May 2, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich - On a day when Michigan State University dedicated McLane Baseball Stadium, the Spartan baseball team didn't disappoint, downing Penn State, 9-1, in front of more than 2,400 fans on Saturday (May 2) afternoon in the newly completed ballpark. Elizabeth and Drayton McLane, who generously donated $4 million for the new stadium, were on hand and honored in a pre-game ceremony.
"This is a wonderful occasion and I'm very proud to be here today," said Drayton McLane. "All of us are a product of our past and I am certainly a product of the education, maturing process and the high standards of Michigan State University."
Five different Spartans picked up at least two hits as the Spartan offense used timely hitting and aggressive base running to win their fifth consecutive Big Ten game to improve to 20-24 overall and 10-7 in the conference. It is the first time MSU has won five consecutive league games since the 2004 season when it won six straight.
"What a great program that we had before the game today," said MSU head coach Jake Boss. "It was great to see all of the alumni that came back today, we had the opportunity to honor the McLane family for their generosity and we had a great crowd."
After consecutive hits to start the top of the second, Penn State was in position to take the first lead of the game. With a runner on third, a fly ball to center field looked to deep enough to bring in the first run of the day but a throw strong throw from Brandon Eckerle was on target and Eric Roof tagged out Jordan Steranka at the plate to keep the game scoreless.
MSU loaded the bases in the second and with one out and a deep fly by Eckerle got MSU its first run of the day.
Two infield singles by A.J. Shindler and Chris Roberts to start the third inning put the Spartans in position to add to their lead. The Spartans again loaded the bases and this time Jonathan Roof's deep sacrifice fly scored Shindler and Jeff Holm followed with a single through the right side to drive in another run. MSU got another run in the inning when a throwing error by Nittany Lion catcher Ben Heath allowed Johnny Lee to touch home and make the score 4-0.
MSU capitalized on another Penn State error in fifth to make the score 5-0. Holm grounded out to second, but an errant throw from the first baseman, in an attempt to tag out an opportunistic Jonathan Roof who was looking to advance to third, sailed over the head of the Penn State third baseman Jordan Steranka, allowing Roof to score.
Eckerle, who finished the day 2-for-4, picked up his second RBI of the game in the seventh when his bunt single brought in Jonathan Roof for the third time of the game to make the score 6-0.
The Nittany Lions foiled the Spartans shutout bid with one run in the eighth before MSU tacked on three more in the bottom of the inning. For the fourth time of the game, the Spartans loaded the bases and Jonathan Roof sent a single through the left side for his second and third RBIs of the game. Bo Felt closed out the scoring with the Spartans' first extra base hit of the day - a double to right center that scored one more run to make the final 9-1.
For the third consecutive game, A.J. Achter struck out five batters and went eight full innings to improve to 3-3. Achter scattered eight hits, just one for extra bases, and allowed no earned runs for the first time this season.
"The crowd and the atmosphere were unbelievable here before the game and it's just nice to get a win," Achter said.
PSU (22-21, 5-12) starter Mike Lorentson suffered the loss to fall to 1-7.
"Our guys played well today," said Boss. "A.J. Achter did a nice job on the mound and we had a lot of timely hits. We keep talking about staying aggressive and chipping away and we did that today."
After sweeping Iowa last weekend, the Spartans will look for their second consecutive three-game sweep when they meet Penn State at 1:05 p.m. on Sunday at McLane Baseball Stadium.
Game Notes: In addition to dedicating McLane Baseball Stadium on Saturday, MSU also unveiled a historical marker from the State of Michigan, signifying Old College field as an official historic site...Several Spartan baseball alumni from every decade since the 1930s, including Baseball Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, were on hand and recognized prior to the game.