by Jeff Barnes, Michigan State Athletics
and Jesse Goldberg-Strassler, Lansing Lugnuts
LANSING, Mich. – The Lansing Lugnuts erased a
two-run deficit with a five-run fifth inning and held off Michigan State,
5-4, to win the Crosstown Showdown, presented by Auto-Owners Insurance, on
Monday night in front of a crowd of 6,778 at Cooley Law School Stadium.
"It's a fun event for everyone involved from the players
to the fans," said MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. about the exhibition
event. "It's a great atmosphere and our guys had a good time
The Spartans scored the first run of the game off just two pitches
from Lugnuts starter Sam Strickland. Brandon Eckerle tripled down the left
field line to begin the game and then a flare single by Ryan Jones that
dropped in just beyond second base gave MSU a 1-0 lead.
In the fifth inning, the Spartans took advantage of three
errors by Lugnuts third baseman Oliver Dominguez to take a 2-0 lead.
Senior Kyle Corcoran started on the mound for MSU and turned
in his best performance of the year to date. He went four complete innings
and allowed just one hit before giving way to Andrew Webb in the fifth.
Then the tide turned.
With two on and one out, Kenny Wilson got things going for
Lansing with a two-run double off of Webb to tie the score. A pair of RBI
singles and a Spartan error put the Lugnuts in front, 5-2.
After the first inning, the Spartans were held hitless until
the top of the sixth when Torsten Boss led off with a single to center
field. Boss' hit ignited the Spartans as back-to-back RBI doubles by Bo
Felt and Jordan Keur got MSU to within one at 5-4.
Lansing's bullpen took over from there, with Ruben De La Rosa
and Juan Hernandez pitching scoreless ball through the eighth. Casey Beck
finished off the Spartans in the ninth, inducing a comebacker from Jared
Hook with the potential game-tying run at second base to earn the save.
Shawn Griffith picked up the win with 1 2/3 innings of relief;
Webb shouldered the loss for MSU.
The Lugnuts open up a three-game series at West Michigan at
6:35 p.m. on Tuesday night. Right-hander Chad Jenkins gets the start for
the Nuts against Whitecaps left-hander Giovanni Soto.