GREENVILLE, S.C. â€“ Fueled by a three-run first inning, the Michigan State baseball team held off Furman, 4-2, Friday night in the second game of the First Pitch Invitational at Fluor Field. The Spartans (3-2) defeated Miami-Ohio earlier in the day, 13-4.
Ryan Jones, who went 2-for-4 in the game and 5-for-9 on the day, led off the game with a solo homer, quickly giving MSU a 1-0 lead. The Spartans werenâ€™t done, however, as Justin Scanlon followed with a single and Torsten Boss hit a double to place runners on second and third with no outs. A sacrifice fly from Jordan Keur brought home Scanlon, while a Jared Hook groundout plated Boss.
â€œWe came out early and had some momentum, but give their pitcher (Bobby Lyne) credit, he threw well,â€ said MSU head coach Jake Boss. â€œWe just had some good hits; Ryan came through with an opposite field homer, and we also had some productive outs. Fortunately we got to him early, because he really settled in.â€
Furman (2-4) responded with one run in the bottom of the first on a Will Miller solo homer. But after giving up the home run, Spartan starter Andrew Waszak (1-0) shut down the Paladins for the next four innings.
The Paladins got to Waszak again with an RBI groundout in the sixth, trimming the Michigan State lead to 3-2.
Junior southpaw Trey Popp relieved Waszak in the seventh. Waszak went six innings and struck out four while onlyÂ giving up three hits and two runs.Â Â
Although Popp allowed a one-out double to Heath Burton, Spartan catcher John Martinez threw out Burton at third base on a stolen base attempt, erasing the Paladin threat.
â€œThat was a big play by John,â€ said Boss. â€œHe did a great job of executing the throw, and Andrew (Carpenter) made a nice play on the tag. That was a huge moment in the game.â€
The Spartans added an insurance run in the top of the ninth. With runners on first and third and no one out, Jones grounded into a double play, but it did drive home Ryan Krill to make it 4-2 in favor of MSU.
Junior closer Tony Wieber retired the Paladins in order in the eighth, but ran into some trouble in the ninth.
Following a flyout to open inning, Furman rattled off back-to-back singles to put the tying runners on base.
Wieber came back to record a strikeout, and a fielderâ€™s choice grounder to third base ended the Paladin threat.
â€œAndrew definitely deserved the win,â€ said Boss. â€œAnd Tony Wieber once again was really good in the late innings for us.â€
Â Defensively, Carpenter turned in an all-around impressive game at third base, recording nine assists.
â€œAndrew simply made every play tonight,â€ said Boss. â€œHe made exciting plays, tough plays, and the routine play. He has a strong arm and made some great throws. It was fitting that he recorded the last out of the game to give us the win.â€
Michigan State returns to action for its third game of the First Pitch Invitational Saturday against Furman at 4 p.m.
QUOTES ON 13-4 WIN OVER MIAMI-OHIO (RECAP PREVIOUSLY SENT):
On the 11-run third inning:
â€œI thought our approach was great early in the game,â€ said Boss. â€œHitting is contagious, and we really got things rolling and put together some quality at-bats. We were really seeing the ball good. It was too bad we couldnâ€™t keep it going throughout the whole game, but weâ€™ll definitely take that big inning.â€
On Tony Bucciferro:
â€œAll in all, I thought Tony was OK and battled through some things. There were rain delays, and as a pitcher, those long innings can make it tougher to pitch when you have to wait. When he got out of the sixth without giving up a run, I thought that was the time to take him out.â€