DeLand, Fla. - Junior catcher Kyle Day had three hits - including a grand slam - and senior Chris Cullen threw five solid innings as the Michigan State baseball team defeated Connecticut, 11-1, Sunday afternoon at Stetson's Melching Field. MSU scored six runs in the top of the fifth inning and four more in the seventh. The Spartans finish the season-opening tournament with a 2-1 record. Connecticut falls to 0-3.
Cullen (1-0) was in control from the opening pitch, allowing just one run on three hits in 5.0 innings. He struck out three and walked two.
After Connecticut took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third, Day scored on a single by senior infielder Steve Gerstenberger in the fourth to tie the game 1-1.
Michigan State, who defeated host Stetson in 10 innings on Friday night, would break the game open in the fifth. Freshman infielder Jonathan Roof singled to lead off the inning, and senior first baseman Evan Friedland was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second with one out. After a wild pitch moved Roof and Friedland into scoring position, freshman designated hitter A.J. Shindler walked to load the bases for Day, who smashed a 2-2 pitch from UConn's Elliot Glynn over the centerfield fence.
MSU's very next batter, senior outfielder Justin Potes, doubled to left and scored on a single by Gerstenberger to extend MSU's lead to 7-1.
The Spartans struck four more times in the top of the seventh, keyed by a three-run homer by Roof. After senior Dennis Jones smacked an RBI single to left with Gerstenberger on base, Roof clubbed the first pitch of the at-bat over the leftfield fence to give MSU a commanding 11-1 lead.
Gerstenberger went 3-for-4 with two RBI, while Roof finished 2-for-4 with two runs and three RBI. Jones went 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI while making several running catches in centerfield. Freshman A.J. Achter relieved Cullen and threw
The Spartans touched up Huskies starter Glynn for seven runs on nine hits over five innings. The four-run seventh came against reliever Dan Mahoney.
Michigan State will play nine games in 11 days, beginning with four games at the lamar Invitational beginning Thursday, Feb. 28 in Beaumont, Texas. MSU then plays a two-game set at LSU before returning to Texas to play three games at the Rice Invitational.