April 24, 2010
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State scored five times in the third inning and went on to put up 11 more runs in a 16-1 rout over Illinois on Saturday afternoon at McLane Baseball Stadium at Kobs field. After splitting a doubleheader the day before, MSU took the rubber match on Saturday as they put up double-digit runs for the seventh time in 16 home games this season.
Senior outfielder Bo Felt (3-for-4) and freshman third baseman Torsten Boss (2-for-3) each homered and had four RBI as the Spartans improved to 26-11 overall and 7-5 in the Big Ten. Illinois dropped to 18-18 and 5-7 in the conference.
"I'm proud of our guys for answering the call after game one (of this series)," said MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. "We didn't play well in that game. When we execute, like we did in games two and three, we have a chance to put up a big number and we did that today."
With the game scoreless in the bottom of the third inning, the Spartan offense went to work - scoring five runs off five hits. Andy Johnson led off the inning and Brandon Eckerle followed by getting on base with a bunt that dropped just out of the reach of Illlinois' pitcher Will Strack's reach. A sacrifice bunt by Ryan Jones moved the runners over and then Eli Boike drove in the first run of the frame with a sacrifice fly.
The Spartan hit parade - a sign of things to come - continued with an RBI single by Jonathan Roof and an RBI triple by Jeff Holm that made the score 3-0. Boss followed with his second home run of the series and third of the season, making it 5-0.
After slugging a home run in each game on Friday, Felt made it three on the weekend when he led off the fourth with a solo shot over the left field wall.
The Spartans blew the game open in the fifth inning as they scored four more runs with two outs to take a 10-0 lead. Felt drove in the first run with single through the left side and Johnson followed with a run-scoring double to right field. A wild pitch by Illinois' second reliever of the day, Brian de la Torriente, brought in another run and then an RBI single by Eckerle up middle put the Spartans in double digits.
Michigan State's hitters seemed to find the gaps in the Illinois defense all day and after Boike led off the sixth with a walk, three consecutive base hits made their way through the infield and led to two more Spartan runs. Felt drove in two more with a ground-rule double to right field.
The Spartans tied their season high with four home runs in a game when Roof and Holm went deep in back-to-back at-bats in the seventh inning to make it 16-1.
"Hitting was definitely contagious today," said Holm, who finished 4-for-5. "Everybody up and down the lineup just felt good in batting practice."
Pitching with plenty of run support, Michigan State starter Tony Bucciferro was impressive in seven complete innings, striking out three and issuing no walks as he improved to 6-3 on the season. Bucciferro allowed just six hits for the third time in his last five starts.
Strack lasted just 2.2 innings for the Illini and took the loss to fall to 1-3.
The Spartans return to action on Monday with the Crosstown Showdown at Cooley Law School Stadium against the Lansing Lugnuts. The fourth-annual exhibition game begins at 7:05 p.m. Tickets are available at Jenison Field House or at MSUSpartans.com.