RALEIGH, N.C. -- A six-run first inning and an outstanding mound performance by Gary Zsigo in the second game of a doubleheader allowed Michigan State to split a pair of blowouts against Ohio on Saturday.
Ohio (7-2) used a seven-run sixth inning to bust game one open, posting a 14-2 victory. But the Spartans (6-8) came back strong in the top of the first in the second game, plating six runners, sending 11 batters to dish. Those six runs were all Zsigo (3-1) would need, as MSU won 11-4.
The victory marked the 1,750 win in the 113-year history of the Spartan baseball program, dating back to 1884 (there was no team in 1944 due to WWII). In that span, MSU is 1750-1362-28.
Zsigo fanned twelve during his seven-inning complete game victory. The sophomore southpaw changed speeds effectively, as he struck out at least one Bobcat in every inning. After surrendering two first-inning runs, Zsigo grew stronger as the game wore on, as he retired the last eight batters he faced, including striking out the side in the sixth. In two starts this season following a loss in game one of a double header, the Lennon, Mich., native has been tremendous, going 2-0 while fanning 21 in 13 innings on the hill, posting a 2.77 ERA.
The Spartan offense also came to life in game two, notching 12 hits, including three by right fielder Carlos Fernandez. Five Spartans posted at least two hits, and all ten Spartan hitters recorded either a run scored or RBI.
With one down to open the first, shortstop Tom Grigg singled. Ohio starter Chuck Lombardy (1-1) proceeded to walk the next two batters, Mark Mulder and Joe Kalczynski, to load the bases. Third baseman Mike Pisani followed with a base hit to right, scoring Grigg to open the scoring for the Spartans. He was followed by Joe Albaugh's sacrifice fly to left, scoring Mulder and putting MSU up 2-0. Following a walk to Ryan Leson to load the bases, Fernandez delivered a line drive single to right, plating both Kalczynski and Pisani. He was followed by second baseman Ted Demetral, who grounded one to short. Bobcat shortstop Brian Wingfield could not come up with it, marking the first of his three errors in the contest, as Leson came home to put MSU up 5-0. Leadoff man Mike Wagner came up for the second time in the frame, this time singling to center to score Fernandez and give the Spartans a 6-0 advantage after one time at bat.
Zsigo had his difficulties early on in the ball game, as he surrendered three walks and a base hit in the bottom of the first, as the Bobcats pushed across two runs. But the lefty began to turn it around in the second, with help from Demetral, who made a tremendous diving stop on the leadoff man, throwing him out by half-a-step from shallow right field. But the next two Ohio hitters got aboard with one out. But Zsigo beared down to fan the next two Bobcats, using his fastball to get the third strike, to retire the side and escape unscathed.
MSU picked up a one-out run in the third. Fernandez stroked another single to right, and advanced two bases on Lombardy wild pitch. Demetral followed with a sacrifice fly to center to give the Spartans a 7-2 edge.
After Ohio racked up single runs in the third and fifth to close the gap to 7-4, Michigan State responded with a pair of runs in the sixth and seventh frames. With Ohio's Adam Svala on to pitch for Lombardy, MSU quickly loaded the bases with the first three hitters on a walk to Mulder and singles by Kalczynski and Pisani. Ohio manager Joe Carbone proceeded to replace Svala with lefty Dan Miller to face MSU southpaw-hitting left fielder Joe Albaugh, who popped out to third for the first out of the inning. But MSU manager Ted Mahan called on right-handed pinch-hitter Scott Colvin to bat for the lefty stick of Ryan Leson. Colvin responded with a sharp ground ball past Wingfield, scoring both Mulder and Kalczynski to blow the game open at 9-4.
The Green and White also notched a pair of tallies in the seventh, as Wagner, who reached on a fielders' choice, scored on a double by Grigg, who reached the base of the wall in left-center field. Grigg advanced to third on a passed ball, and came home on a wild pitch by Bobcat righty Casey McKinney.
The win stopped a four-game Spartan losing streak that was extended in the first game of the twin bill, as Ohio streaked to a 14-2 victory.
Ryan Hulse (3-0) went the distance for the Bobcats, as he limited the Spartan offense to five hits and two walks. Ohio's offense hit on all cylinders, compiling 16 hits, including a pair of home runs by Jeff Rook and Chuck Lombardy.
