May 12, 1998
Season in Review Highlights of 1998
March 7: MSU 6, @Campbell 2: Michigan State junior Mark Mulder turned in a dominating performance for those in attendance, fanning 16 Camel hitters without issuing a walk. The southpaw struck out the side in the first, then recorded a whiff in each of the last eight innings, allowing just two unearned runs. A career-high in strikeouts, Mulder would fan ten or more three times throughout the course of the year. With the contest deadlocked at two into the ninth, junior Mike Wagner delivered a clutch bases-loaded double to send the Spartans to victory.
March 24: MSU 5, @Western Michigan 4: The outlook looked pretty grim as the Spartans were down to their final out in Kalamazoo, trailing the Broncos, 4-0. But Michigan State staged one of the most incredible rallies in Spartan history. With a runner on second and two down, freshman pinch-hitter Eric Doyle grounded a ball down to first for what appeared to be the game-ender. But the ball skipped under his glove and into right field, allowing a run to score. Following a walk to freshman Scott Colvin and an errant pickoff throw that moved Doyle to third, sophomore Ted Demetral lined a single into left-center to score Doyle, putting two runners aboard for Mike Wagner. The junior brought the Spartan faithful to their feet by blasting the first pitch he saw, a belt-high changeup, over the left-field wall, capping an incredible rally and sending MSU to a thrilling 5-4 victory.
April 10: @MSU 8, Indiana 4: Senior right-hander Brian Murphy snapped Michigan Stateis career innings pitched record in the ninth inning of a complete-game victory. The durable hurler set the bar extremely high for future pitchers, as Murphy finishes his career with 300.1 innings. He overcame the old mark of 267.1, set by Stuart Hirschman from 1990-93. Murphy was a consistent and dependable mound prescense in his four seasons with MSU, as he also finishes his career in second place on the career strikeout chart with 194.
April 11 (DH): @MSU 0-2, Indiana 2-0: Mark Mulder fanned 14 in a seven-inning complete-game in the opener of a doubleheader against the Hoosiers, walking one while shutting down the IU offense after two first-inning runs. But those two would be all Indianais Chad Smith would need on the mound, as he shutout the Spartans, 2-0. But in the nightcap, Michigan State responded with a 2-0 victory of its own. Sophomore Gary Zsigo delivered 6.1 scoreless innings and accounted for all the scoring in the affair with a clutch two-out, two-run double in the fourth.
April 18: MSU 11, @Michigan 10: Junior Tom Hartley waited for the perfect time to hit his first home run of the season. Trailing 10-9 in a wild affair in Ann Arbor, MSU was down to its final out with the tying run on first. Hartley proceeded to crush a Wolverine offering just over the wall in right field, giving MSU an 11-10 advantage. The Spartansi Josh Axelson recorded the final out in the bottom half of the frame, coming in with two outs and the tying run on third, getting UMis Bobby Scales to fly to Hartley in left to seal the exciting win.
The game featured a wild, back-and-forth slugfest between the two intra-state rivals, as MSU jumped out to 7-1 lead in the third. But the Wolverines stormed back, eventually taking the lead in the bottom of the eighth, 10-9. But Hartleyis HR sent MSU to its third win of the series, including both games in Ann Arbor, the first Spartan series win over Michigan since 1992. Hartleyis four-bagger capped off a tremendous week for the outfielder, as he went 8-16 in the series, notching seven RBI. For his efforts, Hartley was named Big Ten Player of the Week.
April 23: MSU 7, @CMU 5: The comeback kids were at it again, this time in Mt. Pleasant. With the Chippewas leading 5-4 in MSUis final at-bat, leadoff-man Carlos Fernandez came to the plate. With just one career home run to that point, he was an unlikely candidate to go deep. But thatis just what he did, as the junior launched a game-tying solo blast to right-center. The next batter, Tom Grigg, the senior leader at shortstop who had just one home run in his past two seasons, went yard as well, delivering the go-ahead run on a solo shot just inside the foul pole in left to put MSU up 6-5. The Spartans added an insurance run later in that inning to seal the affair, 7-5.
April 28: MSU 4, @Notre Dame 1: The Fighting Irish checked into the contest as one of the hottest teams in the country, winning 25 of their last 27 outings. But led by Mark Mulder, the pitching staff quieted the Notre Dame offense. Mulder tossed four innings of dominating, hitless ball, as the Spartan bullpen allowed just one unearned run all evening. Tom Grigg and Mike Wagner each notched three hits off Irish pitchers, as the Spartans put a two-spot on the board in the first and the fifth to provide the scoring.
May 9: MSU 4, @OSU 3 (10 inn.): After not playing a single extra-inning affair all season, the Spartans sent the game to extra frames with a three-run outburst in the final two innings. Trailing 3-0 in the eighth, Mike Wagner put the Spartans on the board with a two-run blast. Sophomore Joe Albaugh then delivered the game-tying run in the ninth, sending his third home run of the season out of Bill Davis Stadium. In front of a stadium-record crowd of 3,866, sophomore Joe Kalczynski sent home the game-winner in the tenth on an RBI-single to score Wagner from second. Closer Chris Yens came on to slam the door in the tenth for his seventh save of the season.
May 10: @OSU 3, MSU 0: In game one of a doubleheader, Michigan State southpaw Mark Mulder broke the single-season strikeout record, as he finished the year with 113. He surpassed Mel Behneyis mark of 107, set in 1968. Mulder finished with eight strikeouts without a walk. But Ohio Stateis Eric Thompson stole the show, tossing a no-hitter against the Spartans.