Spartan baseball sweeps Siena in doubleheader
Junior right-hander Mick VanVossen and sophomore right-hander Justin Alleman both had solid starts on the mound, giving up only six combined hits and one run.
“When those guys are ahead in the count and throwing strikes early in the count, they’re pretty good,” Head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “Their stuff is really really good and its tough for opposing hitters to really square anything up.”
Here’s a game-by-game breakdown of MSU’s two victories on Saturday afternoon.
The Spartans won the first game of a doubleheader against SIena on a warm, sunny Saturday afternoon, 4-0.
VanVossen led the winning effort with 10 strikeouts at the plate in nine innings pitched. Junior first baseman Blaise Salter had two RBI's for MSU.
Despite it being only his second career complete game, VanVossen said he felt like he was getting stronger at the end of the game.
“Probably the strongest I was in the eighth (when) I struck out the side,” VanVossen said. “Everything was working, the slider was sharp and the fastball I could put it pretty much anywhere I wanted to so the stamina factor really didn’t hit at all today.”
MSU struck first in the first inning as Salter reached home for an unearned run after junior outfielder Jimmy Pickens was caught stealing second base.
After a four-inning scoring drought by both teams, MSU put the game away in the sixth.
Following consecutive walks, Salter stepped to the plate at the bottom of the sixth with an opportunity to increase the lead. Junior outfield Anthony Cheky and reshirt junior infielder Ryan Richardson stole third and second after a ball led to a stall in the defense.
Salter grounded a single to middle field to score Cheky and Richardson, pushing MSU's lead to 3-0.
Following a wild pitch on the next at-bat by Pickens, Salter stole second and third, setting up another scoring opportunity. Pickens was then walked to first base.
With Gibson at the plate and runners on first and third, Siena completed a double play to out Gibson and Pickens. But Salter reached home plate, increasing the MSU lead to 4-0 and sealing the win.
VanVossen was electric in the bottom of the eighth, striking out three consecutive Siena batters — the first swinging, the remaining two looking.
The Spartans won game two against Siena in commanding fashion, 6-1.
Alleman struck out seven hitters in 7.2 innings pitched, allowing three hits. Junior outfielder Anthony Cheky and redshirt junior infielder Ryan Richardson each had two RBI's.
Alleman said there was a benefit of watching VanVossen’s stellar performance in the first leg of the doubleheader, but also created pressure for himself to match VanVossen’s performance.
“Puts a little bit more pressure on you seeing him pitch a complete game so you have to be focused from the beginning,” Alleman said. “Saw a lot of quick ground ball outs and tried to keep it low in the zone.”
The Spartans scored the first two runs of the game. At the bottom of the second, Nate hit a single, and Nate and Smith were both walked after being hit by pitches.
Cheky stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and hit a single to score freshman infielder Johnny Nate and sophomore outfielder Hunter Smith, giving MSU a 2-0 lead.
Cheky managed to steal second base after Richardson stepped to the plate. Richardson proceeded to fly out to right field to score freshman infielder Dan Durkin, pushing the lead to 3-0.
Freshman outfielder Dan Swain got Siena on the board at the top of the fourth inning, hitting a single up the middle to score junior infielder Justin Esquerra.
MSU responded at the bottom of the fourth to make it a 4-1 lead. Richardson singled to right field to score Smith, who slid to home base.
Siena inserted pitcher Matt Quintana after starting pitcher Ed Lewicki took a hit to the ankle. Johnny Nate grounded out at the bottom of the fifth but scored Gibson, increasing the lead to 5-1.
MSU added a final run in the seventh inning. Senior catcher Joel Fisher flied out to center field, scoring Pickens.