season over, Michigan State now turns its attention to this weekend’s final regular-season Big Ten Conference series, hosting Ohio State, Thursday-Saturday at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field.
“We’ll have a good practice tomorrow and get ready for the weekend. I’ve said it all year, but these guys do a good job of separating one day from the next, and we’ll be ready to play on Thursday. I think everybody in our dugout knows what’s at stake, and they’re playing for a lot over there also, so it’s going to be a very, very good Big Ten series, just like our last one was at Minnesota.”
Sophomore left fielder Bryce Kelley was 2-for-4 Tuesday with a run scored and a stolen base. It was Kelley’s 28th stolen base of the season, moving into sole possession of No. 3 on MSU’s single-season stolen base list and closer to the MSU record of 30 base swipes, held by former teammate Brandon Hughes, who ironically set the record last season at CMU. Kelley has strong ties to Central Michigan, as his mother, Jody Beerman Kelley, played basketball for the Chippewas and is one of the top and most-decorated women’s basketball players in CMU history.
The stolen base by Kelley was also MSU’s 89th this season, moving up to sole possession of the No. 3 spot on the MSU team stolen base list, separating from a tie with the 2014 squad. Last season’s Spartans have the No. 2 spot with 96 base swipes & the 2005 squad owns the school record of 98 stolen bases.
Freshman third baseman Zach Iverson was 2-for-3 with an RBI, while freshman shortstop Ryan King was 1-for-3, sophomore first baseman Justin Antoncic was 1-for-4 with a run scored and junior catcher Nic Lacayo was 1-for-1 with a pinch-hit single in the ninth.
The Spartans got on the board first with Kelley leading off with a single, then stealing 2nd and scoring on Antoncic’s single to center. Antoncic was later driven in by a single down the left field line by Iverson for an early 2-0 lead.
MSU’s lead was short-lived as CMU’s Zach Keeke led off with a home run to right field and the Chips later scored another run to level the scoreboard at 2-apiece.
Central Michigan plated two more runs in the second frame, stringing together three hits before sophomore starting pitcher Sam Benschoter ended the inning with a strikeout.
The Chips threatened in the third, but Benschoter chalked up a strike ‘em, throw ‘em out double play, with senior catcher Will Salter throwing out a CMU runner trying to steal second after the strikeout. King then made a nice play at shortstop to end the inning, one of his many defensive gems in the game.
CMU added two more runs in the sixth, before plating five in the seventh. The Chips batted around with four hits and took advantage of two MSU errors, before senior relief pitcher Keegan Baar came on and ended the rally by inducing a flyout to leave the bases loaded.
Central Michigan tacked on two runs in the eighth for the final scoring.
The Spartans wrap up Big Ten action by hosting Ohio State in a pivotal Big Ten Conference three-game series, Thursday-Saturday, at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field. Thursday and Friday’s game have 4:05 p.m. first pitch times, and will be nationally televised on Big Ten Network. Saturday’s series and regular-season finale is scheduled for a 1:05 p.m. start. Saturday is also the Spartans’ Senior Day, honoring their seniors in a pre-game ceremony.
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