April 15, 2011
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Sophomore left fielder Jordan Keur hit a game-winning, solo homer to lead off the top of the 10th inning as the Michigan State baseball team edged Ohio State, 5-4, Friday night at Bill Davis Stadium. The Spartans improved to 6-1 in the Big Ten and 22-8 overall, while the Buckeyes fell to 13-15 (3-5).
Keur went 2-for-4 at the plate with three RBIs. With the scored tied at 2 in the top of the seventh, he delivered a two-run, bases-loaded single that gave MSU a 4-2 lead, but Ohio State tied it in the bottom of the eighth on a two-run homer by Josh Dezse.
"That was just an outstanding college baseball game," said Spartan head coach Jake Boss. "They made plays, and we made plays. There was energy all night and our guys knew they were in for a dogfight. I thought we showed some character to come back after they had the big homer in the eighth that tied it. But our guys stayed with it and believed they could win. I thought our focus and effort was there for all 10 innings."
In a game that featured two of the Big Ten's top pitchers in Michigan State's Kurt Wunderlich and Ohio State's Drew Rucinski, runs were hard to come by in the early innings.
OSU took an early 1-0 lead as the first two batters of the game for the Buckeyes reached on a single and a triple. But after the first, Wunderlich settled in and allowed just two hits over the next four innings.
Meanwhile, Rucinkski, who entered the game leading the conference with a 1.83 ERA, held MSU to just one hit through the first three innings.
Ohio State broke the 1-1 deadlock in the sixth as Tim Wetzel hit an RBI single to right.
The Spartans put up three runs in the top of the seventh to take a 4-2 lead. Ryan Jones, who went 2-for-4 and extended his hitting streak to 19 games, led off the frame with a double and later scored on a run-scoring single by Joel Fisher. With the bases loaded and one out, Keur produced his first big hit of the game with a single to center that brought home two runs.
Dezse, a freshman first baseman for Ohio State, then tied the game in the eighth with his two-run blast to left field.
Rucinski came out of the game in the eighth after surrendering four runs, all earned, on six hits, while Wunderlich lasted a complete eight innings and allowed 10 hits on four runs to go with five strikeouts. Both pitchers received a no decision.
Keur's game-winning shot in the 10th came on the first pitch of the at-bat and was his first homer of the season and only the second of his career.
"Jordan was aggressive at the plate and got a good pitch to hit, and really came through for us," Boss said. "He also had a big RBI hit in the seventh to give us the lead. He had a great approach at the plate tonight."
It wasn't easy for MSU, however, in the bottom of the 10th.
The Buckeyes hit back-to-back singles to put runners on first and third with no outs to start the inning. Spartan reliever Tony Wieber then got Ryan Cypret to strike out swinging, but a wild pitch on the next at-bat moved the runner to second and forced an intentional walk, loading the bases.
Wieber did the rest.
He ended the game with consecutive K's to strike out the side in the 10th, improving to 4-0 on the mound this season and 8-0 in his career. Wieber struck out five Buckeyes in his two innings in the ninth and 10th.
"Tony really took control there at the end of the game," said Boss. "He wants the ball in those situations, and tonight he proved he deserves it."
The Spartans and Buckeyes meet in game two of the series Saturday at 2:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast nationally on the Big Ten Network.