Spartans Defeat Central Michigan, 5-2, in Clash at Comerica
MSU completes series sweep over the Chippewas.
May 15, 2012
DETROIT - The Michigan State baseball team defeated Central Michigan before a crowd of 3,458 in the second "Clash at Comerica" Tuesday night, 5-2, completing the series sweep over the Chippewas. The Spartans (34-17) won their fifth straight over Central Michigan and snapped CMU's 10-game winning streak in the process.
MSU beat Central Michigan on March 28 in East Lansing, 6-5, and on April 18 in Mount Pleasant, 11-1. It also marks the Spartans' second straight win in the "Clash at Comerica", as they topped the Chippewas last season, 3-1.
"I want to thank everyone at Central Michigan for putting this (event) on," said MSU head coach Jake Boss after the game. "It's a thrill for us to come down and play in this beautiful ballpark. The Tigers are just tremendous in the way they treat us. I know that (CMU Athletics Director) Dave (Heeke) and his staff have worked a lot of hours to make sure this thing goes off without a hitch, and they've done it again for the second year in a row.
"It's tough to beat a team three times in a year, and we were fortunate to do that. Central Michigan has an outstanding ballclub and they have a very good chance to win their conference this weekend."
Freshman right-hander Mick VanVossen remained perfect on the season, improving to 4-0 after allowing just two runs on five hits in seven innings of work. After giving up one run in the first, VanVossen settled in and retired 10 batters in a row and 13 of 14 during one stretch.
"Mick was really good today," said Boss. "He got the jitters out I think after the first. It was kind of a frustrating day at the plate for us. I think we missed out on some opportunities, but overall it was a good day for Spartan baseball."
The Spartans jumped out in front 2-1 in the top of the second as sophomore catcher Joel Fisher hit his first collegiate homer, a deep two-run shot that cleared the 345-foot fence in left field and sailed over the bullpen and into the seats.
MSU extended its lead to 4-1 in the third. Justin Scanlon delivered a leadoff triple and came home to score after an errant pickoff throw to first by CMU starter Rick Dodridge went down the right-field line, and John Martinez added an RBI single to plate Torsten Boss.
In the fourth, the Spartan leadoff batter scored for the third consecutive inning. Anthony Cheky walked, stole second, and moved to third on a throwing error by Chippewa catcher Tyler Huntey. Scanlon then made it 5-1 in favor of Michigan State with his RBI single that scored Cheky.
The key defensive play of the game came in the bottom of the sixth, as Central Michigan's Sam Russell doubled to left field and Nate Theunissen tried for score from first, but was thrown out at the plate on a perfect relay from left fielder Jordan Keur to Scanlon at shorstop to Fisher at the plate.
"At first I didn't think he was going to send him," said Scanlon. "It was a great throw by our left fielder Jordan, good communication by our second baseman Ryan (Jones) to let me know that he was going, and I just turned around and threw the ball as hard as I could."
"That relay was huge - that stopped all the momentum they could have had," said VanVossen. "It felt good pitching in front of our defense today."
After five scoreless innings, Central Michigan (28-26) finally scored another run off VanVossen in the seventh on a solo homer to right field by Eric Wrozek.
The Spartan bullpen closed out the game to seal the victory for VanVossen. Jeff Kinley pitched a scoreless eighth, and Tony Wieber earned his eighth save of the season by finishing it off in the ninth. The eight saves ties a career high for Wieber and ranks tied for third most in a season by a Spartan pitcher.
Scanlon led MSU at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two walks, while Cheky reached base three times with two walks and a single.
Dodridge (2-6) suffered the loss after surrendering four runs on five hits in 2 1/3 innings.
The Spartans return to action for a three-game series against Penn State at McLane Baseball Stadium, beginning Thursday at 3:05 p.m.