April 12, 2014
EAST LANSING - The Michigan State baseball team won a pair of one-run games, 7-6 and 2-1, to sweep a doubleheader from Purdue on Saturday afternoon at McLane Baseball Stadium. With the victories, MSU took two of three games from the Boilermakers on the weekend, improving to 20-13 overall and 5-4 in the Big Ten.
The Spartans rode starting pitcher Cam Vieaux to a win in game two as the redshirt freshman tossed his first-career complete game, limiting the Boilermakers to just five hits. Vieaux finished with six strikeouts and no walks as he picked up his fifth win of the season.
"The bullpen was taxed from yesterday, so for Cam to come out and throw a complete game was really big," said MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr.
Michigan State fell behind 4-0 in the opener, but rallied in the back-and-forth game that featured scoring in five consecutive innings. With the score tied, 6-6, in the bottom of the seventh, Michigan State took the lead for good on a sacrifice fly by Johnny Nate.
"Our guys showed a lot of character in game one," said Boss. "We got down 4-0, came back to tie it and eventually took the lead. I give our guys a lot of credit."
Leading 1-0 in the top of the fourth inning of game one, Purdue (7-24, 3-6) extended its advantage to 4-0 with three more runs. The three-run top half of the inning got started when Kyle Johnson belted a line drive to left field. Cam Gibson dove for the ball, but missed, allowing both runners on base to score and Johnson to turn the base hit into a triple.
Johnson scored later in the inning on a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0.
Michigan State answered in the bottom of the frame with two runs to cut the deficit in half, 4-2. Joel Fisher brought in the first run with a hard-hit single to left field. The ball got away from the left fielder, Picchiotti, on the play, allowing Gibson to score from first base.
Ryan Richardson's RBI single later in the inning gave MSU its second run.
The scoring continued in the fifth with Purdue adding a solo run and MSU responding with two of its own to pull within one, 5-4. The Spartans scored off an RBI double to deep right field by Blaise Salter and then a throwing error by second baseman Cody Strong allowed another MSU runner to come in to make it 5-4.
Michigan State made it two runs in three straight innings, scoring twice more in the bottom of the sixth to claim its first lead of the game, 6-5. Anthony Cheky's RBI triple tied the score and the Spartans kept the pressure on by loading the bases. Gibson took four straight pitches from reliever Mike Lutz to bring in Cheky for a 6-5 MSU lead.
The back and forth continued in the seventh as Purdue's Strong tied the game, 6-6, with an RBI single.
Michigan State plated the eventual game-winning run in the bottom of the frame. Ryan Krill led off the bottom of the inning with a double to left field and advanced to third in a fly out by Richardson. Nate followed with sac fly to center field to score Cheky.
Kinley gave up a two-out double in the top of the ninth, but bounced back to retire Sean McHugh with a deep fly ball to end the game.
Purdue's Joe Eichmann gave up the deciding run in the seventh and took the loss to fall to 0-1.
Michigan State got on the board right away in game two, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Cheky hit a triple into the corner and scored when the next batter, Salter, drove him in with a sacrifice fly to deep left field.
Purdue responded in the top half of the second with an RBI single by Picchiotti to knot the score at one.
The Spartans left the bases loaded in the third inning, but three straight singles to start the fifth led to the go-ahead run. Cheky belted a leadoff single to left center field, Salter followed with another base hit and Jimmy Pickens then gave MSU the lead for good with an RBI single into left field.
The second run was all Vieaux needed as he retired 11 of 12 hitters before giving up a two-out single in the sixth that wound up being Purdue's final hit of the afternoon. Vieaux sat down the final 10 hitters of the game in order to preserve the win.
"It felt pretty good," said Vieaux. "I've been a bit limited in my first few outings, so it felt good to keep going today. I felt more confident as the game went on."
Purdue starter Brett Haan took the loss, allowing both runs off six hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Cheky, Salter and Pickens all had two hits for the Spartans in game two. Cheky led MSU at the plate as well in game one, going 3-for-5.
"I think we're getting closer, offensively," said Boss. "We had a lot of guys on base but just couldn't seem to drive them in. We're getting closer though. All things considered, we won the series, so it was a good weekend."
Michigan State will close out its season-long homestand on Tuesday when it hosts Notre Dame at 3:05 p.m.