Mar 4, 2012

Spartans Drop Final Game to Aggies

Photo from MSU Baseball Facebook Page
By Sean Gagnier

They jumped out to an early lead but the Spartans were unable to hold off the hard charging Aggies who came back and beat them 9-8 on Sunday. Michigan State was able to strike for 10 hits and left six runners on base but couldn't get over the hump and allowed Texas A&M to get back into the game and ultimately win.

Things started out going the Spartans way in the first inning, with Jordan Keur reaching on a fielding error and Justin Scanlon reaching right after him after a catcher interference call. With two runners on Torsten Boss singled to right which scored an unearned run in Keur. Ryan Jones hit a fly ball to left that allowed Scanlon to score from 3B. With one out and in a 2-1 count Jimmy Pickens hit one over the fence bringing Boss with him on his home run trot. Michigan State then grounded into two straight outs to end the inning.

It was just what Coach Jake Boss Jr. had wanted his team to do, take advantage of the miscues that the Aggies gave them and get runners home. In the first the Spartans were able to plate four runners on two hits and three errors.

TAMU was able to claw back into the game in the second off two throwing errors by 3B Andrew Carpenter. With two runners on base due to throwing errors and a walk the Aggies had the bases loaded and were able to get a run across after Spartans starter Mike Theodore hit an Aggies batter.

Texas A&M was able to cut the lead in half in the fourth inning when a throwing error by 1B Ryan Krill allowed the Aggies to make the score 4-2. TAMU was able to take a 5-4 lead in the sixth when a pair of singles by Jacob House and Brandon Wood scored three.

The Spartans imploded in the seventh, allowing four more runs when a walk, stolen base and a balk moved runners to second and third base. After a two RBI triple chased Bryce Jenney, Trey Popp took the ball and promptly surrendered another RBI triple and an RBI single to drive the score to 9-4 in favor of the Aggies.

In the eighth Michigan State mounted a rally driven by Jared Hook RBI double and a Krill 2 RBI home run. With the score now at 9-7 the Spartans turned to their closer Tony Wieber in the bottom of the eighth and struck out two of the four batters that inning. In the ninth Keur singled to left before being moved up by a Boss single and was able to score on a Jones single. Pickens then flew out to center field.

Spartans starter Mike Theodore performed well during his 4.1 innings of work, surrendering just three hits while giving up two runs, neither of which were earned. While he did strike out two of the 23 batters he faced, he struggled with command and hit two batters with a pitch. His replacement Jeff Kinley did not fare well in his 1.1 innings as he surrendered three earned runs on three hits while hitting one batter.

The bullpen is where Michigan State lost on Sunday as Jenney, who was brought in as relief for Kinley, gave up three earned runs on two hits in just 0.2 innings of work. Popp then relinquished another run on two hits in his 0.2 innings before Wieber was able to shut down the Aggies in his one inning of work, giving up just one hit.

Michigan State was able to take early advantage of some Aggies miscues but could not keep it up against the No. 5 Aggies who were just too much for them to handle. The Spartans (4-6) head to Waco, Tex. on March 7 to take on the Baylor Bears.

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