Feb. 24, 2012
GREENVILLE, S.C. - Fueled by a three-run first inning, the Michigan State baseball team held off Furman, 4-2, Friday night in the second game of the First Pitch Invitational at Fluor Field. The Spartans (3-2) defeated Miami-Ohio earlier in the day, 13-4.
Ryan Jones, who went 2-for-4 in the game and 5-for-9 on the day, led off the game with a solo homer, quickly giving MSU a 1-0 lead. The Spartans weren't done, however, as Justin Scanlon followed with a single and Torsten Boss hit a double to place runners on second and third with no outs. A sacrifice fly from Jordan Keur brought home Scanlon, while a Jared Hook groundout plated Boss.
"We came out early and had some momentum, but give their pitcher (Bobby Lyne) credit, he threw well," said MSU head coach Jake Boss. "We just had some good hits; Ryan came through with an opposite field homer, and we also had some productive outs. Fortunately we got to him early, because he really settled in."
Furman (2-4) responded with one run in the bottom of the first on a Will Miller solo homer. But after giving up the home run, Spartan starter Andrew Waszak (1-0) shut down the Paladins for the next four innings.
The Paladins got to Waszak again with an RBI groundout in the sixth, trimming the Michigan State lead to 3-2.
Junior southpaw Trey Popp relieved Waszak in the seventh. Waszak went six innings and struck out four while only giving up three hits and two runs.
Although Popp allowed a one-out double to Heath Burton, Spartan catcher John Martinez threw out Burton at third base on a stolen base attempt, erasing the Paladin threat.
"That was a big play by John," said Boss. "He did a great job of executing the throw, and Andrew (Carpenter) made a nice play on the tag. That was a huge moment in the game."
The Spartans added an insurance run in the top of the ninth. With runners on first and third and no one out, Jones grounded into a double play, but it did drive home Ryan Krill to make it 4-2 in favor of MSU.
Junior closer Tony Wieber retired the Paladins in order in the eighth, but ran into some trouble in the ninth. Following a flyout to open inning, Furman rattled off back-to-back singles to put the tying runners on base. Wieber came back to record a strikeout, and a fielder's choice grounder to third base ended the Paladin threat.
For his two scoreless innings of relief, Wieber earned his second save of the season and the 11th of his career.
"Andrew definitely deserved the win," said Boss. "And Tony Wieber once again was really good in the late innings for us."
Defensively, Carpenter turned in an all-around impressive game at third base, recording nine assists.
"Andrew simply made every play tonight," said Boss. "He made exciting plays, tough plays, and the routine play. He has a strong arm and made some great throws. It was fitting that he recorded the last out of the game to give us the win."
Michigan State returns to action for its third game of the First Pitch Invitational Saturday against Furman at 4 p.m.