WILMINGTON, N.C. - With four runs in the top of the ninth to break a 4-4 tie, the Michigan State baseball team looked poised to get its first win of the weekend over UNC Wilmington, but five runs by the Seahawks in the bottom of the ninth dealt the Spartans a tough 9-8 loss on Saturday (Feb. 28) afternoon. UNCW remains unbeaten at 7-0 while MSU falls to 1-5.
In the top of the ninth with the score tied at four, pinch hitter Johnny Lee walked on four consecutive pitches and then stole to second to move into scoring position. With one out, the Seahawks sent in closer Stephen Harold to try and get out of the inning tied but a RBI single up the middle from Bo Felt scored Lee and gave MSU a 5-4 lead. With the bases loaded and two outs, Eric Roof then extended the lead with a bases-clearing triple to make the score 8-4.
The Seahawks then pushed across five runs off two hits in a rain-soaked bottom of the ninth keyed by a three-run triple from Mike Rooney.
The Spartans took a 1-0 lead in the second inning courtesy of a sacrifice fly by designated hitter Ben Vrobel that scored Eric Roof who reached with a lead off walk.
With UNCW leading 2-1 in the fourth inning, Eric Roof again led off by getting on base - this time he drilled a Jesse Haney pitch to deep right field that resulted in a triple. Roof tied the game with his second run of the day one batter later with a sacrifice fly to center field from A.J. Shindler.
After MSU used another sacrifice fly in the fifth frame to take a 3-2 lead, the Spartans added a solo run in the sixth with the help of a leadoff walk - this time it was Shindler who got the free pass and then scored off a RBI single from Jeff Holm.
MSU starter A.J. Dunn went five innings and scattered five hits before leaving the game in the sixth after a double and a walk. The Seahawks later loaded the bases in the inning and rallied to tie the game at four off a sacrifice hit and wild pitch from Kyle Corcoran.
Kurtis Frymier (0-2) suffered the loss for the Spartans while Harold (1-0) got the win for UNCW.
The two teams are scheduled to complete the four-game series on Sunday (March 1) at 10 a.m. but rainy weather may force a cancellation.