EAST LANSING, Mich. - Preseason all-conference selection Ryan Basham went 2-for-4 with three RBI as Michigan State baseball blanked Western Illinois, 7-0, in the Spartans home opener Saturday afternoon at Kobs Field. Reliever Craig Brookes (1-2) earned his first win of the season, surrendering just four hits while striking out three in 3.0 innings of work. MSU (7-8) and WIU (4-17) conclude the three-game series with a doubleheader on Sunday at 11 a.m.
"I was very pleased with the way our team came out in our home opener and played with pride and intensity," MSU head coach David Grewe stated. "We came up with clutch hitting and great two-out hits."
Adam Tripp came up with the first big two-out hit in the Spartans' opening at bat, cracking a two-run triple to give the Green and White a 2-0 advantage. Basham extended that lead in the third inning, recording his first of three RBI of the day, roping a single to right center to score Jamey Embree.
Ahead 3-0, MSU posted back-to-back two-run innings in the third and the fourth. Three of the final four runs were scored with two outs. With a 7-0 lead, Michigan State put the game on cruise control as its bullpen completed the 7-0 shutout.
"We had great starting pitching in John Dwan, and our bullpen threw the ball extremely well," Grewe commented.
Pitching the first four innings without allowing a run on just four hits, Dwan set reliever Brookes up for his first win of the year. Nolan Moody and Chris Cullen also took the hill for the Spartans.
Ryan Schmidgall and Travis Check combined for six of WIU's 10 hits. The Leathernecks out-hit the Spartans, 10-8.