May 16, 2012

Spartans Drop Chippewas, 5-2, in Clash at Comerica

By Sean Gagnier

The Spartans beat the Central Michigan Chippewas in the second annual "Clash at Comerica," 5-2, completing the series sweep for the season. With the win the Spartans have won all three meetings with Central Michigan this season and extend their streak against the Chippewas to five. The loss also snapped Central Michigan's 10-game win streak.

It was Michigan State's second win in the "Clash at Comerica," having beat the Chippewas 3-1 last season in the inaugural game of the series in Detroit.

Freshman pitcher Mick VanVossen improved to 4-0 on the season, allowing just two runs on five hits in his seven innings pitched. Central Michigan struck early, getting a run in the first inning off VanVossen who then shut them down, recording 10 straight batters and 13 of 14 following the early run.

Michigan State pulled ahead in the second inning when sophomore catcher Joel Fisher launched his first collegiate home run over the left field fence for a two run shot. The homer cleared the bullpens in left and landed in the seats beyond.

In the third Justin Scanlon lead off the inning with a triple and was able to scamper home after an attempted pick-off throw by Chippewa pitcher Rick Dodridge sailed on the third baseman. John Martinez tacked on another run for the Spartans later in the inning when he singled home Torsten Boss.

To lead off the fourth inning Anthony Cheky drew a walk before stealing second base. When the Chippewas catcher Tyler Huntley overthrew second base attempting to catch Cheky stealing and the ball sailed into center field, Cheky was able to advance to third base. Scanlon then singled home Cheky to make the score 5-1.

Things got interesting in the sixth when Central Michigan's Nate Theunissen tried to score from first base on a double to left field by Sam Russell. As Theunissen rounded third and headed for the plate, the Spartans were executing a perfect relay play. Left fielder Jordan Keur grabbed the ball in the outfield and fired it into the cutoff man, shortstop Scanlon, who then was able to gun Theunissen out with a perfect throw to catcher Fisher. 

Central Michigan was able to get to VanVossen for the second time in the game in the bottom of the seventh with a solo home run to right field. VanVossen would finish out the seventh before turning the ball over to the bullpen to close out the game.

Jeff Kinley was called on in the eighth inning to continue his hot streak - and he did, throwing a scoreless eighth. Head Coach Jake Boss, Jr. then turned to his closer Tony Wieber in the ninth. Wieber, the Spartans all-time saves leader, earned his eighth save of the season, tying a career high for a season.

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