CONWAY, S.C. -- Michigan State baseball got a career-high six strikeouts from starter Mike Mokma, but No. 23 North Carolina State broke through in the late innings to beat MSU, 5-0, Saturday at the Coastal Carolina-hosted Brittain Resorts Baseball At The Beach at CCU’s Springs Brooks Stadium.
Mokma fired his career-high six K’s in 6.0 IP, retiring 12-straight NC State batters, starting with the end of the first inning through the top of the fifth, as part of 17 outs in 18 batters faced. The junior hurler yielded just three hits, while walking two and not allowing a run. Saturday was Mokma’s third career outing with five or more punchouts.
“I was very impressed with how Mike Mokma threw today; I thought he was really, really good today and certainly gave us a chance,” MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “Offensively, NC State did a great job of limiting our opportunities, we need to be better. I thought we were competitive at the plate, but at the end of the day, we need to execute and they did that better than we did today. That’s what good ball clubs do and they’re a very good ball club, a Top 25 team and they played like it today.”
MSU slides to 1-5 for the season, while NCSU improves to 6-0 with the win.
At the plate, MSU’s five hits on the day came from five different Spartans, as senior outfielder Dan Chmielewski was 1-for-4 with a stolen base. Senior catcher Nic Lacayo, senior second baseman Royce Ando along with junior outfielders Bryce Kelley and Justin Antoncic were all also 1-for-4.
NCSU led off the game with back-to-back singles before Mokma got the first out of the opening inning with a groundout, moving up the Wolfpack runners to second and third with one out. However, Mokma got out of the jam with a line out and a strike, to start Mokma’s streak of 12-straight batters retired.
Senior shortstop Marty Bechina backed Mokma in the second inning, making a routine stop on a groundout for the first out. After a Mokma strikeout, Bechina dove to his left on a bounding ball up the middle off the bat of NC State’s David Vazquez and snared the ball, then jumped to his feet and fired a laser to freshman first baseman Reese Trahey at first to nab Vazquez by a step to end the inning.
Just like the second inning, Mokma retired NCSU in order in the top of the third and fourth, book-ending the third frame with a pair of strikeouts after a popup. In the fourth, Mokma sandwiched a two groundouts to second around a fly out for his third-straight 1-2-3 inning.
In the Spartan half of the third, Trahey led off with a walk and Kelley followed. Kelley bounced the ball to short, and while the Wolfpack tried to turn the double play, Kelley beat the throw to first, but a controversial runner interference call on Trahey wiped out the MSU threat.
NCSU’s Tyler McDonough led off the fifth with a single to break up Mokma’s streak of 12-straight retired Wolfpack batters, before the Spartan hurler started a new streak with strikeouts for the first and third out of the inning around a foul out to end the fifth.
In the top of the sixth, Mokma got the first two NC State batters he faced out before yielding back-to-back walks, but got out of the jam with a fly out to Chmielewski in right.
Mokma gave way to junior reliever Mitchell Tyranski to start the seventh, and the Wolfpack broke through with four runs on five hits, including three doubles, before Tyranski got a groundout to end the inning. Tyranski allowed a leadoff single in the eight, before inducing a fly out, then consecutive strikeouts to end the frame, as the Spartan hurler posted four punchouts in his 2.0 IP of work.
The Spartans tried to rally in the bottom of the eighth, as senior catcher Nic Lacayo led off with a seeing-eye single to left to open the inning. Redshirt-freshman Brendan Regan pinch ran for Lacayo, and after one out, Regan moved up to second after a balk on NC State relief pitcher Reid Johnston. Following a strikeout, Regan scooted to third after a passed ball, but the Spartan rally ended with a fly out.
NC State added a run in the top of the ninth off junior reliever Jarret Olson, and MSU went down in order to end the game.
Michigan State wraps up Brittain Resorts Baseball At The Beach action on Sunday, Feb. 24 against Kent State with first pitch scheduled for 11 a.m. A live stats link will be available at www.MSUSpartans.com.
Any schedule updates due to weather will be announced on www.MSUSpartans.com and on twitter @statebaseball.