Mar 9, 2012

Spartans Rally Pushes Them Past Xavier

Photo from MSU Baseball Facebook Page
By Sean Gagnier

The Spartans headed to Port Charlotte, Fla. to compete in the Snowbird Classic and their first opponent was Xavier. Michigan State rallied for the lead in the bottom of the seventh to claim a 6-5 lead after scoring three runs in the inning. They would go on to add two more runs in the eighth to bring the final to 8-5.

In the seventh the Spartans did their damage with two outs, striking for three straight hits to rally for three runs. Anthony Cheky made his second collegiate start in center field and started the seventh inning rally with a single before stealing second, his second swipe of the game. Torsten Boss then drove home Cheky on an RBI double before Ryan Jones singled in Boss, tying the game at five.

A Jimmy Pickens double down the right field line scored Jones before he was caught in a run-down to end the inning. Ryan Krill started the Spartans off in the eighth when he drove a double to the right center field wall that scored Justin Scanlon before he himself came to the plate on a balk and an error in the field.

Spartans starter Tony Bucciferro had an uncharacteristically poor outing, being charged with all five Xavier runs while surrendering seven hits, walking two and fanning four during his 6.2 innings on the mound. Bryce Jenney came on in relief of Bucciferro and although he allowed one of the runners he inherited from Bucciferro to score he threw a scoreless eighth and picked up his first win as a Spartan. 

Tony Wieber came on to throw his usual ninth inning and sat Xavier down in order to record his third save of the season. His 12 career saves now places his second all time for the Spartans with Mike Ericson and Domanick Squires.

The key to the Spartans recent wins and their ability to hang with the top teams in the country is that Coach Jake Boss Jr. has them running the base paths - the Spartans have stolen eight bases in the last two games, three from Cheky who is making a name for himself in his first two collegiate starts.

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