EVANSTON, Ill. - Junior Kyle Day went 2-for-4 with a grand slam and seven RBI and senior Justin Potes added a three-run homer as the Michigan State offense erupted for its highest run total of the season in a 12-6 victory over Northwestern Friday afternoon at NU's Rocky Miller Park. Senior right-hander Mike Monterey pitched six innings for his first win of the season. Seniors Steve Gerstenberger and Dennis Jones each walked twice and scored twice and freshman Jonathan Roof added a late solo home run for the Spartans.
Leading 7-3 after five innings, senior Brandon Doherty and Jones led off the top of the sixth by reaching on errors. With one out, Northwestern opted to intentionally walk Gerstenberger to load the bases and set up the double play. Day made the Wildcats pay for that decision by pulling a ball over the right field fence, giving MSU an eight-run lead.
"That was a great team effort," head coach David Grewe said. "We took care of the main thing, which was to play hard and we competed every pitch. We swung the bats well and it was a great way to start this weekend. Now we need to continue to build off that momentum."
Monterey (1-2) scattered nine hits over his six innings, making big pitches when he needed to. Northwestern stranded nine baserunners as Monterey rallied each time the Wildcats appeared to get momentum. He struck out two and allowed just three earned runs.
The Spartans took advantage of mistakes by Muraski in the big third inning. Sophomore Chris Roberts and Jones walked, and Gerstenberger was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs. Day pushed a single through the right side to score two runs. Potes then lifted a Muraski offering over the left field fence to give Michigan State a 5-0 lead. The Spartans would take a 7-0 lead in the fourth inning on an RBI single by senior Brandon Doherty and a bases loaded walk by Day.
Northwestern (5-13, 1-4 Big Ten) put together a pair of hits to lead off the bottom half of the third, but Monterey made the big pitches. With runners on second and third and one out, Monterey got the next two Wildcats to hit shallow fly balls to strand the runners. Northwestern would get a run in the fourth and a pair in the fifth to pull within 7-3 with a chance to get more. With Chris Lashmet on second base with two outs, Northwestern's Tommy Finn singled to left and Roberts gunned down Chris Lashmet at the plate to keep the damage minimal.
Day's grand slam in the next half-inning ended the Wildcats' hopes of a comeback.
Northwestern scored a run in the sixth inning and Tony Vercelli hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to make it an 11-6 game late. Roof blasted his solo shot to left in the top of the ninth to provide the final margin.
The same two teams will play a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 2 p.m. ET.