GREENVILLE, S.C. – Furman’s five-run sixth inning propelled the Paladins past the Michigan State baseball team, 8-5, Saturday afternoon at Fluor Field in the First Pitch Invitational.
The Spartans (3-2) scored all of their runs in the top of the fourth inning to jump out to a 5-0 lead. After three straight singles opened the inning, Ryan Krill hit a sacrifice fly to put MSU on the board. John Martinez followed with an RBI double, and Kevin Goergen added an RBI groundout to make it 3-0. Martinez later scored on a wild pitch and Ryan Richardson’s RBI single to right field plated the final run of the inning for Michigan State.
The Paladins (4-1) bounced back with single runs in the bottom of the fourth and fifth before taking the lead for good with five runs in the sixth.
Spartan starter David Garner exited the game after allowing three consecutive hits to lead off the bottom of the sixth. Sophomore Mike Mestdagh relieved Garner with runners on first and third and MSU in front, 5-3. Mestdagh got his first two batters out, although a run scored on a groundout, but then allowed a walk to Jordan Simpson and a two-run triple to Will Muzika as the Paladins jumped out in front for the first time, 6-5. Furman added another run with an RBI double by Heath Burton to make it 7-5.
The Paladins tacked on an insurance run in the seventh, pushing their lead to 8-5.
Michigan State tallied just one hit, a double by Joel Fisher in the eighth, in the final five innings of the game. The Spartans had seven hits in the contest, led by Fisher and Blaise Salter, who each collected two.
Mestdagh (0-1) allowed three runs, two earned, on three hits in one inning of action to suffer the loss. Furman’s Ryan Morse (1-0) threw two scoreless innings of relief to earn the win.
Garner struck out four, walked two, and gave up eight hits on five runs, all earned, in the no decision.
Michigan State will wrap up action at the First Pitch Invitational Sunday at 11 a.m. against Miami-Ohio.