Brian Murphy (1-2), coming off a strong 10-K, no-walk performance against Columbia on Mar. 7, struggled against the Bobcats, allowing 12 hits in 3.2 innings. However, with three strikeouts, the senior right-hander moved into seventh place on MSU's all-time strikeout list with 157. He also moved into third on Michigan State's all-time innings pitched list with 244. With just 27.1 innings more, Murphy will move into the top slot on that list.
Despite the score, a couple of MSU highlights were to be found. Wagner recorded his second outfield assist in two days, as this time the combination of center fielder Wagner, cut-off man Demetral and the backstop Kalczynski proceeded to cut short a Bobcat rally by gunning down the third out at the plate.
MSU got on the board in the fourth, as Grigg and Mulder smashed a pair of back-to-back doubles off the left-field wall. The Spartans notched their other tally in the seventh, with designated hitter Zsigo doubling. Pinch-runner Steve Crepeau moved to third on a bounce-out and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Fernandez.
The finale of MSU's spring trip will be on Sunday, as the Spartans look to salvage a split from Ohio with a single game slated for noon. Sophomore Kimya Massey (0-1) will take the mound for the Spartans.
GAME ONE ____________________________________________ Michigan State 000 100 1 - 2 5 2 Ohio 030 407 x - 14 16 1MSU: MURPHY, Nozewski (4) and Kalczynski Ohio: HULSE and Johnson
GAME TWO ____________________________________________ Michigan State 601 002 2 - 11 12 0 Ohio 201 010 0 - 4 8 3MSU: ZSIGO and Kalczynski Ohio: LOMBARDY, Svala (6), Miller (6), McKinney (7) and Heffernan
NOTES: MSU is now 4-4 on its spring trip...Following MSU's game with Ohio, the Spartans' next action will be a four-game home set with Illinois to open conference play on March 20-22...Joe Albaugh extended his hitting streak to seven games in game one of the twin bill, only to see it come to an end in the night cap, as he was one of just two Spartans not to record a base hit. Albaugh still ranks as MSU's leading hitter on the trip, going 10-24 (.417)... Grigg recorded doubles in both games of the doubleheader. The senior shortstop is second on the squad with ten RBIs while hitting in the No. 2 spot in the batting order. He's reached that mark by going successfully driving home runners from third base with less than two outs: he's five-for-five in that situation this season..Five Spartans had at least two hits in the seven-inning night cap of the doubleheader: Carlos Fernandez (three hits), Tom Grigg (two), Joe Kalczynski (two), Mike Pisani (two) and Ted Demetral (two)...All ten Spartan hitters recorded at least one RBI or run scored...Joe Kalczynski recorded 13 putouts behind the plate, as a Spartan has notched a double-digit putout total in five of MSU's eight games on the spring trip...Remarkably, MSU pitchers are averaging more than one whiff per inning, as they have fanned 122 in just 112.1 innings. They also have nearly a 3:1 K-BB ratio, as they have allowed just 41 free passes. Opponents, on the other hand, have issued 52 walks to the Spartans while fanning 89 over 117 innings...Three Spartan starters are averaging more than ten whiffs per nine innings: John Steiger (14.4), Mark Mulder (12.3) and Gary Zsigo (11.9)...MSU's top three starters, Mark Mulder, Brian Murphy and Gary Zsigo, have combined to fan 90 in 73 innings...Spartan lefty hurlers are 5-3, with their right-handed counterparts just 1-5...MSU has left on 115 runners in their first 13 games (nine per game)...Steve Crepeau has scored two runs this season as a pinch-runner, and has not even recorded a single at bat this season (he walked in his lone plate appearance)...MSU has just ten errors this season, compared to 23 by its opponents...The team's leading hitter, right-handed catcher/outfielder Carlos Fernandez, is hitting .455 (10-22) against right-handed hurlers...With the bases loaded, MSU pitchers have beared down to limit opponents to just a .182 average (2-11). Spartan hitters are 7-24 (.292) in that situation...Mike Wagner has been a tough third out - he's hitting .417 (5-12) with two men retired...MSU is 0-3 versus left-handed starters...Left-handed hitters are hitting just .176 against southpaw Gary Zsigo...Mark Mulder recorded three walks in MSU's 11-4 win, the most by a Spartan in a game this season...Mark Mulder has slammed the door with two men out, as opponents are just 4-27 (.148) with two down...MSU is 5-3 with Ryan Leson at first base...The Spartans are 3-0 when Mike Pisani hits fifth in the order...With Joe Kalczynksi hitting cleanup, MSU is 4-3.