ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Michigan State senior right-hander Brian Murphy faced the minimum 19 batters over the final 6.1 innings, as he led the Spartans to a 10-1 rout of Michigan on Friday afternoon.
Murphy (4-3) pitched out of jams in the second and third innings before settling down to shut the Michigan (15-18-1, 5-8) offense, as he tossed his fourth consecutive complete game. The right-hander allowed just four hits over nine innings. The Spartan offense also came through, as Michigan State (16-18, 5-8) banged out 10 runs and 15 hits during the afternoon.
The two rivals will face off on Saturday in a doubleheader at Oldsmobile Park in Lansing, with game time set for 1:00 p.m. Junior Mark Mulder and sophomore Gary Zsigo will toss for the Spartans, with MSU basketball coach Tom Izzo set to throw out the first pitch.
The Spartans unknotted a 1-1 tie in the fourth, as they sent 11 batters to the plate and scored six times, getting key hits with the bases loaded. Zsigo led the attack with a 4-4 effort, the first Spartan to do so since Tom Hartley accomplished the feat on March 8, 1997. Hartley made a strong contribution himself on Friday, going three-for-five with three RBI. Mulder also contributed three hits, as all nine Spartan starters recorded either a run scored or RBI. Michigan State was aided by five Wolverine hit batsmen, including two in the critical fourth inning.
The Spartans drew first blood in the top of the third thanks to heady baserunning by sophomore second baseman Ted Demetral. After Demetral was hit by a pitch by U-Mis Brian Berryman (3-3) with one out, Carlos Fernandez chopped a slow groundball to shortstop. Demetral, who was running on the pitch, advanced to third and scored on a RBI-single by Tom Grigg to put MSU up 1-0.
Michigan tied it up in the bottom of the third, but Murphy avoided any further damage by pitching out of a pair of tight jams in the second and third. In the second, the Wolverines put runners at second and third with one out. But Murphy got the next two hitters on a strikeout and a fly out to stall the Michigan rally. In the next Wolverine at bat, Michigan tied the score as Jason Alcaraz came in on a wild pitch. UM proceeded to load the bases later in the inning only to have Murphy induce a ground out to first base, keeping the score knotted at one.
Michigan State then blew the game open in the fourth, as they scored six times on six hits, as 11 Spartans came to the plate. A pair of singles by Mulder and Zsigo, as well as a Kalczynski hit by pitch, loaded the bases for Hartley. The junior rightfielder laced a line drive into right-center, scoring Mulder and leaving the bases full. After a ground out by Demetral brought a run home to put MSU up 3-1, Fernandez walked to load the bases. Grigg was then hit by Berrymanis first pitch, forcing in a run.
After the hit batsman, Mike Hribernik came in from the bullpen. But his first pitch to Mike Wagner was blooped into right-center, allowing both Hartley and Fernandez to come around to score, putting the Spartans up 6-1. Mulder followed with his second single of the inning, lacing one into left field to score Grigg from second. Zsigo, the next hitter, also collected his second base hit of the frame with a line drive into right, but Wagner was gunned out at the plate on a strong throw by Michigan rightfielder Derek Besco, ending the inning, but not before MSU had posted a 7-1 lead.
The six-run advantage was all Murphy would need, as he cruised in the final six innings, facing the minimum of three batters each inning. The senior tossed 128 pitches on the afternoon, but worked efficiently in the final three frames, getting the Wolverines out with under ten pitches in each inning.
The Spartans added three more runs in the ninth off Michiganis Robbie Reid, who is also on the Wolverine basketball squad. A trio of singles by Mulder, Zsigo and Mike Pisani loaded the sacks for Joe Kalczynski, who knocked one home with a sacrifice fly to deep center. Hartley followed with a two-RBI double to left, giving MSU its final advantage of 10-1.
Michigan State 001 600 003 - 10 15 0 Michigan 001 000 000 - 1 4 0
MSU: Murphy and Fernandez; UM: Berryman, Hribernik (4), Reid (7), Greene (9) and Kalahar; W n Brian Murphy (4-3); L n Brian Berryman (3-3); Sv. n none; HR n none; DP n MSU 1, UM 2; LOB n MSU 9, UM 6;