DeLand, Fla. – The Stetson baseball team fell to the Michigan State Spartans 6-4 in 10 innings Saturday night at Melching Field. It was the first time in the past seven years the Hatters had lost a season opening game.
Stetson started the scoring in the second inning on a line drive home run by sophomore Aaron Crittenden (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS). Crittenden was Stetson’s offensive star of the game going 2-for-3 on the night with a sacrifice fly and a pair of runs batted in.
The Spartans tied the game in the top of the 4th when Kyle Day (Fort Wayne, Ind.) reached on an error by left fielder Erich Holland and Justin Potes (Adrian, Mi.) singled up the middle. Stetson regained the lead in the bottom of the 5th when senior Justin Bass doubled to right center, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and then scored on Crittenden’s sacrifice fly.
MSU took the lead in the top of the 8th after another costly error in left field, a dropped ball by freshman Frank Florio (Long Valley, NJ/Immaculata HS). Another error, a wild pitch and an infield single later and Stetson was down 3-2. The Spartans added a run in the top of the 9th and held a 4-2 lead headed into Stetson’s last chance.
The Hatters made the most of their opportunity when freshman Robert Crews (Port Charlotte, Fla./Charlotte HS) led off with a single and junior Jeremy Cruz (Miami, Fla/Columbus HS) followed with a blast over the left field fence. Bass then singled to right and made his way to third base after stealing second base and advancing on a wild pitch. The Spartans intentionally walked the bases loaded, then were able to get out of the inning tied up at four apiece.
The home fans ended the late night disappointed when Michigan State put up a pair of runs in the top of the 10th after an error by pitcher Ian Thompson and a home run by Dennis Jones.
The Hatters will hope for better results tomorrow when they host the University of Connecticut in day two of the Bright House Invitational. Stetson and UConn will play at 7:00 p.m. in a game that will be preceeded by Missouri at Michigan State at 1:00 p.m. on Melching Field.
Missouri won the early game on day one of the tournament, 7-1 over Connecticut.