Toledo Suffers Setback at Big Ten Member Michigan State, 7-2
EAST LANSING, MI - Toledo allowed seven consecutive runs and dropped a 7-2 decision against Michigan State on Wednesday at McLane Baseball Stadium at Kobs Field. With the loss, the Rockets fall to 24-24 on the season.
Junior RHP Jared Locke (3-6) was saddled with the setback, allowing four runs (all earned) on seven hits with four strikeouts in 4.2 innings.
Offensively, senior 1B Mark Lapikas (2-for-5, RS, RBI), junior RF Andy Mix (2-for-2, RS) and freshman SS Nate Langhals (2-for-4, RBI) led the Midnight Blue & Gold attack with multi-hit efforts against a pair of MSU (31-16) hurlers. The Rockets finished the game with 10 hits, but they were guilty of leaving 13 runners on base.
UT jumped on the scoreboard first on a leadoff home run off the bat of Lapikas in the second frame. The fourth-year Rocket crushed a 2-0 pitch over the wall in right field for his team-high sixth roundtripper of the spring. Lapikas has now hit safely in a season-high six straight games, batting .360 (9-for-25) during this stretch.
Unfortunately for the Midnight Blue & Gold, their lead quickly evaporated as the host Spartans scored seven unanswered runs over the ensuing five frames to claim the non-league triumph.
MSU knotted the score at 1-1 in the third inning on a bases loaded walk. The home team took advantage of two free passes & a hit by pitch to draw teams even.
Michigan State then captured the lead for good in the fourth frame on a RBI single off bat of Joel Fisher to make the score 2-1.
The Spartans added to their advantage with a pair of tallies in the fifth inning to build a three-run cushion, ending the afternoon for UT's Locke. Jimmy Pickens was credited with one of the RBI, while other run scored as a result of a double play.
MSU continued to put up good at-bats in the sixth frame, benefitting from a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jared Hook to increase its margin to 5-1.
The host Spartans then finished off their scoring with a two-run, two-base hit by Fisher in the seventh frame.
Toledo was able to push across its second run of the contest on a RBI single by Langhals in the eighth frame, but the Mid-American Conference West Division leaders were unable to generate any additional offense.
MSU's Mick VanVossen (3-0) was credited with the victory, surrendering two runs on nine hits with four punchouts in 7.2 innings.
Fisher (3-for-4, RS, 3 RBI) paced the victors with a game-high three hits, while Ryan Jones (2-for-5) and Pickens (2-for-4, RS, RBI) had two hits each.
Toledo will remain on the road and play at arch-rival Bowling Green in a three-game series this weekend. The cross-division rivals will play single contests on Friday-Sunday, May 11-13. Action will begin at Warren E. Steller Field at 3:00 p.m. the first day and 1:00 p.m. the other two days.
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