Feb. 22, 2013
Greenville, S.C. - Under threatening skies and amidst a sporadic drizzle, Michigan State scored four unanswered runs to erase Western Carolina's early one-run lead Friday afternoon, downing the Catamounts 4-1 in the First Pitch Invitational held at Fluor Field.
WCU (3-2) entered Friday's game atop the Southern Conference in fielding percentage, committing just one error through its first four games of the year. However, the Catamounts were plagued by seven miscues in the field against the Spartans.
The Catamounts managed to out-hit Michigan State, 5-to-4, on the afternoon with senior Tyler White collecting two of WCU's base knocks. White finished 2-for-3 on the day, picking-up his team-leading eighth RBI on his first double of the season in the top of the first inning to give the Catamounts a one-run lead they would enjoy until the home half of the third.
Aaron Attaway doubled to open the game before Julian Ridings sacrificed him to third base ahead of White. The Forest City, N.C., native then drove a 1-1 pitch to the outfield for a two-base hit, plating Attaway for the lead.
In addition to White's two-bagger, Attaway and Hoyle also doubled for the Catamounts.
After putting three men aboard in the top of the first - and adding a sacrifice hit - WCU only managed six base runners the remainder of the afternoon. The Catamounts threatened in the third as White was plunked by a pitch ahead of Hoyle who doubled to put runners at second and third with two out. Yet, Cody Jones struck out swinging to end the inning and started a stretch of eight-straight retired by Michigan State pitching before Hoyle drew a one-out walk in the top of the sixth inning.
White singled with two out in the eighth and Jones reached on a wild pitch after a strikeout to cap WCU's men on base in the loss.
As the designated home team, Michigan State (2-1) scored the tying and go-ahead runs in the bottom of the third inning. Consecutive freebies in a walk and hit batsman put two aboard before an error allowed both runners to advance 90 feet. Ryan Richardson then drove in the tying run on a sharp ground out to short with the eventual game-winning marker scoring on an error in centerfield.
The Spartans added insurance runs in the fifth and seventh innings. Richardson lifted a one-out single to right in the fifth before taking second on an outfield error. He was driven in by the next batter, Jordan Keur on a RBI single. In the seventh, Anthony Cheky doubled before stealing third, eventually scoring on another Catamount error to provide the final tally.
Keur finished 2-for-4 at the plate to lead the Spartans.
Sophomore Jeremy Null (1-1) suffered the loss for the Catamounts, surrendering three earned runs on three hits through five innings of work on Friday afternoon. The Claremont, N.C., native struck out five against just one walk in his second start of the season.
Hunter Brister tossed a one-hit inning and two-thirds out of the bullpen with a strikeout while freshman Jonathan Waszak worked a third of an inning in relief. Bryce Danielson completed the final frame issuing a walk and facing four batters.
All told, all four runs allowed by WCU on Friday were unearned.
Andrew Waszak of Michigan State earned the victory, striking out eight in six innings of work, limiting WCU to the one earned run on four hits. Jeff Kinley picked up his second save of the season, tossing the final three frames of one-hit relief, fanning seven Catamounts.
Western Carolina returns to action in the First Pitch Invitational on Saturday morning, facing the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks at 10:00 am. WCU junior right-hander Jordan Smith (1-0, 9.00 ERA) will face another junior in MU's Mac Thoreson (0-1, 6.75 ERA).