GREENVILLE, S.C. â€“ For just the seventh time in program history, the Michigan State baseball team is 5-0 to start a season after the Spartans topped Furman, 7-3, Saturday afternoon at the First Pitch Invitational held at Fluor Field. MSU slugged out a season-high 16 hits and Tony Bucciferro pitched 7.1 innings to earn the win for MSU. The Spartans will put their undefeated record on the line Sunday against No. 6 Clemson (4-1) at 1 p.m.
After four scoreless innings, Furman (4-3) was the first team to put runs on the board with two in the bottom of the fifth.
MSU responded with a run in the sixth, as Jeff Holm hit a sacrifice fly to knock in Torsten Boss, who led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on a passed ball.
The Spartans took the lead for good in the seventh, plating four runs to take a 5-2 advantage. Andy Johnson delivered an RBI single to score Justin Scanlon, Ryan Jones hit a two-run double down the left-field line to score Brandon Eckerle and Andrew Carpenter, and Boss finished the scoring with a sacrifice fly that brought home Jones.
Michigan State tacked on two more in the eighth as Boss and Jones both hit RBI singles.
Freshman David Garner relieved Bucciferro in the eighth after the Paladins had already scored a run in the inning. Garner picked up his first collegiate save, striking out three batters in his 1.2 innings to preserve the win.
Eckerle continued his torrid start to the season by going 3-for-4Â in the game, and is now 15-for-20 (.750) through five games in 2011. Jones also had three hits and three RBIs, while Boss, Holm and Scanlon each collected two hits.
MSU also won its first five games of the season in 1964, 1947, 1946, 1941, 1936 and 1915â€¦MSU started out the 1970 season 5-0-1, but tied the second game...Michigan State started out the 1964 season 7-0...the best start in MSU history came in 1946 when the Spartans started out 11-0 under John Kobs...MSU was 6-0 to start out in 1947, 5-0 in 1941, 5-0 in 1936 and 5-0 in 1915.