WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Mitchell Tyranski tied a career high with 10 strikeouts to boost Michigan State to a 5-1 win over Purdue Saturday night at Purdue’s Alexander Field.
“We took advantage of some opportunities tonight, but the story of the game was Mitchell Tyranski,” MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “He was lights out really all night long, and he was never really in a whole lot of trouble. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the shutout for him, but he was as good as he’s been all year tonight and we needed him.”
The Spartan junior southpaw matched his 10-K outing at Rutgers on April 13 with 10 strikeouts in 7.2 innings Saturday night, scattering just six hits with only one walk without allowing a run. Tyranski didn’t allow a Boilermaker baserunner past first until the sixth, and only two Purdue runners reached third against him. Tyranski has fired at least nine strikeouts in his last four outings, giving him 38 Ks over that stretch as part of 60 strikeouts in his last eight outings.
“Give Mitch a lot of credit, he’s made some adjustments that we’ve talked about and he’s kept an open mind about them and gotten after things. We’ve talked about attacking hitters, and that’s the kind of mentality that he had coming out of the bullpen and he’s been able to take that to his starting role. He opened the game with a four-pitch inning and he kept the pitch count down and was able to get into the eighth inning,” Boss said. “He was just really good. I give him a lot of credit for hanging in there, he had a tough start early and the numbers weren’t really there and we didn’t help him out a whole lot. He’s one of our captains and that’s what leaders do.”
Tyranski was backed by the Spartan bats, as sophomore catcher Adam Proctor was 1-for-3 with a blast of a home run in the eighth inning. Proctor’s towering deep home run cleared not just the right field fence, but the Spartans’ bullpen and landed in the Purdue soccer field, a good distance from the edge of the baseball stadium. Purdue right fielder Cole McKenzie didn’t even move, only shuffling his feet to watch the ball sail out of the park.
“That’s what he’s capable of. He’s a big, strong guy. He had a 3-0 count and we gave him the green light, and that’s what a 3-0 green light swing should look like,” Boss said with a laugh. “We talk about that for when we give him the green light on 3-0 that it’s either got to be a long, long home run or a swing and a miss because we can’t make weak outs if we have the green light. So he certainly took advantage of that and to his credit, he’s capable of that because he’s one of the strongest kids we’ve had here.”
Proctor now leads MSU with eight home runs out of 15 hits on the season and he is the only player in the country with five or more home runs that has more than half of their hits being home runs.
Senior outfielder Dan Chmielewski and freshman outfielder Zaid Walker both had two hits, with Chmielewski going 2-for-5 with a run scored, while Walker was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
“Zaid is a talented player, he’s going to have a really, really good future here. He’s a guy that is capable of a lot of things both at the plate and in the field. He’s very athletic and he runs well, and we’re starting to see glimpses of it. He’s not there yet, but we’re seeing his potential and the more that he can build on it, the better off he’ll be and the better off we’ll be,” Boss said.
Junior outfielder Bryce Kelley was 1-for-4 with an RBI, while senior infielder Marty Bechina scored a run after reaching on an error, and fellow senior infielder Royce Ando notched an RBI.
Junior pitcher Indigo Diaz came on in the eighth with runners on the corners and two outs, inducing a fly out to end the frame. In the ninth, he yielded a run, but chalked up a strikeout and fielder’s choice to end the game and even the series at a game apiece after Friday night’s 2-0 Purdue win in the opener, setting up Sunday’s series finale rubber match at 1 p.m.
“The challenge is similar to what it’s been all year, to repeat one good day the next day, and that’s no different tomorrow. We have a chance to win not just a series, but a chance road series, and that’s something we haven’t done all year. We have a great opportunity tomorrow and our guys are going to be ready to play,” Boss said.
The Spartans got on the board in the top of the first, as Chmielewski laced a one-out single. He then stole second and moved to third on an error off the bat of Bechina. Ando followed with a sacrifice fly to right center and Chmielewski scampered home for the 1-0 lead.
Tyranski made quick work of the Boilermakers in the first with a quick 1-2-3 frame on just four pitches.
The visiting Spartans tacked on their second run in as many innings in inning number two, with Walker scoring on an RBI single by Kelley. Walker reached on a single to right, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored from second on Kelley’s single.
MSU went up 3-0 in the third after Bechina reached on an error, moved to second on a passed ball, to third on a wild pitch and scored on another wild pitch.
The Spartan advantage grew to 4-0 in the sixth after Proctor started the rally with a leadoff walk. He moved to second on a groundout, and Purdue made a pitching change. Proctor moved to third on a wild pitch, before scoring on a Walker single to center.
Proctor made the score 5-0 with his monster blast in the eighth.
Purdue’s Tyler Powers drew a walk to lead off the eighth, but was later erased from the basepath on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Charlie Nasuti. Ryan Howe followed with a single to left and Nasuti darted to third putting runners on the corners. MSU made a pitching change, bringing in Diaz to relieve Tyranski. Diaz induced a flyout to thwart the threat.
Bechina drew a two-out walk in the ninth, but MSU was unable to move him around. In the bottom of the ninth, Purdue tried to rally off Diaz, getting one run on an RBI single, but a strikeout and fielder’s choice to Bechina at short, who flipped to Ando for the final out and seal the Victory for MSU.
Michigan State and Purdue wrap up the weekend on Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Spartans have a five-game week next week, playing at Michigan on Tuesday, May 7 at 6 p.m. in a non-conference contest, before hosting Valparaiso on Wednesday, May 8 at 5:05 p.m. at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field.
Michigan State does not have any midweek games this upcoming week due to finals on campus at MSU. The Spartans resume action by heading to West Lafayette, Ind., for a three-game Big Ten weekend series at Purdue, Friday-Sunday, May 3-4. Friday’s series opener is slated for 6 p.m., followed by 1 p.m. first pitches on Saturday and Sunday.
Any schedule updates due to weather will be announced on www.MSUSpartans.com and on twitter @statebaseball.
Fans can also follow 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.