PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Michigan State baseball was defeated by Rutgers, 6-3, Saturday afternoon at RU’s Bainton Field, in the second game of the three-game Big Ten Conference weekend series.
RU plated five runs in the bottom of the first and MSU chipped away at the early deficit, but it was too much to overcome for the Spartans.
Junior outfielder Bryce Kelley tied a career-high with four hits, going 4-for-5 and scored a run. Sophomore infielder Zach Iverson was 2-for-3 and senior infielder Marty Bechina went 2-for-5, and both Iverson and Bechina each had a run scored. Freshman outfielder Zaid Walker, senior pinch-hitter Nic Lacayo, senior infielder Royce Ando and freshman infielder Reese Trahey all had a hit apiece. Walker and Lacayo both had an RBI.
Junior starter Mitchell Tyranski struck out a career-high 10 in throwing a career-high 7.0 IP, while scattering nine hits and yielding two earned runs. Tyranski’s 10 Ks is the second double-digit strikeout total this season for a Spartan pitcher, joining junior Mike Mokma’s 11 Ks vs. Ohio State on March 9 in Greenville, S.C.
Rutgers bolted out of the gates with five runs in the bottom of the first, with five hits and taking advantage of two MSU errors.
The Spartans got on the board in the sixth, behind Bechina leading off with a double to left. Three batters later Walker doubled to left center to plate Bechina and MSU closed to 5-1. RU countered with a run of its own in the bottom of the sixth to make it 6-1.
MSU closed to 6-2 in the seventh after Iverson sparked the rally with a one-out single up the middle. Kelley followed with a single to right center to move Iverson over to third, and Lacayo laced a single through the right side to plate Iverson.
The Spartans didn’t go down without a fight, rallying in the top of the ninth, as Kelley led off with a single up the middle Trahey followed with a single to left center to advance Kelley to second. Kelley moved up to third on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Ando and scored on a wild pitch. Sophomore catcher Adam Proctor walked to put runners on first and second, but a groundout ended the rally and the game.
MSU and Rutgers wrap up the three-game weekend series on Sunday with a Noon first pitch.
The Spartans return home to host in-state foe Eastern Michigan on Wednesday, April 17 at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field, starting at 6:35 p.m.
Fans can also follow this weekend’s Spartan baseball action through “Live Stats,” “Listen Live” and “Watch Live” links found at MSUSpartans.com. The games will be video streamed on BTN2Go, and will also be carried on the Spartan Sports Network live audio stream. The broadcast will be available exclusively at SpartanSportsNetwork.com and on the network’s 24/7 app for mobile devices (available on iTunes and Google Play). Broadcast veteran Scott Moore calls the action alongside former MSU manager/bullpen catcher David Greenberg in select games.
Any schedule updates will be announced on www.MSUSpartans.com and on twitter @statebaseball.