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WEB ONLY: 'U' baseball defeats Eastern Michigan, 12-8

April 29, 2004
Sophomore infielder Alan Cattrysse high-fives teammates after hitting a homerun during the end of the third inning Wednesday night at Oldsmobile Park while playing Eastern Michigan University. —

Lansing - The Spartans said they wanted a tune-up for their series against Michigan this weekend.

Eastern Michigan provided it.

The MSU baseball team (21-18 overall) used a seven-run third inning and a handful of pitchers to defeat the Eagles 12-8 Wednesday night in front of more than 2,100 fans at Oldsmobile Park.

"We're swinging the bats well," said MSU manager Ted Mahan, whose team tallied 14 hits and scored 12 runs for the second-straight game. "The wind was blowing out, and with our hitting the wind blowing out definitely worked to our advantage."

The big third inning began with an opposite field single by freshman shortstop Troy Krider, which was followed by a double off the right field wall by junior first baseman Erik Morris. Sophomore second baseman Oliver Wolcott knocked in Krider and moved Morris to third with a sacrifice fly to right field.

After junior right fielder Travis Gulick walked and senior third baseman James Moreno doubled to left-center field, freshman catcher Sean Walker came to the plate swinging for more than the fences.

Walker drove a curve ball over the left field fence, above the 50-foot netting behind the wall and into the middle of a group of cars driving on Cedar Street to give MSU a 6-3 lead.

"I started my home-run trot right away," said Walker, who extended his hitting streak to seven games and hit his fifth-round tripper in that same span. "I'm just hitting the ball well. I go up there knowing I'm going to get a hit."

Three batters later, sophomore center fielder Alan Cattrysse used the 20-mile-per-hour wind gusts to his advantage, barely clearing the center field wall with a two-run home run.

The Eagles (22-16) cut into the Spartans' lead with two runs in the top of the sixth, but MSU added three more in the bottom half of the inning to end the drama.

On the last play of the game, left fielder Ryan Basham dropped a fly ball just inside the left field line which scored the final two Eastern runs. But shortly after the final runner crossed the plate, Basham gunned down the hitter - Eagles right fielder Ryan Arnett - who tried to stretch a single into a double to end the game.

Sophomore right hander Chris Toepper picked up the win for MSU, throwing the first three innings and striking out one. Right hander Matt Dillard got the loss for Eastern.

"It was a good relief," Toepper said of MSU's seven-run third inning. "I was disappointed with how I was throwing, but that allowed me to relax."

The Spartans return to action this weekend with a four-game series against Michigan. Friday's game is set for 3 p.m. in Ann Arbor; Kobs Field will play host to Saturday's doubleheader, beginning at 1 p.m. and the teams will return to Ann Arbor for the 1 p.m. series finale Sunday.

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