April 27, 2014
EAST LANSING - The Michigan State baseball team finished off its weekend sweep of Northwestern with an exclamation point, pounding the Wildcats, 15-3, on Sunday afternoon at McLane Baseball Stadium. Joel Fisher and Blaise Salter both had three RBIs, while starting pitcher Cam Vieaux struck out five and yielded five hits in six-complete innings to earn the win.
With the three-game sweep, MSU improved to 24-17 overall and 8-7 in Big Ten play.
"It was a big weekend for us. I thought our guys really answered the bell after a tough series last weekend, so they deserve some credit," said MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. "I thought we got better as the weekend progressed and that's a good sign. We put together some big at-bats today and hit a lot of balls hard."
On the weekend, the Spartans produced 33 hits and 25 runs, both of which were the Spartans' highest totals in any three-game series this season.
"Hopefully we can sustain our level of play going into next week," Boss said. "It's something that I think this team is capable of and it's a matter of doing it every day. It's easier said than done, but when we play up to our abilities, I think we have a chance to be a really good ball club."
The Spartans jumped on the Wildcats early, scoring three runs in the first inning. A walk to Cam Gibson and then a single by Salter set the table for Jimmy Pickens, who drilled the first pitch he saw off the wall in right field to score the first run of the day. A sacrifice bunt down the first base line by Ryan Richardson scored Salter and then Fisher reached on an error by the shortstop to bring in the third run of the inning.
Michigan State blew open the game in the bottom of the second, scoring five runs off four hits and a Wildcat error to take an 8-0 lead. After a one-out error, Salter brought in the first run on an RBI groundout. Richardson and Fisher later followed with consecutive RBI singles and Ryan Krill belted a two-run double off the wall in right center field to make it 8-0.
Back-to-back hits to lead off the fourth inning helped Northwestern (12-28, 4-13) get on the board with two runs, but the Spartans countered with two of their own in the bottom of the frame courtesy of a two-RBI single by Fisher.
An RBI single by Anthony Cheky and a two-run home run by Salter over the wall in left field increased the MSU lead to 13-2 in the fifth.
The home run was Salter's fifth of the season.
Two more runs in the seventh capped the scoring for MSU. PJ Nowak drilled an RBI double just inside the foul line to bring in the first run. Later on, the fourth Wildcat error of the day gave MSU its 15th and final run.
Early Northwestern errors didn't help starter Jack Quigley, who gave up 11 hits and 13 runs, of which just seven were earned. With the loss, Quigley dropped to 2-6.
Sunday was Military Appreciation Day at McLane Baseball Stadium. The Spartans honored veterans from different branches of the armed services throughout the game and held a silent auction to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.
The Spartans will be off this week but will return to action at Illinois next weekend.