April 5, 2014
EAST LANSING - Starting pitchers Mick VanVossen and Justin Alleman led the Michigan State baseball team to a pair of victories over Siena on Saturday afternoon McLane Baseball Stadium. VanVossen had a 10 strikeout, complete-game effort to help MSU win the opener, 4-0, while Alleman went 7 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts in a 6-1 game-two victory.
VanVossen, Alleman and reliever Jake Lowery combined to hold Siena (5-22) to six total hits in the doubleheader sweep. The two victories extended MSU's winning streak to six games as the Spartans are now 16-11 on the season.
"We really threw well all day," said MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. "Mick faced just two over the minimum in game one and really cruised the entire way. Justin was very good in game two.
"When those guys get ahead early in the count and are throwing strikes, it's tough for opposing hitters."
VanVossen was dominant from the start in game one, retiring the first 15 Siena hitters. He gave up base hits in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, and then struck out four of the last six hitters to end the game. In total, the junior allowed just three hits and didn't issue a walk in improving to 5-1.
"I was just trying to keep the game simple and get one out at a time," said VanVossen.
The Spartans took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning of game one when Blaise Salter scored from third during a rundown. With two outs, Jimmy Pickens took off from first base and got caught in a rundown, but Salter easily came home from third before Pickens was tagged.
With VanVossen cruising, MSU maintained its 1-0 lead until the bottom of the sixth when it tacked on three more. Siena starting pitcher Matt Gage issued consecutive walks to start the sixth to Anthony Cheky and Ryan Richardson, respectively. After the two runners perfectly executed a double steal to get into scoring position, Salter capitalized by plating them both with a single up the middle for a 3-0 Spartan lead.
Salter touched home plate later in the frame when Cam Gibson grounded into a double play, scoring what proved to be the fourth and final run of game one.
Gage yielded four runs (three earned) off four hits and walked five in 5 2/3 innings to take the loss.
Michigan State scored early in game two, taking a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Two hit batters and an error loaded the bases for Cheky, who came through with a base hit to right field to score a pair of runners. Richardson added a sacrifice fly to bring in Dan Durkin for a 3-0 Spartan advantage.
Siena got its first runner of the afternoon in scoring position in the top of the fourth and subsequently got on the board. Dan Swain drove in Justin Esquerra with an RBI single, making the score 3-1.
The Spartans got the run back in the bottom of the frame and then added two more solo runs in the fifth and seventh innings.
Richardson delivered an RBI single in the fourth, while a groundout by Johnny Nate in the fifth scored Gibson to bump the lead to 5-1.
Joel Fisher, who had a hit in both games of the twin bill, made the score 6-1 in the bottom of the seventh with a sacrifice fly.
Pitching with plenty of run support, Alleman never let the Saints into the game. After Siena's run in the fourth, he allowed just one hit the rest of the way, retiring 15 of the final 17 batters. His seven punchouts were a career best and he issued just one walk.
"Mick had a great game, so I was trying to keep up with him," said Alleman.
Ed Lewicki was forced from the game in the fifth after giving up five runs (three earned) off six hits.
Salter finished with three hits in game one, while Richardson went 2-for-4 in game two.
"I was disappointed in game one with how we swung the bat," said Boss. "I thought we executed a lot better in game two. We moved some runners and did some little things to be able to score. We're still a ways away from being where I think we can be offensively."
The Saints and Spartans will complete the series tomorrow with a single game at 1:05 p.m. at McLane Baseball Stadium.