April 10, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State baseball team extended its winning streak over Notre Dame to 11 games as the Spartans took care of the Fighting Irish, 8-2, Tuesday afternoon at McLane Baseball Stadium. With the victory, MSU improved to 20-10 for the season, while Notre Dame fell to 17-14.
The game was played in blustery conditions in which at times it snowed.
"We strung together a lot of good at-bats today," said MSU head coach Jake Boss, who is now 6-0 against the Fighting Irish. "We had a lot of guys with hits up and down the order today, and we had some success with runners on base. It was a good day offensively. It was a tough day to hit with the weather, but our guys really stayed with the plan and really executed."
Freshman right-hander Mick VanVossen (1-0) allowed just two runs, one earned, and scattered six hits in 6 1/3 innings to record his first collegiate victory.
"Mick keeps getting better and better every time he takes the mound," said Boss, as VanVossen made his third start of the season and his fourth appearance overall. "We're excited about his future. The more experience he gets, the better off he's going to be."
"The elements weren't in my favor, but I felt good out there today," said VanVossen. "I just kept the ball low. We got on the board early, which definitely helped with the momentum."
MSU quickly took a two-run lead as Jordan Keur and Ryan Jones opened the Spartans' half of the first with back-to-back singles to place runners on first and third. Freshman Ryan Krill brought home Keur for the first run of the game with a single to right-center, followed by a Justin Scanlon RBI fielder's choice that made it 2-0.
"It's important for us to be aggressive," remarked Boss. "We were definitely aggressive on the bases, especially in the first inning, and I think it set a tone for the rest of the ballgame."
The Spartans broke the game open in the fifth with more runs, extending their lead to 6-0. Torsten Boss produced the big hit with a three-run triple to right field, then later scored on a Scanlon infield single.
Meanwhile, VanVossen kept the Irish off the scoreboard until the seventh. Notre Dame plated its first run on a sacrifice fly and took advantage of a throwing error by Boss to score another unearned run later in the inning.
But it's all the Irish would get, as Trey Popp closed the game out for MSU with 2 2/3 shutout innings, including three strikeouts.
Michigan State collected 10 hits overall, including two each by Keur and Hook.
"I think it's just the players going up with the right approach at the plate and really having a chance to hit the ball hard," said Martinez, who started his 17th game of the season at catcher. "When you hit the ball hard, good things are going to happen."
Michigan State, which improved to 5-0 in midweek games this season with the win over Notre Dame, returns to action to face Eastern Michigan (13-18) Wednesday afternoon at 3:05 p.m. at McLane Baseball Stadium.
"Every game we play is important," said Boss. "We talked after the game that the biggest game of the year is tomorrow's game because that's the next one. Regardless of who we play, we need to come out and play well and be the aggressor."