April 10, 2010
MINNEAPOLIS - The Michigan State baseball team scored runs in all but two innings as it defeated Minnesota, 12-5, on Saturday afternoon at the Metrodome. It marked the ninth time this season the Spartans have scored double-digit runs as they now sit alone atop the Big Ten with a 4-1 record in conference play and 22-5 overall. Minnesota is 12-19 overall and 2-3 in league play.
The Spartans were efficient both at the plate and on the mound on Saturday. MSU's offense scored the 12 runs on 14 hits. Six times the Spartans had the leadoff batter reach base, and all six times MSU scored at least one run.
"We talked about the importance of getting the leadoff hitter on base, and we were fortunate to do that today," said MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. "We put ourselves in good situations and made the most of them."
Starting pitcher Kurt Wunderlich went eight complete innings, allowing four earned runs. Wunderlich struck out four and walked just one and improved to 6-1 this season.
"Kurt did a nice job going deep into the game," Boss said. "I thought he really threw well and was around the strike zone all day."
With Minnesota leading 1-0 in the top of the second, the Spartans responded with three runs. Jeff Holm and Ryan Jones led off the inning with hits and the Spartans got their first run of the day when Chris Roberts brought in Holm with a sacrifice bunt. A pair of freshman then came through for MSU, as Torsten Boss doubled in Jones and John Martinez followed by singling in Boss to give the Spartans a 3-1 lead.
A leadoff walk followed by a hit batter led to two more Michigan State runs in the top of the third as Jones and Roberts each picked up RBIs to extend the lead to 5-1.
Minnesota put its first two hitters on base in their half of the third inning and was also able to score twice to again make it a two-run game, 5-3.
The Spartans then methodically put the game out of reach - scoring solo runs in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
"We had some timely hits today," Boss said. "We executed well when we had the chance to move runners up and drive them in."
Minnesota also scratched across solo runs in the seventh and eighth innings but MSU secured the win with three more runs in the top of the ninth and then Tim Simpson came on in relief for Wunderlich in the bottom of the frame. Simpson retired three of four batters to end the game and give MSU the win.
Boike (3-for-5) and Jones (3-for-4) each finished with three hits for the Green and White while Roberts (1-for-2) led in RBIs with three.
The Spartans will go for the sweep tomorrow when the teams meet again at 2 p.m. EDT.