EVANSTON, Ill. — Michigan State baseball (14-21) topped Northwestern (9-24) by a score of 6-5 on Sunday afternoon at Koldyke Field at Rocky and Berenice Miller Park to secure the series sweep of the Wildcats. The Spartans now extend their Big Ten winning streak to six games.
“We’re going to enjoy the three wins,” coach Jake Boss Jr. said after the game. “I’m really proud of our guys”
The Spartans got on the board early again as they put up four runs in the first inning. With runners on first and third, first baseman Zack McGuire singled up the middle to score one run. Two batters later, with the bases loaded, third baseman Zach Iverson singled through the right side of the infield to score two more runs and move center fielder Danny Gleaves to third base. The next batter, Marty Bechina, grounded out to score Gleaves, making the score 4-0 in favor of Michigan State.
Getting his third start of the season on the mound for the Spartans was Mike Mokma, who didn’t run into much trouble until the third inning. With two runners on, Northwestern designated hitter Jack Claeys singled to right field to score one, cutting the Spartans lead to three.
Mokma cruised through the fourth and fifth inning, but surrendered a pair of solo home runs to Northwestern first baseman Willie Bourbon and left fielder Charlie Maxwell to bring the Wildcats within one run.
Mokma handed the ball off to lefty Mitchell Tyranski in the seventh inning. Tyranski struggled and loaded the bases for the Wildcats. With one out, Bourbon singled to left field to drive in a pair of runs, giving Northwestern its first lead of the game.
With still only one out in the inning, righty Jake Lowery took over the pitching duties for Tyranski. Lowery was able to get Claeys to line out to shortstop and Maxwell to strikeout swinging to end the inning.
The Spartans would jump back on top in the top of the seventh inning thanks to a clutch hit from McGuire: with a runner on first base, McGuire sent a pitch over the left field fence for a two-run shot, giving the Spartans a 6-5 lead going into the late innings.
“I was just looking for a pitch to hit — hopefully to drive, with a guy on first — you try to score him from first, so hopefully something in the gap,” McGuire said. “Luckily I got ahold of one.”
For McGuire, it was his fifth home run of the season and second of the weekend.
“It’s his second home run of the weekend and it could not have been in a bigger spot” Boss said.
The Spartans’ closer, Riley McCauley, came out of the bullpen early to pitch in the eighth inning and faced the minimum in a scoreless inning to keep his team’s lead intact.
McCauley came back out in the ninth inning to finish off the Wildcats to earn the six-out save and his second save in as many games to give Michigan State their eighth win in their last 10 games.
“There’s nobody else that I would rather have the ball in their hands other than Riley McCauley in that situation,” Boss said. “He’s as good as it gets in my opinion.”
WP – Jake Lowery (2-2; 0.2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 K, 0 BB)
LP – Richard Fordon (1-5; 0.2 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 1 K, 0 BB)
SV – Riley McCauley (2)
For their next game, the Spartans will head to Detroit to take on Eastern Michigan on Tuesday at Comerica Park. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. EST.