April 26, 2009
IOWA CITY, Iowa - The hit parade continued on Sunday (April 26) for the Michigan State baseball team as all nine starters recorded at least one hit in a 14-5 rout of Iowa to complete a three-game sweep of the Hawkeyes. The Spartans' 14 runs on Sunday gave them a total of 44 for the three-game series. Entering the weekend, the last time MSU scored double-digit runs in three consecutive games was in 2006 when it also totaled 44.
"We swung the bats very well all weekend long," MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. "In practice on Thursday we talked about executing and not trying to do too much. We just focused on situational hitting and taking a good approach at the plate and I thought we did that this weekend."
For the third time in four games the Spartans scored a run in the first inning to gain an early advantage. Eric Roof did the job on Sunday with a deep sacrifice fly to left center field that scored A.J. Shindler.
Iowa quickly knotted the game in the bottom of the first and then grabbed a 3-1 lead with a two-out homer off the bat off Sean Flanagan.
As they had done all weekend, the Spartans responded to an Iowa rally with a multi-run inning of their own. This time it was Johnny Lee's three-run triple to the right-center gap in the top of the third inning that regained the lead for the Green and White for good. Jonathan Roof later drove in Lee with a sac fly to make it 5-3.
With two outs and no runners on in the fourth inning, it looked as though Iowa would get out of the inning and keep it a two-run game. However, three consecutive walks to the top of the order put the Spartans in position to strike and Eric Roof took advantage - belting a grand slam over the left-center wall for his second home run of the series to make the score 9-3. Roof added another RBI later to give him a total of 10 for the weekend.
"Eric's grand slam was certainly a key point in the game," Boss said. "Johnny Lee's two-out double that scored three runs was also a key point."
Eli Boike drove in one run in the second and then MSU tacked on three more in the seventh inning to make the score 13-3. The three-run seventh marked the sixth time in the three-game series MSU scored at least four runs in an inning.
Iowa put up solo runs in the seventh and eighth and Shindler picked up an RBI double in the ninth for the final Spartan run of the day.
In his first career Big Ten start, freshman pitcher Tony Bucciferro pitched 7.1 innings, allowing five runs off 12 hits while striking out four and walking just one. After giving up consecutive singles to start the Iowa fourth, Bucciferro worked himself out of the jam with a fly out and then back-to-back Ks to end the inning. He was also the recipient of solid defense in the field as Shindler made two spectacular inning-ending plays from his third base spot. With the win, Bucciferro improves to 4-1 this season on the mound.
MSU will start an eight-game homestand on Tuesday (April 28) when its hosts Eastern Michigan at 3:05 p.m. at McLane Baseball Stadium.