April 15, 2012
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Michigan State baseball team swept Indiana in a doubleheader Sunday afternoon at Sembower Field with a 6-0 shutout victory in game one and a 20-10 win in game two. The Spartans improved to 22-12 (5-4 Big Ten) with the sweep and claimed the series over the Hoosiers.
"It was a good day to hit with the warm weather (temperatures in upper-70s) and the wind blowing out, and we hit a lot of balls hard," said MSU head coach Jake Boss. "We strung together a few hits to get our confidence up, then we really started rolling with some big innings.
"Our offense definitely executed, but the bats shouldn't take away from the pitching performances from (starters) Andrew Waszak and David Garner. They were both outstanding on a tough day to pitch. They both located multiple pitches for strikes and got ahead in the count all game."
MSU collected season highs in runs (20) and hits (25) in the second game of the twinbill, led by junior second baseman Ryan Jones, who tied his career high with five hits. Jones had six hits on the day and in the process became just the 15th Spartan in school history to cross the 200-hit mark. The Haslett, Mich., native is currently 12th in the Michigan State record book with 204 career hits.
Freshman first baseman Ryan Krill and junior John Martinez also tallied six hits in the doubleheader. Krill, who has hit a team-best .619 (13-for-21) in the last five games, scored six runs and had three hits in each game. Martinez hit his first career homer with a two-run shot in the first game and collected three RBIs and four runs on the day. Junior Jordan Keur, MSU's leading hitter with a .392 average, had five hits in the two games.
"Ryan (Jones) really broke out at the plate in the second game and was a catalyst for us," said Boss. "John is very good wherever we put him, whether it's at catcher, left field or first base. He's a good ballplayer who competes and gives us good at-bats. As for Ryan (Krill), he continues to get better. There was a learning curve at the beginning of the season, but he's more comfortable at the plate right now and his confidence is growing every game."
The Spartans scored 12 times and had 15 hits after three innings of play in game two. MSU knocked out Indiana starter Matt Dearden in the first inning by scoring four runs, then chased his replacement, Drew Leininger, in the second, by scoring five more. Krill and Justin Scanlon each had two-run singles in the first, while Jared Hook hit his first career home run with a two-run blast in the second. Hook went 3-for-5 in the game and also had a run-scoring double in the ninth.
After building their lead to 12-0 with three runs in the third, Jimmy Pickens delivered his fourth homer of the season over the right-field fence to make it 13-0. Pickens is now tied for Boss for the team lead in home runs.
Indiana finally got on the board with two runs in the bottom half of the fourth, but MSU responded by scoring twice in the top of the fifth to put the lead back to 15-2.
The Spartans scored a solo run in the seventh and four in the ninth for their season-high total of 20. Scanlon delivered his career-high fifth RBI of the game with a groundout in the ninth, and had seven RBIs on the day.
Sophomore right-handed starter David Garner recorded a career-high nine strikeouts and didn't walk a batter in picking up his second win as a starter this season. Garner (2-3) went seven innings and gave up six runs, four earned, while scattering nine hits.
"David's stuff is as good as anyone's when he throws strikes, and he did that today," said Boss. "It was nice that we got ahead and gave him a lead to work with, but at the same time, he still had to go out there and execute, and to his credit, that's exactly what he did."
Indiana (16-20, 6-6) did score eight times in the last three innings, but it wasn't enough to overcome the initial 16-2 deficit it faced after six and half innings.
In the first game of the doubleheader, Waszak (4-2) earned his fourth victory of the year on the mound by allowing just three hits in seven scoreless innings.
Waszak struck out a season-high five and walked only one in his eighth quality start of the season (at least six innings pitched; three earned runs or less). Jeff Kinley completed the shutout with a scoreless eighth and ninth.
Michigan State scored the game's first runs with three in the top of the fourth, chasing Hoosier starter Kyle Hart (1-4) in the process. Martinez hit his first career homer with a two-run shot to left-center field, and Jones singled and later scored on a wild pitch.
The Spartans scored three more in the eighth to make it 6-0. MSU opened the inning with four consecutive singles, capped off by a two-run single from Scanlon. A two-out error by Hoosier shortstop Michael Basil prolonged the inning and allowed Joel Fisher to score for the game's final run.
Kinley allowed three hits in the ninth as the Hoosiers loaded the bases with just one out, but a popout and strikeout ended the IU rally.
Michigan State returns to action Tuesday, April 17 for a non-conference contest against Western Michigan at McLane Baseball Stadium. First pitch is set for 3:05 p.m.