The baseball team (18-15 overall, 4-5 Big Ten) cruised to a 14-3 victory over the Northwestern Wildcats (9-24 overall, 3-6 Big Ten) in the third game of a three game series on a beautiful sunny spring day in East Lansing in front of 1,305 fans on Sunday afternoon.
This one was never in doubt for the Spartans as they controlled the game out of the gates. MSU's first of four three-run innings came at the beginning as five of the first six Spartan batters hit safely en route to a 3-0 lead after one.
The Wildcats brought it to within two at the top of the fourth but another three-run inning for MSU in the bottom of the frame gave MSU a commanding 6-1 lead.
The Spartans followed a strong fourth inning with a strong fifth in which they put up yet another three runs to take a 9-1 lead.
Heading into the sixth, Spartans starting pitcher senior Mick VanVossen already had 97 pitches. After getting back-to-back outs it seemed to be the right call to bring him back in with a high pitch count. However, back-to-back singles scored one for Northwestern to make it 9-2.
VanVossen stayed in and closed the inning out , limiting the damage. The senior pitcher had been struggling this season, but his performance on the day should be a confidence booster going forward. VanVossen finished the day with six innings pitched, six strikeouts and two earned runs on 112 pitches.
"Nothing you can do about the past so I'm just trying to string together good performances...today definitely helps (with confidence)," Van Vossen said.
The Spartans got that run right back in the bottom of the frame and added another in the bottom of the seventh to take an 11-2 lead.
Northwestern added one more in the eighth to make it 11-3, but another three MSU runs in the bottom of the frame made it 14-3 where it would ultimately remain.
The Spartans have now won six of their last seven games and seem to be getting hot at a key time in their season.
Several Spartans had big days, three of the biggest performances came out of—senior first baseman Ryan Krill went 5-for-6 with six RBI, senior outfielder Anthony Cheky went 4-for-4 with twi runs and two RBI and junior outfielder Cam Gibson went 3-for-4 with four runs and a RBI.
The Wildcats had their share of opportunities totaling 12 hits on the day but solid defense from MSU with runners in scoring position limited Northwestern to just three runs. MSU finished the day 20-for-42 as a team.
"Ryan Krill had a huge day, Anthony Cheky has been really locked in, Mick VanVossen I thought battled on the mound," head coach Jake Boss Jr. said "All-in-all you put an offensive effort together like that and it's going to be a good day.
MSU will take on Michigan at Comerica Park in Detroit on Tuesday, it will be the only time the two meet this season.
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