MSU’s Jordan Keur steps up to bat in Santa Clara series
Under the Friday night lights of Schott Stadium in Santa Clara, California, Michigan State baseball defeated Santa Clara for the first time in the three game series beginning on March 15. Unfortunately for the Spartans, they were without captain, John Martinez, who is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL, partial MCL and torn lateral meniscus. Yet do not fret baseball fans, Martinez will undergo knee surgery and is applying for medical hardship waiver from the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility. Even without the senior, the Spartans were still able to complete the 6-1 win in the first game against Santa Clara.
In the bottom of the first inning, senior Jordan Keur placed the Spartans on the board with an RBI double, scoring Anthony Cheky. Michigan State then jumped their lead to 4-0 with three runs in the bottom of the second inning. The Spartans added two more runs in the eighth inning after Keur crossed the plate and after Justin Hovis scored on a wild pitch in the ninth. Senior pitcher, Andrew Waszak, had an incredible game for the Spartans with five strikeouts and allowing just three hits and no runs in seven innings. Freshman Justin Alleman pitched 1 and 1/3 innings and gave up the only Bronco run in the ninth.
On Saturday, March 16, Michigan State took on Santa Clara again with a doubleheader in Santa Clara, CA. Sweeping the series and recording two more wins for Michigan State, they improved to 9-7, while Santa Clara dropped to 8-12.
In their first weekend sweep of their season, Michigan State took and early lead and held out to win 7-5 in the second game of the series. Blaise Salter hit a two run homerun to left, putting MSU ahead 4-0 early in the second inning, while Cam Gibson went on to score off an RBI double by Cheky. Continuing his strong game at bat, Keur followed up with an RBI single, finishing the second inning. Scoring a run in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, the Broncos threated MSU by slowly catching up at 4-3. Yet the Spartans added another run from a single by Keur in the eighth inning. Santa Clara scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth, but Alleman halted the Broncos rally and got the final out for the Spartans. Thanks to the season high 19-hit game, MSU was able to seal the victory in this doubleheader beginning.
Just hours later in the final game of the series, Michigan State finished the game with a strong 9-1 win. In the bottom of the second, senior Joel Fisher hit a three run homer, again putting the Spartans ahead early. Michigan State continued their momentum into the third and added three more runs to take an overwhelming 6-0 lead. Adding to the lead, Salter scored on a bases-loaded walk, giving easy points to the Spartans. Both Fisher and Ryan Krill added an RBI in the seventh, giving an 8-1 lead for the Spartans. Finally, Jimmy Pickens added another RBI in the ninth, giving Michigan State the 9-1 win and the series sweep. In this final series game, sophomore Mick VanVossen threw for seven innings in the game and allowed just three hits, one run, and recorded a strikeout for MSU. VanVossen gave up the only run on a grounder in the sixth inning, however, the Spartans vastly out hit the Broncos 16-3 in this game two of the doubleheader.
The Spartans host Oakland University this weekend in their home opener at McLane Stadium in East Lansing, MI. This three game series will begin Friday, March 22 at 3:05 p.m. and will continue with a doubleheader on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. and 4:05 p.m.