Feb. 20, 1998
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Lamar's B.J. Littleton doubled home the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth to give the Cardinals a 6-5 victory over Michigan State in the Spartans' season opener in Beaumont, Tex.
The Spartans (0-1) staked starting pitcher Mark Mulder to a 5-3 lead in the fifth, only to have the bullpen allow a pair of runs in the sixth to tie the score. Littleton's double in the eighth scored Lamar (5-2) CF Corey Cephus to give the Cardinals the game-deciding run.
MSU's Chris Yens (0-1), who came on in the seventh inning, yielded the final run (unearned) in the eighth to take the loss. Lamar's Brian Filson finished the game by closing the door on the Spartans, pitching four scoreless innings to gain the victory (1-0).
The loss tarnished the 1998 debut of Spartan lefty Mulder, who despite giving up three runs over five innings of work, finished with nine strikeouts, while allowing only two hits. The Spartans outhit the Cardinals 12-6, but still came away with the loss, as they yielded eight base on balls.
The Spartans opened the scoring in the third inning, as MSU 2B Ted Demetral knocked in Ryan Leson, who went three-for-four, to put them up 1-0. But Lamar responded in bottom of the frame, as the Cardinals pushed across three, including two on a single by 1B George Johnson.
Michigan State scored four runs in the fifth, highlighted by a two-run single by Mike Wagner, who was making his MSU debut. He was followed by a Tom Grigg sacrifice fly and a RBI single by Mike Pisani.
Despite the loss, a few Spartans shined on offense, including catcher Carlos Fernandez, who finished the day three-for-four with a run scored, as well as recording 11 putouts, all on MSU strikeouts. Wagner, a JC centerfielder, went two-for-five in his Spartan debut, contributing two RBI, a run scored, a double and a stolen base. Pisani also came up big at the plate as well, as he finished two-for-five.
MSU gets a chance for redemption on Saturday, as the two tango in a doubleheader at 2 p.m. EST. Brian Murphy and Gary Zsigo will start for the Spartans in game one and two, respectively. Kimya Massey is slated to hurl in the final game of the four-game set on Sunday.