Feb. 16, 2014
NASHVILLE - The Michigan State baseball team wrapped up opening weekend by splitting a doubleheader with Wright State on Sunday in Nashville, Tenn. The Spartans dropped the first game, 7-1, but rebounded to win game two, 2-1, to take two of three games from the Raiders on the weekend.
Michigan State was originally slated to play four games this past weekend in Cary, N.C., but winter storms forced the tournament to be cancelled. MSU instead traveled to Nashville to play the Raiders in three games at Vanderbilt's Hawkins Field.
Justin Alleman tossed six-complete scoreless innings, scattering four hits for the Spartans in game two before giving way to the bullpen. After Cam Vieaux gave up one run in with one out in the eighth, Jake Lowery and Jeff Kinley combined to hold the Raiders without a hit the rest of the way. Lowery struck out both batters he faced in the eighth, stranding a pair of runners, while Kinley struck out two in the ninth to earn his second save of the weekend.
"The bullpen threw really well this weekend," said MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. "Defensively, we were pretty good as well. We only made two errors all weekend."
Joe Ford drove in the Raiders' lone run in the eighth with an RBI double.
In game one, Wright State used a four-run third inning to grab the lead. With the score 4-1 in the top of the eighth inning, the Raiders added three more runs to put the game away.
The Raiders got to Spartan starter Anthony Misiewicz in the third, taking advantage of consecutive walks to start the inning. An RBI double by Kieston Greene and an RBI single by Andrew McCafferty brought in the first two runs, while sacrifice bunts accounted for the other two runs in the frame.
Wright State starting pitcher Joey Hoelzel yielded just four hits over 7.2 innings. One of his only mistakes of the afternoon turned out to be a double by Salter that brought in Jimmy Pickens in what turned out to be the only Spartan run of the game.
Taylor Braun came into the game in relief for Hoelzel in the eighth and held the Spartans to one hit the rest of the way.
Wright State made it 7-1 with three runs off three hits and one MSU error in the top of the eighth inning.
The Spartans managed just 11 combined hits in the two games on Sunday, something Boss knows the team must improve in the coming weeks.
"No question we need to be better offensively," said Boss. "This weekend we got away a little bit from what we worked on in the fall and during the offseason. We'll get better."
Michigan State will head to Surprise, Ariz., next weekend take part in the Aramark Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge. The Spartans will face Utah, No. 3 Oregon State and Washington in the event which runs Friday-Sunday.