Spartans tally season-high 17 runs in series opener win over Nebraska

EAST LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan State Spartans (8-19; 2-5) welcomed the Nebraska Cornhuskers (14-15; 2-5) to East Lansing on Saturday afternoon, a series opener that came a day late as Friday’s game was postponed due to inclement weather. The rescheduling of Friday’s game forced a doubleheader to be played Saturday, however, the second game of the day would be cancelled.

Ethan Landon got the ball for the Spartans looking for his first win on the year, despite holding an impressive 2.98 ERA. The Cornhuskers would counter with senior Luis Alvarado, who came into the game with a 2-2 record.

The Huskers would get men on in the first via a single into left field from Scott Schreiber, as well as a walk from Jesse Wilkening. Two consecutive strong defensive plays from Spartan second basemen Zach Iverson and shortstop Ryan King would stop the threat.

The Spartans put the pressure on early in the bottom of the first. A leadoff walk for Justin Antoncic, followed by Zach Iverson reaching via error and a mishandled bunt back to the pitcher by Dan Chmielewski would load the bases. Freshman Ryan King knocked a single into left to score Antoncic and Iverson, putting the Spartans ahead 2-0.

Marty Bechina would be hit by a pitch to force a run home, and Bryce Kelley would then pick up his 8th and 9th RBIs of the year on a single into center field. The Spartans took a commanding 5-0 lead into the second.

Nebraska would answer in the top of the third on a two-out RBI single from catcher Jesse Wilkening.

The Cornhuskers would quickly add a run in the top of the fifth. Nebraska center fielder Ben Klenke would knock a single past a diving Zach Iverson for a bases-loaded, two-out single that would score two. The Huskers pulled within one, 5-4.

Mike Waldron would take over for Luis Alvarado on the mound in the bottom of the fifth, surrendering an RBI single by Adam Proctor that would score Marty Bechina who reached on a double that was crushed into deep-center.

The Spartans would send left-hander Mitchell Tyranski to the mound in relief for Ethan Landon in the sixth inning with a 6-4 lead to work with. Tyranski looked sharp, recording nine strikeouts in four innings.

A Marty Bechina double in the seventh would score two and chase Waldron. Seven more runs would come across in the inning, pushing the Spartan lead to 15-4.

The Spartans would plate two more runs in the eighth for a season-high 17 runs on 15 hits.

Scott Schreiber would record his 36th career home run for the Huskers on a solo-shot in the ninth, and that would be the last of the fight put up by the Cornhuskers. Ethan Landon recorded his first win of the year in a 17-5 route.

The Spartans have now won their second game in a row following their eight-game losing skid. They will take the diamond again on Sunday morning against the Huskers at 11:05 a.m. EST.

WP – Ethan Landon (1-5, 5 IP, 4 R, 7 H, 1 K)

LP – Luis Alvarado (2-3, 4 IP, 4 R, 4 H, 5 K)