April 7, 2004
EAST LANSING, Mich. - In another dominating performance at Kobs Field Wednesday, April 7, Michigan State smothered IPFW, 12-1, to keep its winning streak alive. The victory was the Spartans' 10th straight, making it the longest undefeated performance since 1990. State's record climbed to 14-10 (4-0 Big Ten) while the Mastodons fell to 11-18.
A total of six pitchers were used by manager Ted Mahan in which they allowed only two hits and one run while striking out eight. John Dwan (Libertyville, Ill.) started for the Spartans and pitched two innings of scoreless ball, giving up a hit and walk, striking out two in the process. State got on the board quickly in the bottom of the second as Erik Morris (Orchard Lake, Mich.) placed the first pitch of the inning over the left field scoreboard off IPFW starter Travis Johnson.
The following inning, Jeremy Dow (Sunfield, Mich.) took the mound and retired the Mastodons 1-2-3. In the bottom half, the Spartans batted around, picking up five runs to grab a 6-0 lead. Alan Cattrysse (Chatham, Ont.) led off with a walk and Oliver Wolcott (Plymouth, Mich.) got aboard with a hit by pitch. Travis Gulick (East Lansing, Mich.) then came to the plate looking to extend his hitting streak to 20 games and it did not take long for him to keep it going. With a single through the left side, Gulick brought Cattrysse home and moved Wolcott to second. Scott Koerber (Harper Woods, Mich.) continued the scoring with a three-run homer that just cleared the 376 feet sign in left center. Though James Moreno (Holt, Mich.) grounded to third for the first out, Morris recorded his second hit of the day with a single up the middle and advanced to second when Sean Walker (Round Lake Beach, Ill.) reached first following an error on the pitcher. Ryan Basham (Lowell, Ind.) loaded the bases with a single to left center giving way to Troy Krider (Coldwater, Mich./DeKalb, Ind.) hitting into a fielder's choice that scored Morris. Though Cattrysse ended the inning with a fly out to center, the Spartans had already put a five-spot up in the third.
Dow remained in the game in the top of the fourth, picking up two Ks in the inning, to eventually receive credit for the win, his first of the season. The offense then connected for one more run in the fourth frame. Gulick smacked a double to left field and went to third on a bizarre play when Koerber barely caught a piece of a pitch from Adam Ferris that spun around in front of the batter's box and stopped on the first base foul line for an infield single. Gulick crossed home when Moreno hit a sacrifice fly to left field, pushing the score to 7-0.
Dan Noble (Troy, Mich.) entered the game in the fifth and gave up a run on three walks and a hit but recorded two outs with a double play ball. Chris Toepper (Portage, Mich.) entered the game with men on second and third and a 2-0 count but walked Ryan Steinbach to load the bases. However, Toepper got David Zachary on strikes to get out of the inning.
Ryan Kurtz (Toledo, Ohio) became State's fifth pitcher in the sixth and let a man on with a HBP. A second double-play conversion would empty the bags and Kurtz retired the next batter to end the top half, giving way to a two-run bottom half by the Spartan bats. Gulick led off with his second double of the afternoon and was replaced by pinch-runner Jim Duffy (Carleton, Mich.). Koerber advanced Duffy to third with a single and was also taken out in place of a pinch-runner, this time Adam Tripp (Saugus, Calif.). Moreno got on base with a HBP and Morris picked up another RBI with a fielder's choice that brought Duffy home. Tripp then scored State's final run of the frame on a fielding error by the shortstop off the bat of Kris Morris (Jenison, Mich.).
The lead would reach double-figures in the seventh with two more MSU runs. Cattrysse led off with a walk and E.J. Daws (Bozeman, Mont.) also reached first with a HBP, moving Cattrysse to second. IPFW retired the next two batters but gave up another walk when Moreno got aboard. Erik Morris came through with an RBI single that scored Cattrysse and Kris Morris followed with an RBI single of his own that brought Daws home and gave the Spartans an 11-1 advantage.
Clay Kovac (Mundelein, Ill.) surrendered just one walk in the eighth while picking up two groundouts and a strikeout. One of those groundouts came by a terrific play by shortstop Troy Krider, who dove to his right to snag a Nate Beals shot towards the hole and threw to Erik Morris for the out. State's final run came when Cattrysse doubled home Krider, who singled to lead off the inning, for a 12-1 score. Kovac closed it out with another K in the top of the ninth with two outs.
Koerber finished his day with a 4-for-4 performance at the plate, picking up 3 RBI, while Gulick went 3-for-4 with two runs scored.
Michigan State travels to Champaign, Ill., for more Big Ten action in a four-game series with Illinois. The Spartans will play one on Friday beginning at 6:35 p.m., a doubleheader on Saturday and the final game on Sunday.