MSU baseball rallies, stays alive in Big Ten tourney
Minneapolis — Ryan Krill hit a go-ahead grand slam in the eighth inning in the Michigan State's 9-7 victory over Nebraska on Thursday in the Big Ten baseball tournament.
The Spartans (34-22) scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth to erase a 7-3 deficit in the elimination game. On Friday, Michigan State will play top-seeded Illinois, a 2-1 loser to Maryland late Thursday night.
"Oh man, I'm not even sure (what I was thinking)," Krill said. "I blacked out during the whole thing. I just knew that I got it really well. I was just going up there just to find a fastball. I looked pretty bad at my three previous at bats on fastballs, so I kind of knew one was coming. I just guessed right, and I got ahold of it.
"I was about to throw up when I got back to the dugout. I don't know if I've ever hit a ball like that in that big of a spot in my whole life, so that was just awesome. I didn't want that to be my last at bat as a Spartan, so I'm glad we were able to do that and the team can play on."
Joe Mockbee retired 11 of 13 batters in 3 2-3 innings of relief for the fifth-seeded Spartans.
The Cornhuskers (34-23) had a five-run fifth inning to take a 6-2 lead.
Mark Weist and Chad Roskelly combined for six of the Spartans' 13 hits.
The victory keeps Michigan State's NCAA tournament hopes alive.
"I've probably paid a little bit more attention to it than the players," coach Jake Boss Jr. said. "I had thought if we had gone 0-2 here, we might still have a chance. I think now, we deserve to play in the NCAA tournament and I think we're good enough. It's out of our hands though. All we can do is control how we play, and I'm excited we'll have the opportunity to play tomorrow as well."
BIG TEN TOURNAMENT
(Times listed are Eastern.)
Game 1: Michigan 4, Indiana 1
Game 2: Iowa 3, Ohio State 2
Game 3: Illinois 3, Nebraska 2
Game 4: Maryland 2, Michigan State 1
Game 5: Indiana 5, Ohio State 3
Game 6: Michigan State 9, Nebraska 7
Game 7: Michigan 8, Iowa 5
Game 8: Maryland 2, Illinois 1
Game 9: Indiana vs. Iowa, 4:30 p.m. (BTN)
Game 10: Michigan State vs. Illinois, 8:30 p.m. (BTN)
Game 11: Maryland vs. Game 9 winner, 10 a.m. (BTN)
Game 12: Michigan vs. Game 10 winner, 2 p.m. (BTN)
Game 13 (if necessary): Game 11 winner vs. Game 11 loser, 6 p.m. (BTN)
Game 14 (if necessary): Game 12 winner vs. Game 12 loser, 10 p.m. (BTN)
Championship: Game 11/13 winner vs. Game 12/14 winner, 2 p.m. (BTN)