Krill delivers, MSU tops UM at Comerica

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — Michigan and Michigan State don't play baseball against each other very often, thanks to some scheduling quirks in the new-look Big Ten.

In fact, last year the rivals didn't play at all.

So you better believe everyone's emotions were humming before Tuesday night's game at Comerica Park.

"I know everybody was pretty juiced up before this one, especially since we didn't get to play them last year," Michigan State senior first baseman Ryan Krill said. "It was a neat experience, and only getting one shot at them, it was cool to come out with the 'W.'

Krill was the star of the game, coming up with the biggest hit in the 4-2 victory.

With two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, the left-hander, facing Michigan left-hander Evan Hill, drilled a double down the line in right.

It was good for two runs after redshirt freshman catcher Chad Roskelly led off with a single and freshman second baseman Kory Young followed with a single.

Junior left fielder Cam Gibson struck out with runners on first and second, handing the rally to Krill.

And he came through, giving him 20 RBIs his last 10 games.

"We had some big at-bats," Michigan State coach Jake Boss Jr. said. "Ryan's seeing the ball well right now."

Krill's big out was one of two for the Spartans with two outs. They got on the board in the fourth with two outs when redshirt senior shortstop Ryan Richardson sent an RBI single through the hole between first and second.

Michigan answered in the top of the fifth, when junior third baseman Travis Maezes found a hole for a two-run single to give the Wolverines a 2-1 lead. The ball got past a diving first baseman for the first run and just off the second baseman's glove for the second round.

The Wolverines had a chance for more, but a big play ending their inning.

After Maezes, sophomore Carmen Benedetti hit a rocket single to center field. It was hit so hard, it seemed there was no chance Maezes could go first to third, but he never broke stride and slid in safely.

The next batter, junior left fielder Cody Bruder, hit a shallow flyball to Cam Gibson — son of Tigers legend Kirk Gibson — in left. With two outs, Maezes was sent home and Gibson threw him out by at least 15 feet.

"It's an aggressive play to force the outfielder to make a good throw," Michigan coach Erik Bakich said. "Otherwise, you're relying on a two-out hi. "It's a risk. We had one of our faster runners at third ... the left fielder, Gibson, did a nice job catching it coming in. You credit them for playing catch in that situation."

Bakich said the number of outs dictated the move in that situation. If the flyball to left made it one out, then Maezes wouldn't have been sent home.

With two out, he left, and it ended the Wolverines rally.

That wasn't the key, though, Bakich said. Michigan State got big hits with two out, while Michigan didn't.

Michigan State (19-15) also got a little better pitching from its three lefties, sophomore Alex Troop (3-2), sophomore Joe Mockbee (hold) and senior Jeff Kinley (save).

Hill (0-1) took the loss for Michigan (21-15)

The game, which was a nonconference contest, was the eighth victory in the last 11 games for Michigan State, which plays again at Comerica Park tonight against Central Michigan.

The Wolverines were hot, too, having won eight of their previous 10.

Both teams had been swinging hot bats, but Tuesday's game was a low-scoring, tight contest.

"It was a huge win," Krill said. "It was good to get those guys."