Thursday, December 2, 2021

Wins put team alone in third place

Spartans remain in Big Ten title race with victories

May 17, 2004
MSU junior outfielder, Travis Gulick slides head first under Iowa infielder Andy Lytle at Kobs Field. The Spartans battled Penn State over the weekend. —

The MSU baseball team kept its hopes alive for a Big Ten title by winning its weekend series at Penn State after a 7-4 victory Sunday afternoon.

The Spartans (30-22 overall, 17-11 Big Ten) defeated Penn State (27-24, 16-12) in three of four games, making the Spartans the first Big Ten team this season to take a series from the Nittany Lions.

With Sunday's win, the Spartans jogged ahead of Penn State for third place in the Big Ten standings. MSU stands one game behind second place Ohio State, and no more than two games behind first place Minnesota.

"I don't think they've lost all year," MSU head coach Ted Mahan said of Penn State's success in Big Ten series.

"It just shows how well we played on the road - for us to take a bus trip for eight hours and play well, we are very confident."

Sunday the Spartans rang out 14 hits led by senior third baseman James Moreno, who had three of his own including a home run, three RBI and two runs scored.

With his offensive explosion, Moreno said he believes senioritis coupled with the season coming to a halt had something to do with his play.

"You can say that," Moreno said. "It's getting to that part of the year.

"You have to win games to stay in the playoff hunt and even the championship hunt."

After a 3-2 loss to Penn State in the opener of Saturday's doubleheader, the Spartans' bats were swinging.

Freshman left fielder Ryan Basham hit two home runs against a Nittany Lions pitching staff which had allowed only one home run in 18 contests prior to Saturday's second game.

Basham matched career highs with three hits and four RBIs in the victory, while sophomore center fielder Alan Cattrysse had three hits, a run and two RBIs.

Both played roles in leading the Spartans to a 11-5 victory. Friday the Spartans traveled to University Park, Pa., to begin the weekend battle with the Nittany Lions, notching a 7-3 victory in the series opener.

Senior pitcher Bryan Gale allowed three hits and two unearned runs in eight innings of service en route to his 28th career win, tying him with Stuart Hirschman (1990-93) for all-time career victories for Spartans pitchers.

Gale, who improved his record to 4-3, struck out six batters and walked two. Gale pitches again next Friday to open the Spartans' regular season series finale.

"I mean it's important," Gale said of getting his 28th win. "But it's more important to get the first win of the series and draw first blood.

"I honestly didn't believe I would get the record. I thought I would be a reliever for a few years. I thought I would be successful, but in a small role."

The Spartans' only runs came in two innings led by the offensive production of freshman shortstop Troy Krider, junior catcher Erik Morris and sophomore second baseman Oliver Wolcott.

Krider had two hits with two RBI and a run scored, while Morris had three RBIs and Wolcott added two hits.

MSU has not lost a Big Ten series now, since going 1-3 in a weekend series at Purdue, April 23-25.

The Spartans play at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Central Michigan before concluding the regular season next weekend with a series against Northwestern at Kobs Field.

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