After dropping Friday’s series opener in extra innings, 5-3, MSU picked up two close victories on Saturday, winning the first game 7-6 and the second 2-1. The final game of the series was moved from Sunday to Saturday because of anticipated bad weather on Sunday afternoon.
The two wins improve the Spartans to 10-2 in their last 12 games, and the victories keep MSU (20-13 overall, 5-4 Big Ten) in the upper half of the conference standings.
MSU and Purdue (7-24, 3-6) needed a couple of extra innings to decide Friday’s contest, with the Boilermakers finally stealing the win in the 11th inning. MSU tied the game at 3 in the bottom of the eighth on a sac fly from senior catcher Joel Fisher, scoring junior outfielder Chase Toth from third base.
However, MSU wouldn’t be able to generate much offense after that, with Purdue scoring two runs in the top of the 11th on three hits and a Spartan error.
“We had chances and just didn’t get it done,” head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “Credit to Purdue for hanging in there. That was a fairly well-played ball game until the last inning. We had plenty of opportunities to win the ball game and just didn’t get it done.”
Saturday held better fortune for the Spartans, with MSU using timely offense to win the first game of the doubleheader and a gem of an outing from freshman pitcher Cam Vieaux in the second.
After falling behind 4-0, MSU scored two runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings along with one more in the seventh to pick up the 7-6 victory. Junior center fielder Anthony Cheky was swinging a hot bat for MSU on Saturday, including a 3-for-5 outing in the first game with one RBI. He also went 2-for-4 in the second game and scored two runs.
Junior Jeff Kinley came in to relieve sophomore starting pitcher Justin Alleman and picked up the win after 2 solid innings for MSU. Kinley gave up only two hits and no earned runs.
The second game of the doubleheader saw a defensive battle between the two Big Ten foes, with Vieaux pitching a complete game for MSU. Vieaux picked up the win for MSU, only giving up one earned run on five hits and also registering six strikeouts.
Junior right fielder Jimmy Pickens drove in the game-winning run for MSU in the bottom of the fifth on a single through the left side to make it 2-1. Pickens finished the game with two hits and one RBI.
MSU returns to the field Tuesday against Notre Dame.
The game begins at 3:05 p.m. at home.