April 5, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. - With the game tied at five and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, senior Johnny Lee delivered a clutch single and drove in the winning run to give the Michigan State baseball team a 6-5 win over Northwestern on Sunday (April 5), completing a three-game sweep of the Wildcats.
"Sweeps are hard to come by - we have a lot of quality teams in this league," said MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. "It is extremely difficult and rare. You have to play very well to do it and I thought we did that this weekend. It is good to get us back into the thick of things in the Big Ten."
MSU tied the game in the seventh and had the opportunity to take the lead in the eighth by putting two runners in scoring position but the Spartans were unable to deliver the needed hit to break the tie.
Eli Boike led off the ninth with a walk and then moved over to second courtesy of a sacrifice bunt by Chris Roberts. With two outs and Boike on second, Lee drove a Zach Morton offering into left field, scoring Boike and giving MSU the win, 6-5.
Roberts got MSU on the board in the first with an RBI single that scored Brandon Eckerle, who led off the inning with a single.
Northwestern used the long ball to get back into the game as Tony Vercelli hit a two-run shot in the fourth and then Quentin Willims homered in the fifth. The Wildcats put up one more run in the fifth to take a 4-1 lead.
After giving up one run in the first, Wildcat starting pitcher David Jensen retired 10 of the next 11 Spartans before Lee led off the bottom of the fifth with a single to start a MSU rally. Two consecutive well-placed bunt singles by Jeff Holm and Eckerle loaded the bases and Shindler's sacrifice fly brought the Spartans within two runs, making the score 4-2. Boike then singled in Holm to make the score 4-3 heading to the sixth.
After NU added a solo run in the sixth to regain a two run lead at 5-3, MSU again rallied in the seventh to knot the game at five. Shindler singled and picked up his second RBI of the day to pull MSU within one and then an Eric Roof base hit with two outs tie the game.
Kurt Wunderlich (3-4) picked up the win in relief for MSU as he pitched the final four innings and gave up just one hit while striking out five.
"It has been a special weekend all the way around," said Boss. "From the no hitter in the first game of the new stadium, by a kid from East Lansing, and then to win the next two in comeback fashion is great for all of us. There are a lot special things going on here around campus and we're excited and proud to be a part of it."
The Spartans (11-17, 3-3) return to action on Wednesday (April 8) in Kalamazoo for a 3 p.m. game with Western Michigan.