|Photo from Michigan State Baseball Facebook Page|
It may have taken a career game by Tony Bucciferro but the Spartans went into Cincinnati and beat the Bearcats 4-3 on Friday. Bucciferro, the Spartans right-handed ace, fanned a career-high 10 batters while pitching his way to his 23rd career victory.
With the win, Bucciferro (3-1) moves into a tie for fourth in all-time wins for Michigan State with Larry Ike and Brian Wolcott. His 10 strikeouts also pushes Bucciferro over 200 for his career, becoming only the third Spartan to accomplish such a feat.
The Spartans scored first off a Torsten Boss sacrifice fly in the first to score Andrew Cheky. Bucciferro then surrendered two runs in the bottom of the inning giving Cincinnati a 2-1 lead going into the 2nd inning.
The two runs would be the only the Bearcats would get off Bucciferro who had a highlight reel game, retiring 10 consecutive Cincinnati batters at one point.
Michigan State would knot the game at two in the fourth when a Ryan Krill single allowed Jimmy Pickens to reach the plate. The Spartans would then jump out the the lead in the sixth when Pickens again reached the plate, this time off the bat of John Martinez.
Boss then added one more to the Spartans tally in the seventh when he knocked home Jordan Keur on a double. Bucciferro would give up the ball in the eighth and was relieved by Trey Popp who then promptly gave up three hits to his first four batters, including a leadoff home run in the inning that cut into the Spartans lead, 4-3.
Head Coach Jake Boss Jr. called on Saturday's starter, David Garner, who came into the eighth with his team up one and runners on second and third with just one out. Garner then fanned his first batter before walking the bases loaded and getting the final out of the inning on a looking strikeout.
Coach Boss then gave the ball to his closer, Tony Wieber, in the ninth and he made short work of the Bearcats. Wieber fanned all three batters in the ninth and picked up his fourth save of the season and 13th of his career.
His 13 saves puts Wieber one save away from a tie with Brad Lamont for the Michigan State record. Including Wieber's three and Bucciferro's 10, Spartan pitchers recorded 15 strikeouts on Friday.