MSU baseball completes weekend sweep over Northwestern with 15-3 victory
Donning red, white and blue, the MSU baseball team (24-17 overall, 8-7 Big Ten) secured a 15-3 win on Sunday to complete a weekend over the Northwestern Wildcats.
The day's game was in honor of the armed forces, and members of the military threw the honorary first pitch.
The Spartans had a strong command over the field in the first three innings, allowing only two hits and no runs.
In the first inning, MSU started strong. The walked leadoff hitter, Cam Gibson, was advanced to second after a single by designated Blaise Salter. Junior right fielder Jimmy Pickens hit another single for the RBI.
The rally continued with a sacrifice bunt by redshirt junior shortstop Ryan Richardson, allowing Salter to score.
A pair of errors by Wildcats shortstop Cody Stevens and second baseman Scott Heelan allowed Pickens to touch home for one more run, before a strikeout by second baseman Johnny Nate ended the first inning.
After the game, coach Jake Boss Jr. said the strong momentum in the first inning was an important part of the team's performance.
"Sundays can be a high scoring affair, so to get momentum early is going to be really important," Boss said. "When you put up a big number in the first you want to try to add on to it. We were able to do that in the second inning."
The rally spirit continued in the second inning for the Spartans, where the team scored a whopping five runs.
A third error in the bottom of the second allowed Gibson to enter scoring position, where he was batted in by Salter.
Pickens was intentionally walked and a single by Richardson allowed junior center fielder Anthony Cheky to score.
But the runs did not stop there. A hit by senior catcher Joel Fisher brought Pickens in and a huge double by first baseman Ryan Krill scored two more runs. At the end of the second inning, the Spartans held an eight run lead.
The Spartans made quick work of the Wildcats in the third inning, with two K's for redshirt freshman LHP Cam Vieaux and a line out to center field.
In the fourth inning, the Wildcats fought back, with a single by first baseman Zack Jones and a double by center fielder Jack Mithcell to start off the inning. While base-running, Jones was injured at third and Jake Schieber came in as a substitute.
Schieber made it home after a bunt RBI by catcher Jake Straub. A fielder's choice RBI by Stevens allowed Mitchell to come in for Nothwestern's second run.
The Spartans took the batters box to retaliate with two runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth. Singles from Salter and Pickens put two runners on base and a wild pitch by Northwestern RHP Jack Quigley advanced both.
A hit to left field by Fisher sent both Salter and Pickens in for two more.
In the fifth inning Nate scored off a RBI from Cheky. Salter came in after Cheky to hit a home run, putting two more on the board for a total of 13 runs for MSU at the end of the fifth.
After a three up, three down inning for the Spartans in the sixth inning, they returned in the seventh with even more runs.
A single by freshman second baseman Dan Durkin and a double by sophomore infielder PJ Nowak scored one run, with another error by Northwestern second baseman Scott Heelan, resulting in second run by Nowak.
In the top of the eight, Northwestern tacks on another run with a solo home run by designated hitter RJ Watters. However, the Wildcats were unable to keep the momentum going, with only one other hit before retiring to the field.