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Spartan Baseball Complete Series Sweep Over Cincinnati

MSU wins series finale on Sunday, 9-4.

CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Michigan State baseball team won for the sixth time in its last seven games and completed a series sweep at Cincinnati with a 9-4 victory on Sunday afternoon at Marge Schott Stadium.

The Spartans (10-7) matched their season high with 16 hits, led by Ryan Jones, who went 3-for-6 with four RBIs, including a bases-clearing double in the second that gave MSU a commanding 5-0 lead. Jordan Keur and Tony Wieber also collected three hits apiece for the Green and White.

“I’m very pleased with how we played this weekend,” said MSU head coach Jake Boss, as the Spartans also recorded a 4-3 win on Friday and a 5-4, 14-inning victory on Saturday. “Going into the series, we really wanted to focus on playing a complete game, in terms of pitching, hitting and fielding, and today I think we did that. I think we played our best game of the year, which is encouraging. It’s tough to get a sweep against any team, especially on the road and against a good opponent from the Big East.”

The five runs in the first two innings gave Spartan starter Mike Theodore plenty of run support, something he hasn’t had in his first three starts. Although Theodore entered the game with a 0.89 ERA and had allowed just one earned run in 19 innings as a starter, he was still looking for his first win.

Theodore earned that elusive win today after scattering six hits and giving up two runs in his five innings of work. The Bloomfield Hills, Mich., native attended Tennessee but did not see action in 2010, and had to sit out the 2011 season after transferring to MSU.

“I’m really happy for Mike to get his first collegiate victory, it was a long time coming,” said Boss. “He’s gone through a lot the past couple of years. He battled today and put us in a position for the win.”

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The Bearcats (8-9) scored their only two runs off Theodore in the third, but the Spartans responded right away in the fourth, as Jones drove in his fourth run of the game with a single to make it 6-2.

MSU extended its lead to 7-2 on a John Martinez RBI double in the top of the seventh. In the eighth, Keur delivered an RBI single and pinch hitter Jimmy Pickens walked with the bases loaded.

Freshman Mick VanVossen, who was selected in last June’s MLB First-Year Player Draft by Texas but elected to attend Michigan State, made his collegiate debut in relief of Theodore to start the sixth. VanVossen pitched 2 2/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits to go along with two strikeouts and two walks.

“I was excited for Mick to get out there on the mound after a minor injury kept him out for the first few weeks,” remarked Boss. “He’s going to be a real good pitcher for us in the future, and showed glimpses of that promise today.”

Fellow freshman Mike Mestdagh closed things out for the Spartans on the mound, striking out three in his 1 1/3 innings of action.

For Boss, it marked the 11th series sweep for the Spartans during his tenure in East Lansing, which adds to his school-record total. The current stretch of six wins in seven games started with a 4-0 shutout victory at No. 25 Baylor and also includes a 15-inning win over Seton Hall and a 14-inning win against Cincinnati yesterday.

“Our guys are very confident and keep competing and playing hard until the final out,” said Boss. “I think that speaks to the leadership on this team.”

After playing their first 17 games on the road, the Spartans will play their first home games of the season next weekend (March 23-25) at McLane Baseball Stadium against Oakland. Opening Day is set for Friday, March 23 at 3:05 p.m.