May 9, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Freshman right-hander Mick VanVossen threw a career-best 7 2/3 innings and allowed just two runs to earn his third victory of the season as the Michigan State baseball team defeated Toledo, 7-2, Wednesday afternoon at McLane Baseball Stadium.
VanVossen (3-0), who scattered nine hits and struck out four while tossing 109 pitches, has been one of the key factors in MSU's 9-1 record in midweek games this season. Michigan State is 5-0 in games he has started, and in addition to picking up the win over the Rockets, VanVossen also has victories against Notre Dame and Western Michigan.
"I was happy with myself today," said VanVossen. "I had better control of my fastball than in the past; I was able to go in and out with batters. Ultimately it came down to the placement of pitches.
"The team didn't get the (NCAA) Regional bid last year that they would have liked. So this year, if it comes down to it and we get that regional bid, all of these midweeks count. I've been going into (the games) with that mentality."
Sophomore catcher Joel Fisher led MSU (31-16) at the plate by recording a season-high three hits, including two doubles, and tied his season high with three RBIs. Jimmy Pickens and Ryan Jones also had multi-hit games for the Spartans.
Toledo (24-24) actually got on the board first on a Mark Lapikas solo homer in the second, but Michigan State tied it at 1 on a bases-loaded walk to Jordan Keur in the third.
The Spartans took the lead for good in the fourth as Pickens hit his third triple of the season, then scored on a Joel Fisher single through the left side of the infield.
MSU built its advantage to 7-1 after scoring two runs in the fifth, one in the sixth, and two more in the seventh.
In the fifth, Keur had a sacrifice fly and Pickens drove in a run with a single up the middle. Hook added a sacrifice fly in the sixth to make it 5-2 in favor of Michigan State. Hook did not have an official at-bat in the game, but made an impact by walking twice, scoring a run, and producing two sacrifices.
Fisher collected his third and final hit with a two-run double down the left-field line in the seventh which put MSU on top, 7-2.
VanVossen ran into trouble in the eighth, and after surrendering a two-out, bases-loaded RBI single, he was relieved by Jeff Kinley.
With the bases still loaded and the potential game-tying run on deck, Kinley found himself in a save situation, and he delivered by coming through with a huge strikeout against Zack Michael.
Kinley, who hasn't allowed a run in his last 27 1/3 innings, closed out the ninth to record his first save of the season.
Michigan State returns to action for a three-game series against Iowa this weekend (Friday-Sunday) at McLane Baseball Stadium. Game one of the series is set for Friday at 3:05 p.m.