UM baseball notches 30th win at MSU’s expense
Ann Arbor — Michigan carried the momentum from its non-conference sweep over national power Oklahoma into its Big Ten battle with rival Michigan State Tuesday night at Ray Fisher Stadium, defeating the Spartans, 12-4, for its 30th victory of the season.
It would be safe to say sophomore second baseman Ako Thomas had the at-bat of the game, fouling off a handful of pitches and then getting an RBI single with two outs during a four-run sixth inning to open an 8-4 lead after the Wolverines had stranded runners in earlier innings.
Michigan senior center fielder Johnny Slater had four doubles, including an RBI double in the first, a two-run double in the sixth and an RBI double in the seventh.
The Wolverines (30-7, 6-3), ranked No. 18 in the latest Baseball America rankings, answered Michigan State’s run in the opening inning with two of their own with back-to-back doubles from Thomas and Slater, followed by a sacrifice fly from shortstop Michael Brdar.
Michigan wasted chances to increase the lead, which proved costly when the Spartans (20-13, 5-4) came back with a three-run fifth to take a 4-3 lead, highlighted by two-run double by Dan Durkin after they opened the inning with consecutive walks to chase starter Michael Hendrickson, who was replaced by Karl Kauffmann.
Leading 3-1 in the fourth, the Wolverines had runners on second and third when Jonathan Engelmann lined to third for a double play to end the threat.
In the third, Drew Lugbauer struck out with Brdar at second.
In the fifth, Michigan scored a run to pull even at 4, but MSU reliever Jake Lowery came in and struck out Lugbauer and Miles Lewis to strand runners on second and third.
In the sixth, the Wolverines scored a run to take a 5-4 lead and Thomas followed with his quality at-bat to score the second run, and open the door for Slater’s two-run double for an 8-4 cushion.
The Wolverines scored four more times in the seventh with Thomas collecting another RBI single and Slater another RBI double.