Spartans Fall to Pepperdine in Stanford Regional, 6-2
A four-run sixth inning for the Waves proves to be the difference.
June 1, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. - Pepperdine starter Jon Moscot threw his sixth complete game of the season and the second-seeded Waves used a four-run sixth inning to defeat third-seeded Michigan State in the first round of the Stanford Regional Friday afternoon at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond.
The Spartans (37-22) now fall into the consolation bracket in the four-team, double elimination regional and will face fourth-seeded Fresno State on Saturday at 4 p.m. EDT (1 p.m. PDT). Stanford defeated the Bulldogs (30-27) in the second game on Friday, 9-1.
"I'm very disappointed in the way that we played," said head coach Jake Boss. "We made a lot of the same mistakes that we've made a lot of the year. We couldn't avoid the big inning - if we make a couple of plays in that (sixth) inning, that four-run inning turns out a lot differently.
"I thought Tony threw well enough to win, and we didn't make enough plays behind him. We weren't able to move runners and drive runners in when we had the chance. We have a big ballgame tomorrow and it's win or go home. We'll be ready to play."
Both teams collected 10 hits in the contest, but the difference proved to be the big four-run sixth for the 24th-ranked Waves. With MSU trailing 2-1, Pepperdine (35-21) took control of the game after putting seven straight men on base to take a commanding 6-1 advantage.
Following a flyout that opened the inning, the Waves collected back-to-back singles, then loaded the bases on a fielding error by first baseman Ryan Krill. Pepperdine designated hitter Matt Forgatch came through with a RBI single to left that made it 3-1, but the next two at-bats really stung Michigan State.
With the Spartan middle infielders playing back for a double play and the corners in to prevent a run, Pepperdine catcher Miles Silverstein hit a check-swing blooper just over Krill's head at first on a ball that didn't leave the infield, but still brought a run home and kept the bases loaded.
Then, on a full-count pitch to the ninth batter, Matt Gelalich delivered a double past Pickens in right field that plated two runs and pushed the lead to 6-1. Gelalich entered the game batting just .202 with 14 RBIs, and with Pickens playing in shallow, Gelalich's double got all the way to the fence in right.
"We got a little unlucky a couple of times," said Boss. "We didn't make a play at first that went for a hit...probably, in my opinion, should have been an error. We didn't get it out on a double play ball, and that forced our first baseman to play in in that situation. If he's back, the check swing is caught. So a couple flukey things at the bottom of the order that hurt us in the box score."
The sixth inning provided Moscot with all the run support he would need. The junior right-hander and first-team West Coast Conference selection allowed 10 hits but yielded just two runs to go along with four strikeouts in improving to 7-5 on the season while throwing 126 pitches.
Following two strong innings by the starting pitchers, Pepperdine broke through with two runs in the third to take a 2-0 lead. The Waves took advantage of a leadoff double by Forgatch by getting a bunt single from Silverstein and then an RBI sacrifice bunt from Gelalich. Silverstein later scored on a sacrifice fly.
MSU strung together three straight singles with two outs and no one on base in the top of the fifth to score its first run of the game. Jones started the rally with a single to right, took third on a hit-and-run with John Martinez, and scored on a Jordan Keur RBI single. Jones had two hits for MSU, while Krill and Pickens also had two hits apiece.
The Spartans appeared to keep the momentum in the bottom half of the fifth after a spectacular relay from Anthony Cheky in center to Jones at second to Fisher at the plate that ended the inning. Standing on first with two outs, Zach Vincej tried to score on a Austin Davidson double that went into the gap in right-center, but was thrown out at home to end the inning.
The momentum was short lived, however, as MSU stranded Joel Fisher on second base with one out in the top of the sixth and the Waves put a four-spot on the board in the bottom half of the inning.
Michigan State left nine runners on base in the game, including five in scoring position.
MSU scored its second run in the seventh on a Martinez sacrifice fly.
Bucciferro (6-4) suffered the loss for Michigan State after surrendering six runs, five earned, on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Jeff Kinley relieved Bucciferro in the sixth and tossed 2 2/3 shutout innings while striking out three.