April 17, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - After scoring 20 runs in the series finale at Indiana, the Michigan State baseball team remained hot at the plate on Tuesday afternoon against Western Michigan, collecting 16 hits in the 13-3 victory over the Broncos at McLane Baseball Stadium. MSU has produced 33 runs and 41 hits in the past two games.
Freshman right fielder Jimmy Pickens led the offensive outburst by tallying season highs in hits (3), runs (3) and RBIs (4), including a double in the sixth and two-run homer to right field in the eighth. Tony Wieber went 3-for-3 with three runs, while Torsten Boss and Jordan Keur each went 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
"It was a good day again at the plate," said Michigan State head coach Jake Boss. "We had some good at-bats in big situations. Our guys are getting a little more confident. I think they're trying to stay in the moment, execute the plan, and hit the ball hard somewhere."
Western Michigan (16-18) got one run back in the second, but the Spartans went up 4-1 after Ryan Jones and Boss hit back-to-back RBI doubles in the fourth.
Spartan starter Mick VanVossen, who had retired nine of his last 10 batters, ran into trouble in the sixth after giving up two doubles and a walk as the Broncos trimmed the lead to 4-3. Bryce Jenney relieved VanVossen with a runner on second and no outs in the sixth, and promptly retired his first three batters, all on groundouts, to erase the WMU scoring threat.
It was as close as Western Michigan would get, as the Spartans score nine unanswered runs the rest of the way in the 13-3 win.
Boss had another RBI double in the bottom half of the sixth, this time plating two runs, and Keur followed with a run-scoring double of his own to make it 7-3 in favor of Michigan State.
The Spartans scored four more runs in the seventh. Both Pickens and Keur delivered two-run singles up the middle, putting MSU on top, 11-3.
Pickens closed out the game's scoring with a deep two-run blast to right field for his team-leading fifth home run of the season.
VanVossen (2-0) was credited with his second win of the season, while Will Nimke (2-2) took the loss for WMU after allowing two runs, both unearned, on four hits in his three innings of work. VanVossen scattered five hits in his five-plus innings with one walk and two strikeouts.
Jenney pitched 2 1/3 shutout innings of relief in recording his team-best third hold of the season.
Michigan State returns to action on Wednesday to face Central Michigan in Mount Pleasant at 3 p.m.