May 5, 2007
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Michigan State baseball team swept Ohio State in a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Bill Davis Stadium, taking game one, 5-1, and game two, 6-4. Jon Kibler threw his third complete game of the season in the game one victory, giving up just one unearned run and five hits. In the second game, MSU rallied back from a 4-1 deficit and scored four runs in the top of the sixth and one in the seventh in the 6-4 triumph. Dennis Jones delivered the key hit in the sixth for the Spartans, hitting a bases-clearing, three-run triple to tie the game, while Steve Gerstenberger followed with an RBI single. MSU (17-23, 8-14 Big Ten) added one in the top of the seventh and Mike Monterey came on to close the game in the bottom half for his sixth save of the season.
"We didn't play perfect baseball, but we did everything we needed to do to win those two games," said MSU head coach David Grewe. "That was a total team effort. In the first game, we came through with three run-scoring two-out hits, and in the second game, we rallied back with clutch hits in key situations."
GAME ONE RECAP
Kibler, who also threw complete games in wins over Indiana and Penn State, improved his record to 4-5 and threw just 79 pitches in the game one win.
With MSU up 3-0 after five innings, the rain started to come down in Columbus, giving way to a 90-minute rain delay. Both coaches elected to keep their starting pitchers in the game once play resumed - a move that worked out for Coach Grewe, but backfired on Ohio State coach Bob Todd. Buckeye starter Rory Meister (3-5) walked the leadoff batter, Kyle Day, to lead the sixth. Sean Walker then followed with a bunt single, but Meister committed a throwing error on the play, putting Day at third and Walker at second. The next batter, Chris Roberts, nailed his second RBI single of the game, giving MSU a 4-1 lead and finally knocking Meister out of the game. The Spartans added another unearned run in the inning to make it 5-1.
MSU gave Kibler run support early, scoring twice in the second. Walker led off with a single, and after two straight outs, Evan Friedland drilled a single up the middle to score Walker, and Jones followed with an RBI double to plate Friedland.
Michigan State's defense collected three double plays in the game, none bigger than the first one in the second inning. After taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the second, the Buckeyes were threatening with runners on first and second and no outs in the bottom half. Michael Arp hit a liner to MSU right fielder Eli Boike, who not only made the catch, but threw out J.B. Shuck at third base, who was trying to tag from second.
Roberts had another two-out, run-scoring hit for the Green and White in the third, hitting a single to center that scored Brandon Doherty.
GAME TWO RECAP
While MSU was in control for all of game one, the tone of the game was much different in the back end of the doubleheader.
Ohio State (28-14, 12-9 Big Ten) built a 3-0 lead with two runs in the third and one in the fourth, but the damage could've been worse, as leftfielder E.J. Daws threw out Cory Kavanda at the plate for the first out of the third. Daws was equally as effective at the plate, tying his career high with three hits in three at-bats.
The Spartans scored their first run on a bases-loaded walk by Brandon Doherty in the top of the fifth, but the Buckeyes struck back with a run in the bottom half of the inning.
Down 4-1 after five innings, the Spartans erupted for four runs on three hits in the sixth. With the bases loaded and one out for Jones, the junior centerfielder responded with one of the biggest hits on the season, crushing a triple to the gap in left-center, clearing the bases and tying the game at 4. Gerstenberger, the next batter, followed with an RBI single to right field, giving MSU the 5-4 lead.
In the seventh, Boike hit a pinch-hit double and advanced to third on an error by OSU centerfielder Matt Angle. Boike scored on another RBI single by Roberts, scoring a huge insurance run for the Spartans. In the two games on Saturday, Roberts collected four hits and three RBIs, and Jones had three hits and four RBIs.
Coach Grewe called on closer Mike Monterey in the bottom of the seventh, and Monterey delivered with his sixth save of the season. The six saves are tied for sixth best in an MSU season.
The four-game series concludes Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m.