Spartans Split Doubleheader

Michigan State

LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State received a two-hit shutout from senior Chris Cullen in the second game of MSU's doubleheader, allowing the Spartans to finish its weekend series against Ohio State with a 1-0 victory Sunday at Oldsmobile Park. Ohio State (18-11, 7-4 Big Ten) won the first game, 5-4, but the Spartans took the tail end of the doubleheader behind Cullen's pitching and a bases loaded walk by Chris Roberts in the bottom half of the eighth inning to give them a 1-0 win.

For the day, freshman Jonathan Roof had three hits and two runs, boosting his batting average to .324 in Big Ten play. Roberts and freshman Brandon Eckerle also notched two hits and an RBI apiece on the day.

The second half of the doubleheader featured a classic pitchers' duel, with neither Cullen (4-0) nor OSU starter J.B. Shuck (4-2) surrendering a hit until the fifth inning. Cullen gave up only two hits and two walks on the day, striking out five in the eight-inning complete game shutout.

"We got an unbelievable pitching performance from Chris Cullen," head coach David Grewe said. "He's been such a tough competitor this season. He gives us everything he has every time he takes the mound."

The clinching Spartan half of the eighth inning began with a leadoff single to left by Eckerle. Gerstenberger walked two batters later, giving MSU two runners on with one out. Senior Dennis Jones reached safely on a bunt single to load the bases.

Ohio State brought in reliever Alex Wimmers to take over for Shuck with one out and the bases loaded. Wimmers struck out junior Eric Roof, but then walked Roberts on four straight pitches to bring in the winning run for the Spartans.

Shuck fanned seven MSU hitters in the loss, and outfielders Ryan Dew and Tony Kennedy collected the only hits of the game for Ohio State.

In the first game, the teams swapped scoreless frames until the top of the fourth, when Ohio State slapped six singles off of MSU starter Mark Sorensen to jump out to a 5-0 lead. The Spartans answered in the bottom half of the inning on an Evan Friedland RBI single, which plated Roberts. Junior Kyle Day hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning, scoring Steve Gerstenberger to cut the lead to 5-2.

Spartan relievers A.J. Dunn and Kyle Corcoran held the Buckeyes scoreless for the remainder of the game, leaving it up to the offense to keep chipping away at the deficit. MSU did just that in the bottom of the sixth, scoring two runs on an RBI single from Eckerle and a sacrifice fly from Gerstenberger, bringing the game to 5-4.

Ohio State brought reliever Eric Best in to close out the game in the seventh, solidifying the win after a solid outing from starter Dean Wolosiansky (4-2). The save was Best's fourth, and the loss gives Sorensen a 1-4 record on the season.

The Spartans (13-16, 4-7 Big Ten) return to Oldsmobile Park Wednesday, April 16 for a mid-week showdown against Central Michigan. First pitch is set for 5:35 p.m.

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