April 30, 2004
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The Michigan State baseball team (21-19, 8-9 Big Ten) dropped the first game of a four-game series with Michigan (23-15, 11-6 Big Ten), 8-4, on Friday afternoon at Ray Fisher Stadium in Ann Arbor. Spartan pitchers allowed 10 hits and six walks, while hitting one Wolverine batter. Offensively, the Spartans left 10 runners on base. The series resumes Saturday with a 1 p.m. doubleheader at Kobs Field in East Lansing.
Oliver Wolcott (Plymouth, Mich.) led the Michigan State attack with four singles, scoring two runs. Travis Gulick (East Lansing, Mich.) added two hits and two RBI. Just three other Spartans recorded one hit each.
Michigan State opened the scoring with a single run in the top of the first. Wolcott singled and advanced to third as Gulick doubled down the leftfield line. Wolcott then scored on an infield groundout. Michigan answered with two runs in the bottom half of the inning as Jeff Kunkel plated two Wolverines with a two-out double.
Michigan added two runs in both the third and fourth innings to extend its lead to 6-1. The Spartans came to life in the fifth inning, scoring three runs. Erik Morris (Orchard Lake, Mich.) and Wolcott hit back-to-back singles before scoring on a triple by Gulick to right center. James Moreno (Holt, Mich.) then drove in Gulick with a sacrifice fly to left field to cut UM's lead to 6-4, only to watch the Wolverines add a single run in the bottom half of the inning.
After the Wolverines scored in the bottom of the seventh to take an 8-4 lead, the Spartans mounted a scoring threat in the top of the eighth. Thanks to two walks and a fielding error, Michigan State loaded the bases with two outs and the top of the order coming to bat. Morris got a good pitch to hit, but he lined it straight to the Michigan centerfielder to kill the rally.
Bryan Gale (Decatur, Mich.) was unsuccessful in his attempt to tie the MSU career victory mark. In 4.0 innings, he allowed six runs, four earned, on six hits and five walks, while striking out six batters. With the loss, he falls to 3-3 on the season. Jim Brauer started for the Wolverines, allowing four runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings of work to improve to 4-2 on the year. UM's Phil Tognetti picked up his fourth save of the season.