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By AUSTIN BRAMLEY
EAST LANSING, Mich. – An eighth-inning sacrifice fly broke a 1-1 tie, sending Michigan State to a 2-1 victory over the University of Iowa baseball team Saturday afternoon at McLane Stadium.
“We just couldn’t get anything going today,” UI head coach Rick Heller said.
Knotted up one run apiece, Michigan State’s Bryce Kelly reached on a fielding error by Iowa second baseman Mitchell Boe. After Brandon Hughes was intentionally walked, Chad Roskelly singled to load the bases for Dan Durkin.
“We gave them a free base, and they turned it into a run that beat us,” Heller said.
Trailing 1-0 heading to the sixth inning, Mason McCoy led off the inning with a single to left center. McCoy then stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error by Michigan State catcher Matt Byars and scored on a Robert Neustrom sacrifice fly to right field to tie the contest up at one.
The Hawkeyes had the bases loaded in the fifth when Grant Judkins, Ben Norman and Mitchell Boe all singled, accounting for three of Iowa’s five hits on the day, but Chris Whelan grounded into a fielders choice to end the inning.
The Spartans scored the first run of the contest in the second inning on an RBI sacrifice fly by Marty Bechina.
Michigan State’s Nathan Witt (2-0) earned the win, recording just one out in the eighth inning. Riley McCauley recorded his eighth save of the year, striking out three of the four batters he faced.
Kyle Lowery started the game for the Spartans and went deep into the game, allowing just one Hawkeye run on five hits, striking out nine in 7 2/3 innings.
Iowa starting pitcher Ryan Erickson gave the Hawkeyes a quality start, surrendering one run on five hits and striking out three in seven strong innings of work.
“It was a well pitched game by both Erickson and Lowery,” Heller said. “Both guys were dominant. Lowery punched us out a bunch of times and didn’t give us any free bases.
“Ryan pitched outstanding for us; we just couldn’t get anything going for him.”
Freshman Ben Norman (2-for-3) accounted for two of the team’s five hits on the day.
Iowa (28-17, 10-7) returns to action Sunday, with the rubber match slated for a 12:05 (CT) first pitch.