March 27, 2010
EAST LANSING, Mich. - With two wins on Saturday, the Michigan State baseball team improved its winning streak to nine games and is now 15-4 on the season. The Spartans defeated Oakland, 4-2 and 11-2, in Saturday's doubleheader and will go for the series sweep on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. at McLane Baseball Stadium at Kobs Field.
In both games on Saturday, the Spartans were able to grab early leads as they have now scored runs in the first inning of each of their last four games.
"Scoring early really sets the tone," said MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. "It takes a little bit of the pressure off our starting pitcher and offense, but it also puts more pressure on the opposition, which is what we're trying to do."
For the second day in a row, Eli Boike led off the game with a triple for the Green and White. Brandon Eckerle then scored him with an RBI single. MSU added two more runs in the first inning as Jeff Holm scored on a wild pitch and Bo Felt brought in Eckerle with another run-scoring base hit for a quick 3-0 lead.
Eckerle picked up his second RBI of the day in the bottom of the fifth inning, again bringing in Boike with a single to make it 4-0 MSU.
MSU starting pitcher Kurt Wunderlich allowed five hits through six innings before getting into trouble in the seventh. After three of the first four Oakland hitters reached base to start the inning, Tim Ryan drove in Oakland's first run of the series with a sacrifice fly to make the score 4-1.
OU's Aaron Cieslak followed with a one-out solo home run in the top of the eighth inning, but Wunderlich then got the next two hitters out to keep it a two-run game at 4-2.
Kurtis Frymier came on in relief of Wunderlich in the top of the ninth and picked up his fourth save of the year to seal the win for MSU in game one.
Wunderlich picked up his team-leading fourth win of the year while Aaron Wick (0-1) suffered the loss in game one for OU.
Keeping with the theme of the series in game two, the Spartans scored twice in the first inning to again take an early lead, 2-0. Boike, Eckerle, and Jonathan Roof all reached on consecutive base hits to start the game and then sacrifice flies from Holm and Chris Roberts brought in two runs.
The Spartans loaded the bases in the second inning and pushed across two more runs to make it 4-0. Then, with two outs in the fourth, Roof reached on an error and Holm made the Grizzles pay with a triple do deep right center field that scored Roof and make it 5-0.
After Oakland got on the board with a solo run in the top of the fifth, Spartan catcher Seth Williams got his first hit of the year with a blistering RBI-triple to right center field. Williams later scored when Eckerle drove him in with a single, making the score 7-1.
Oakland got another solo run in the top of the sixth, but again the Spartan offense responded in a big way - scoring four more times to take a commanding 11-2 lead.
"After the first game, we talked about sticking with our approach at the plate and we did a much better job of that in game two," Holm said.
Game two starting pitcher Tony Bucciferro went six complete innings for MSU, allowing two runs off six hits. The righty struck out four and did not issue a walk in improving to 3-2 on the year.
Joe Zwierzynski was impressive in relief for MSU, striking out five in three complete innings to earn is first -career save.
OU (3-12) starter Mark Leichtman took the loss in game one, giving up six runs off eight hits in 4.1 innings.