Baseball Uses Seven Run Sixth to Defeat Indiana
April 10, 1998
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Senior right-hander Brian Murphy became Michigan State's career leader in innings pitched, as he hurled a complete game, leading the Spartans to a 8-4 victory over Indiana in MSU's first appearance at Oldsmobile Park this season.
The victory boosts Michigan State's record to 13-15, 3-6 in conference play. The Hoosiers drop to 19-17, 4-5 in Big Ten action.
Murphy (3-3) fanned six in his nine innings of work, tossing his third complete game of the season. He now has 268.0 innings pitched in his four-year career for the Spartans, passing Stuart Hirschman's mark of 267.1, set from 1990-93. Also, with his six strikeouts, Murphy moves into fourth place on MSU's career whiff list with 179, just one behind the third-place spot.
After gaining a 1-0 advantage in the third, MSU watched Indiana take a 4-1 lead in the top of the sixth. But the Spartan offense, led by a three-run home run by Mike Wagner, sent 13 men to the plate in their half of the sixth, plating seven runs to send MSU to the 8-4 win.
Mike Pisani, hitting .500 in his last five games, banged out three hits for the Spartans, as five players had at least two hits. Wagner notched three RBI, two runs scored and a steal to go along with his sixth-inning blast. MSU took the opening lead in the third with a two-out rally. With two down, Wagner got aboard with a single to center. After a passed ball moved him to second, Mark Mulder blooped a ball into left-center to plate him. But Michigan State could have had more, as the Spartans stranded the bases loaded in both the first and third frames.
Indiana struck back with two in the fourth. After a pair of walks and a single loaded the bases, a bounceout and an infield single scored a couple, as the Hoosiers took a 2-1 lead. But Murphy stranded two runners on base by getting the final two batters with a punch out and groundout, respectively.
The Hoosiers manufactured another tally in the fifth, as Benji Clause singled, stole second, moved to third on a bounceout and scored on a sacrifice fly to center. IU first baseman Roger Rodeheaveris leadoff homer in the sixth gave Indiana a 4-1 edge heading into the home half of the sixth.
Tom Hartley led off the Spartan sixth with a double down the first base line. Gary Zsigo followed with a drive to center, where IU's Jason Williams missed on a diving attempt, as the ball rolled to the centerfield wall, as Zsigo strolled into third with his first collegiate three-bagger. Following a punch-out of Joe Albaugh, Ted Demetral scored Zsigo with a bouncer to second, cutting the IU lead to 4-3, leaving the Spartans with no one on and two-out.
Carlos Fernandez and Tom Grigg kept the sixth frame alive with back-to-back line drive singles off Indiana starter Kyle Boyd (4-3), putting two aboard for Wagner. The junior centerfielder stroked a Boyd first-pitch fastball over the wall in right, his fifth dinger of the season, as MSU took a 6-4 advantage. It marked Wagner's third first-pitch HR of the season. But the Michigan State rally continued in the sixth. Following Wagneris blast, Mark Mulder laced a double down the right-field line. Pisani notched his third base hit of the contest with a single into right-center, as Mulder came around to score. After Hartley's pop-up to IUis Clause in shallow right-field was dropped for an error, Gary Zsigo brought Pisani home with a single to right, marking the sophomoreis second hit and RBI of the inning. MSU proceeded to load the bases, but Hoosier reliever Fred Graf worked out of the jam.
The MSU output was all Murphy would need, as the righty faced the minimum nine batters over the next three frames, as the Spartans notched their first victory in the opener of a conference series this season.
Michigan State and Indiana lock horns on Saturday in a doubleheader, beginning at 1:00 pm. Mark Mulder (3-3) and Gary Zsigo (4-2), a pair of southpaws, will hurl for MSU.
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