March 30, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS - The Michigan State baseball team shut out Minnesota twice on Sunday, taking both games of a doubleheader, 15-0 and 5-0, at Siebert Field in Minneapolis, Minn. With the two wins, MSU took two of three games from the Golden Gophers on the weekend, improving to 12-11 overall and 3-3 in the Big Ten.
"Anytime you can throw consecutive zeroes on the scoreboard it's huge," said MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. "Our pitching was obviously very good and offensively we took advantage of our opportunities all day.
"We have a good offensive group and hopefully we can build off what we were able to do today."
Michigan State exploded for 15 runs in game one, while starting pitcher Justin Alleman held the Golden Gophers to just five hits over eight-complete innings to improve to 3-1 on the year. Cam Gibson (3-for-4), Blaise Salter (3-for-5), Jimmy Pickens (2-for-4) and Johnny Nate (2-for-3) all finished with multiple hits in game one.
"Alleman was in control the whole way. Sometimes it can be tough to pitch with a big lead, but he did a good job," Boss said. "Our guys did a nice job of executing the game plan and creating some separation."
In game two, which was an eight-inning contest, Cam Vieaux got his first win in a start by giving up just three hits over six-complete innings. Vieaux struck out five to improve to 2-2 on the year. Offensively, Salter led the way with three RBIs.
"Cam was really, really good - he was able to go deep into the game and threw more pitches," Boss said. "It was his second good start in a row."
Leading 1-0 in the top of the fourth inning of game one, the Spartans pushed across five runs to take a 6-0 advantage. Gibson started things with a sacrifice fly and Anthony Cheky followed with an infield RBI single. Salter drove in a pair with a double and then a Gopher error led to the fifth run.
Consecutive bases-loaded walks to Durkin and Gibson, respectively, bumped the MSU lead to 8-0 in the sixth.
MSU put the game out of reach in the seventh with six more runs. Ryan Richardson and Nate both had RBI singles, while Durkin had the big hit with a bases-clearing, three-RBI double. Salter had his second double of the game later in the inning to make it 14-0.
Nate capped the scoring with an RBI triple in the eighth.
Alleman navigated around a double and a walk in the third and gave up just four hits the rest of the way.
Minnesota starting pitcher Jordan Jess was knocked from game one in the Spartans' five-run fifth inning.
In game two, MSU picked up where it left off in the opener, scoring a run in the first to take the lead. Pickens hit a two-out RBI double to give MSU what proved to be the winning run.
In the third inning, Salter, who went 2-for-3 in game two, belted a two-run homer to extend the MSU lead to 3-0.
Joel Fisher hit a solo homer the following inning making it 4-0.
Salter made it three straight scoring innings for MSU in the fifth with a sacrifice fly.
Vieaux faced the minimum in the second, fourth and fifth innings. Jeff Lowery took over in the seventh, while Jeff Kinley finished things off by getting the final two outs.
Minnesota's Ben Meyer went five and two-thirds innings and is now 2-2 on the season.
Michigan State will have three midweek games coming up, beginning on Tuesday when it travels to Eastern Michigan. The Spartans will open their home schedule on Wednesday vs. Oakland at 3:05 p.m. and then take on the Lansing Lugnuts in the Crosstown Showdown on Thursday.