Michigan St. (3-1) vs. #2 Oregon St. (4-1) / Surprise Stadium / Aramark Big-10 Pac-12 Challenge Tournament in Surprise, AZ / 1 PM MST (Noon PST) / No TV / KTHH 990 AM / KPOJ 620 AM
Oregon St. continues play in the Aramark Big-10 Pac-12 Challenge Tournament today, taking on Michigan St.
(Note that radio in the mid-valley is shifted to AM 990 KTHH due to conflict with Beaver Basketball. Other stations may also have a conflict; Oregon St.'s free live streaming audio will be available for both games.)
The Beavers were surprised, and upset, by Nebraska in the tournament opener, falling 9-2 to the Huskers, who strung together multiple hits to produce 4 run at bats in both the 6th and 8th innings. All 9 of Nebraska's runs crossed the plate with 2 outs.
The Spartans jumped out to a 2-0 first inning lead over Utah, only to see the Utes come back to go ahead 3-2 in the third inning. Michigan St. took the lead back with a 2 run 5th inning, and pulled away with 3 more in the 6th, and a final tally in the 7th.
Utah rallied for 2 runs in the top of the 9th, but Michigan St. closer Jeff Kinley then closed out the 8-5 win with the bases loaded with Utes.
Jimmy Pickens and Blaise Salter combined for 6 RBIs for the Spartans.
Michigan St. took 2 of 3 from Wright St., whom Oregon St. is scheduled to host for a 4 game series next weekend at Goss Stadium, on opening weekend in Nashville, TN.
The Spartans and Raiders, among others, were scheduled to participate in a tournament at the USA Baseball Complex in Cary, NC, but that event was snowed out, and the two Michigan teams salvaged their opening weekend by playing a series when they located an available field in Nashville, in Vanderbilt's stadium, since the Commodores were spending the weekend in Long Beach, CA.
Last year, Michigan St. won 2/3s of their games, going 33-17, including a 12-9 mark in the Big 10, which was good for 7th in the 11 team conference. Only the top 6 teams participated in the Conference post-season tournament, leaving the Spartans sidelined, despite finishing only 3 1/2 games behind Indiana, who went to the College World Series, where Oregon St. beat them in a play-in to reach the final 4.
Oregon St. will go with junior LHP Jace Fry (1-0, 2.57 ERA) on the mound. Fry scattered 9 hits in 7 innings, with no walks, in picking up the win in the Beavers' 15-7 win over Nebraska last Saturday. Fry struck out 3, and didn't walk anyone, while throwing 92 pitches, and allowed only single runs in the 4th and 7th innings, before turning what was an 8-2 lead when he threw his last pitch, but had grown to a 15-2 advantage by the time Oregon St. would need to throw another pitch, over to the bullpen.
Michigan St. will counter with sophomore RHP Justin Alleman (1-0, 0.00 ERA). Alleman went 6 scoreless innings in the Spartan's 2-1 win over Wright St. in the second game of last Sunday's double header to pick up the win, allowing 4 hits and issuing 2 walks against 2 strikeouts. Alleman went 3-3 with a 4.03 ERA last season in 22 relief appearances.
Batter up! Here is the starting lineup for today's game:
SS - Trever Morrison
3B - Caleb Hamilton
LF - Michael Conforto
RF - Dylan Davis
DH - Michael Howard
1B - Kavin Keyes
CF - Jeff Hendrix
C - Logan Ice
2B - Andy Peterson
P - Jace Fry