MSU baseball rallies late, pulls out 6-5 win over Evansville

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Erin Grady

EAST LANSING – The Spartans were 0-8 this season when trailing after the seventh inning going into Sunday. The Purple Aces were 7-1 when leading after seven innings. MSU scraped together its first such win of the year after taking the lead with two runs in the eighth, winning 6-5.

“I thought the energy was great out of our dugout,” MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “I thought everybody really believed that we were going to get it done, and at the end of the day, we did.”

The victory improved Michigan State to 7-10 on the year, as Evansville fell to 9-10.

Behind 5-4 going into the bottom of the eighth, freshman Ryan McKay tied the game with an RBI double on an 0-2 pitch and MSU took the lead after Randy Seymour got walked with the bases loaded.

McKay ended the game with a 2-for-4 line, three RBIs, and scored the go-ahead run in the eighth.

“I’m really blessed that Coach Boss trusts me to put me in those opportunities,” McKay said.

McKay contributed to a fast start, receiving his first two RBIs of the day on a two-out double in the first inning.

Senior Jack Frank also hit an RBI triple in the third that made it 3-0 MSU at the time.

A 3-0 Spartan lead was erased for a second straight day after the Aces scored in three straight innings. They scored one in the fourth and fifth inning, then three in the sixth on a solo shot from Kip Fougerousse and a two-run homer by Brendan Hord.

“A lot of the older guys were just saying like, ‘We’ve still got three, four at-bats left. The game is nowhere near over,’” McKay said.

The top of the eighth was the turning point. It looked like the Purple Aces were going to add to their one-run lead with two runners in scoring position and nobody out. Senior Dillon Kark then nabbed a line drive at third and stepped on the bag before the runner could get back for a double play.

Following the two-run eighth for MSU, sophomore Tommy Szczepanski closed the door following a snow delay in the ninth, setting the Aces down in order and notching his second save of the season.

Another highlight was when senior Jack Frank made an over-the-shoulder catch while running up the hill in right-center field to rob UE’s Kip Fougerousse of at least two bases. Coach Boss said it might have been the best play he has ever seen an outfielder make.

Graduate Nick Ferazzi also handed in a good start on the mound. He pitched five innings and gave up just one earned run, striking out four in the process.

“I thought Nick was really good today,” Boss said.

Redshirt junior Dominic Pianto received the win after pitching 2.1 scoreless innings in relief.

The Spartans will remain in East Lansing for one game against Purdue-Fort Wayne on Mar. 20 before going on the road to Maryland for another three-game series.

“We have a midweek, so we’re gonna have to bring a lot of energy [against Purdue Fort Wayne],” McKay said.

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