LANSING, Mich. – Before a Cooley Law School Stadium record crowd of 12,997, the Lansing Lugnuts defeated Michigan State, 7-0, Thursday night in the sixth annual Crosstown Showdown presented by Auto Owners Insurance.
Both teams had just one hit after six innings, but the Lugnuts broke the game open with seven runs on six hits in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Lugnuts now lead the all-time series against the Spartans, 4-2.
A total of 42 players saw action in the game, including 12 pitchers. The Spartans used seven different pitchers, while the Lugnuts sent five to the mound.
Michigan State was limited to just two hits – a single by Anthony Cheky in the fifth and a single by Ryan Krill in the ninth – but had to face some of the top prospects in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.
Lugnut starter Aaron Sanchez, a supplemental first-round pick in 2010 and a Top 10 Blue Jay prospect, started the game and struck out two and walked two in the first. Jesse Hernandez followed with five scoreless innings, including four strikeouts.
In the decisive seventh inning, Lugnuts pinch hitter Chris Schaeffer led off with a single, followed by a Bryson Namba double to right field. Markus Brisker then came through with a two-run single to center, putting the first runs on the board for either team.
Lugnut center fielder Kenny Wilson drove in two more runs with a double down the right-field line, and second baseman Jonathon Berti extended the lead to 6-0 on a two-RBI single to center. Pierce Rankin made it 7-0 in favor of Lansing with an RBI groundout.
Roberto Osuna pitched a scoreless seventh to record the win for Lansing.
Spartan senior right-hander Tim Simpson, who had made 43 previous career appearances all out of the bullpen, started for MSU and threw two scoreless innings while striking out two. Chad Nielson also tossed two scoreless innings in the third and fourth, while Cody Huge, Chase Rihtarchik and Mike Mestdagh each posted one scoreless inning of relief.
Michigan State (18-8, 2-1 Big Ten) returns to action for a three-game, home-and-home series against Michigan (13-16, 0-3) this weekend. The first game of the series is set for Friday in Ann Arbor at 5:35 p.m. Game two will be held in East Lansing Saturday at McLane Baseball Stadium at 1:05 p.m., and the series finale will be Sunday in Ann Arbor at 3 p.m. Sunday’s game will be broadcast live on BTN.