EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State baseball dropped the second game of the three-game set with Illinois on Saturday afternoon at McLane Stadium, 7-3. The Spartans fell behind 3-0 in the first inning but fought back to tie the game in the fourth. However, a four-run eighth inning for the Fighting Illini did the Spartans in.
"We left some opportunities out there offensively," head coach Jake Boss said. "I thought we got a little too worked up in big situations. But we had a chance to make a play in the eighth with the lead-off hitter and we didn't. We needed to execute pitches better too. We walked eight guys, one intentionally. Eight walks against a good team like Illinois, you're not going to come away with a win."
Ryan Richardson went 1-for-4 with two RBIs in the game. Right-handed starter David Garner took a no-decision after allowing just two hits and three runs in six innings. He also had a career-high 10 strikeouts and walked five.
The Illini's only two hits off Garner came in the first inning. Thomas Lindauer led off with a single and later scored on a wild pitch. Brandon Hohl worked the second Illini walk of the inning and came home on an RBI-double David Kerian down the right-field line, giving Illinois an early 3-0 lead.
The Spartans went on a two-out rally in the third inning. Cam Gibson led off with a single and stole his 12th base of the season. Richardson singled up the middle, scoring Gibson and a single from Blaise Salter brought in Richardson, cutting the deficit to 3-2.
MSU evened the game in the fourth and had bases loaded with one out after Ryan Krill walked, Kevin Goergen singled to left field and Justin Hovis singled to right. Richardson earned a walk for his second RBI but the Spartans couldn't score any more runs.
Anthony Misiewicz came in to relieve Garner in the seventh but walked two consecutive batters, giving way to Justin Alleman.
Alleman responded for the Spartans with runners on second and third by getting Michael Hurwitz to strikeout looking. After walking Justin Parr, Alleman got another strikeout to get out of the seventh.
In the eighth, Illinois sent nine batters to the plate and scored four runs on four hits off the freshman Alleman. Hurwitz had a two-RBI single to right and Parr followed that with a RBI-single up the middle. With that single, Parr extended his hitting streak to a NCAA-best 30 games.
Alleman was charges with the loss while Ronnie Muck earned the win for Illinois in relief.
The Spartans will celebrate Senior Day tomorrow before the series finale against Illinois. The game is set for a 1:05 start at McLane Stadium and will be streamed live on the Big Ten Digital Network as well as live audio on SpartanSportsNetwork.com.