EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Spartan baseball squad hit on all cylinders in its home opener on Wednesday, rolling to a 12-0 victory over Wayne State at Kobs Field. Five Michigan State (9-8) pitchers combined on a two-hit shutout, as Spartan hurlers retired the final 17 Tartar batters, as they faced the minimum of three batters in each of the last eight innings. The staff combined to fan 10 while not allowing a single base runner past first.
Freshman John Steiger (1-0) kept his ERA at 0.00 with three more scoreless innings to start the game, allowing just a pair of singles, as he picked up his first collegiate victory. Sophomore southpaw Kimya Massey picked up where Steiger left off, as he turned in three more shutout innings, holding the Tartars without a hit while fanning four. Josh Axelson, Jerry Nozewski and Scott Brandell each pitched 1-2-3 innings to seal the shutout in the final three frames.
While the pitching staff was blanking the Wayne State offense, the Spartans flashed their power, banging out a season-high sixteen hits, including five for extra-bases. Every Spartan starter reached base at least once, with six MSU batters recording at least two hits. Sophomore second sacker Ted Demetral led the hit parade by going three-for-four with a single, double and triple. The contest also featured a pair of Green and White blasts, as Mike Wagner and Joe Albaugh each circled the bases. Wagner hit his team-leading third dinger of the season by pulling Tartar reliever Todd Tobinis first pitch of the fourth inning over the left field wall. It marked the second home run in two days for Wagner on first-pitch offspeed offerings, as he delivered a three-run four-bagger in the ninth inning of Tuesdayis game vs. Western Michigan, sending MSU to a dramatic 5-4 victory. Sophomore Joe Albaugh connected on his first collegiate round-tripper in the sixth, as he sent a towering shot towards right-center, clearing the old manual scoreboard that sits more than 400 feet from home plate.
The Spartans also took control with the gloves, as they played errorless ball, including three double plays. That raises the Spartansi team fielding percentage to .978, the highest of any team in Michigan State history, bettering the 1989 mark of .975 (which led the nation that season). The keystone combination of Tom Grigg and Demetral spear-headed the effort, picking up all 14 chances which came their direction.
With today's victory, the Spartans nudge ahead of the .500 mark for the first time this season. It also marks the 49th career victory of Ted Mahan, who will be seeking his 50th this weekend in Iowa City, Iowa, as the Spartans open the Big Ten portion of their schedule with a four-game set vs. the Hawkeyes.
The Spartans jumped out to a 1-0 lead in their first at bat. Right fielder Carlos Fernandez, in his first game at the leadoff spot this season, led off with a base hit up the middle. After a Grigg sacrifice bunt and a Wagner groundout moved him to third, first baseman Mark Mulder lined one through the box for a base hit, scoring Fernandez. MSU busted it open in the next frame, plating three runners. Following a one-out walk to Joe Kalczynski, Demetral pulled a hit-and-run double down the third base line to put two runners in scoring position. Fernandez followed with a fly ball to right which glanced off Tartar right fielder Joe Delanois glove for a two-base error, as both runners scored. After Fernandez moved to third on a wild pitch, he scored on a Wagner fielderis choice to third.
Wagner pushed the Spartan advantage to 5-0 with his fourth-inning leadoff dinger. MSU kept up the offensive attack in the fourth frame. Following Wagneris blast, Mulder reached on a walk. After the next two Spartans were retired, Albaugh got aboard on a single. Kalczynski followed with a bloop single down the right-field line to score Mulder. With two runners aboard, Demetral laced the squadis first triple of the season to right-center, scoring two more.
Albaugh contributed two more tallies with his two-run blast in the sixth. The Spartans capped the scoring with a two spot in the seventh, as Grigg reached on a one-out error. Wagner followed with a triple to the base of the wall in right-center, plating Grigg. With three RBI in each of the last two games, Wagner has moved into the team lead in RBI with 13. Ryan Leson followed with a single to plate Wagner with MSUis 12th run of the afternoon. After Leson singled, freshman Scott Colvin moved him to second with a base hit to left, his first collegiate hit.
Wayne State 000 000 000 - 0 2 3 Michigan State 130 402 20x n 12 16 0
WSU: J.LAWSON, Tobin (3), Muska (6), Rossow (8) and Miele MSU: STEIGER, Massey (4), Axelson (7), Nozewski (8), Brandell (9) and Kalczynski, Fernandez (7)
HR: Wagner, MSU (3) HR: Albaugh, MSU (1)