Spartans Sweep Northwestern in Doubleheader

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LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State baseball team swept Northwestern in a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Oldsmobile Park. The Spartans, winners of seven of their last eight, won game one, 7-4, and took game two, 6-4. The four-game series concludes Sunday afternoon on Senior Day at Oldsmobile Park, beginning at 1:05 p.m.

The first game proved to be a pitching duel between MSU lefty Jon Kibler and Wildcat right-hander Cole Livermore. Kibler fired four scoreless innings to start the game, while Livermore hurled three shutout innings. The Spartans (22-24, 12-14 Big Ten) finally got to the freshman with three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Evan Friedland was hit with the bases loaded, bringing home Sean Walker for the first run of the game. After two straight strikeouts, Steve Gerstenberger came through with a clutch two-out double to right field, scoring Chris Roberts and Eli Boike.

The Wildcats (14-35, 5-22 Big Ten) bounced right back in the top of the fifth inning, scoring four runs on six hits off Kibler. True to form in the series for MSU, however, the Spartans rallied for three runs in the bottom half of the inning to reclaim the lead, 6-4. Kyle Day led off with a double and after Walker was hit by a pitch, Day scored on a throwing error by Livermore. It marked Livermore's second error of the game, resulting in five unearned runs for the game. Friedland followed with an RBI single to score Walker, and Justin Potes hit a sacrifice fly to plate Roberts.

The three runs in the fifth put Kibler in a position to earn his team-leading fifth win of the season. The Spartan bullpen held on for two scoreless innings, including a scoreless sixth for A.J. Dunn and a save in the seventh for Tony Clausen. Kibler, who struck out five and allowed nine hits and four runs in five innings, improved to 5-5 for the season.

MSU added an insurance run in the sixth on a Walker RBI single.

Although Livermore struck out eight, he was still tagged for his ninth loss of the season.

For the third straight time in the series, the Spartans rallied for a come-from-behind victory in game two. It was back-and-forth early, as Northwestern scored one unearned run in the first to take a 1-0 lead, but MSU scored two of its own in the bottom half to go up 2-1. Day delivered an RBI double, and Friedland hit a sacrifice fly.

The Wildcats added two more in the second to reclaim the lead at 3-2. The Spartans tied the game at 3 in the bottom of the second as Brandon Doherty hit a two-out single to left field.

Northwestern chased MSU starter John Dwan in the fourth inning as Aaron Newman collected an RBI double to make it 4-3 in favor of the Wildcats. With two outs and the bases loaded, Coach David Grewe called on A.J. Dunn to get out of the jam, and Dunn responded to the challenge by striking out Wildcat cleanup batter Caleb Fields. Dunn added a scoreless fifth for Michigan State.

The Spartans used small ball to tie the game at 4 in the bottom of the fifth inning. Chris Roberts led off with a walk, advanced to second on a Friedland sacrifice bunt, and went to third on a wild pitch. A groundout off the bat of Eric Roof scored Roberts with two outs, tying the game.

The excellent effort out of the Spartan bullpen continued as Nolan Moody (1-0) fired a scoreless sixth.

In the bottom of the inning, Gerstenberger led off with double to right, and advanced to third on a Doherty sacrifice bunt. Day then walked and Walker was hit to load the bases for the reigning Big Ten Player of the Week, Chris Roberts. The talented freshman delivered once again in the key situation, driving home two runs with a single to left field, giving MSU the 6-4 lead.

Mike Monterey closed the game in the seventh for his eighth save of the season.

Gerstenberger went 2-for-4 with two runs in the second game, while Doherty went 3-for-3.

Moody (1-0) earned his first career win on the mound for MSU, while Ryan Myers (3-5) took the loss.

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