EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State opened up the 2014 season with a 4-1 win over Wright State on Saturday afternoon in Nashville, Tenn. After giving the Raiders an early advantage, MSU exploded for a four-run fifth inning to gain a lead it wouldn't give back to take home a win in season opener.
"I thought pitching and defense was very, very good today," said MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. "Offensively, weren't quite as good. We had ourselves in position a couple times to do some things, but credit Wright State for making some pitches."
Trailing 1-0 in the fifth, Anthony Checky and Joel Fisher drew back-to-back walks to start the inning, bringing up sophomore Justin Hovis with two on and nobody out. Hovis got the scoring started for the Spartans when he sent the second pitch of the at-bat back up the middle for a single into center that allowed Checky to score. After a sac bunt by PJ Nowak moved two runners into scoring position, Wright State pitcher Travis Hissong hit the next three Spartan batters, extending the MSU lead to 3-1. Michigan State tacked on one more on a Blaise Salter sac fly in which Ryan Richardson was thrown out at third to end the inning.
MSU starting pitcher Mick VanVossen picked up the win for the Spartans, throwing five innings and giving up just one run on five hits. The Raiders got their only run of the game with one on and two out in the second inning when Sean Murphy doubled to left center scoring John Brodner.
"Mick got out of a couple jams and we got a couple of very nice defensive plays," said Boss. "Mick made pitches when he needed and that was good to see."
Cam Vieaux came in relief for Vossen following the long bottom of the fifth and pitched two scoreless innings. Jake Lowery pitched a perfect eighth inning before Jeff Kinley earned the save in the ninth.
The MSU bullpen gave Wright State little room for hope, giving up three hits and one walk in four innings of relief and allowing just one base runner to reach scoring position.
"The bullpen was outstanding today," Boss said. "The freshmen were very good and it's nice to have Jeff Kinley back."
Fisher and Hovis each had multi-hit games.
Michigan State returns to action tomorrow with a doubleheader against Wright State. The first game will take place at 12 p.m. with game two taking place 30 minutes following the conclusion of game one.