May 11, 2007
JUST LIKE GROWING UP: Two best friends faced off in a key situation in the bottom of the fifth inning Friday afternoon at Kobs Field. As Sean Walker stepped into the box with the bases loaded, he was matching up against close friend Ryan Myers, a right-hander for Northwestern. The two were teammates at Carmel High School outside Chicago, and Myers' dad was Walker's first baseball coach growing up. It was a moment they would be talking about for years.
Luckily for Sean, he came out on the better half of the battle. On a full count, Walker blasted a grand slam to left field, giving MSU a 10-6 lead.
"Well, that was against my best buddy from back home," said Walker, "so it was bittersweet. It was great to get a grand slam and turn the game around. All season, I've almost gotten the big hit, so it feels good to finally get it. But you have to feel for Ryan too."
Walker has been one of MSU's hottest hitters. In the past 11 games, he's hitting .357 with two homers and 10 RBI. He leads the team with three homers, and has 22 for his career.
"I'm definitely a warm weather player," said Walker. "I love playing in May when it starts to heat up."
"Sean Walker is really breaking out at the plate," said Coach Grewe. "We need him to swing the bat like he's been doing. Some guys heat up as the season goes along, and some guys need the warm weather. I guess Sean needs the warm weather to heat up."
PERFECT AT THE PLATE: Everything came together for junior center fielder Dennis Jones at the plate Friday afternoon. Jones ripped three straight singles to left field in his first three at-bats, hit a single to right-center in the sixth, and topped it off with a single to center in the eighth. All in all, a 5-for-5 performance with two runs scored. Jones' previous season high was three hits, which he had accomplished twice.
"I just saw the ball exceptionally well today," said Jones. "Today it was simple - see ball, hit ball. I can't ever remember going 5-for-5, maybe in high school, but this is definitely the first time for me in college."
It marked Jones' 15th multiple-hit game of the season.
"Dennis Jones had a huge day going 5-for-5," said Coach Grewe. "When he got to first base, I asked him, `First time?' And he said, `I think so.'"
NEWS & NOTES:
Steve Gerstenberger went 3-for-6, marking the 11th time he has collected at least three more or hits in a game this season.
Dennis Jones went a perfect 5-for-5 at the plate, the second five-hit game for a Spartan this season. Brandon Doherty also went 5-for-5 against Pittsburgh on March 5.
Craig Brookes is now tied with Stuart Hirschman for third in MSU history with 267.1 innings pitched.
Evan Friedland is batting 8-for-14 (.571) with eight RBI in three games this week.
Chris Cullen fired 1.2 innings of scoreless relief. He has not allowed an earned run in his last four outings.
Overall, the Spartan bullpen pitched 3.2 innings of scoreless relief with three strikeouts and only three hits allowed. In addition to Cullen, Nolan Moody pitched a perfect eighth and Tony Clausen pitched a scoreless ninth.
John Lee hit a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning. Lee is now 2-for-6 as a pinch hitter this season.
Michigan State finished the 2007 season with a 5-4 record at Kobs Field.