The Spartans looked to come back from a disappointing loss on Friday in extra innings. Michigan State took on Purdue in a doubleheader Saturday, looking to improve its Big Ten record to above .500.
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Justin Alleman was on the mound for Michigan State in game one of the doubleheader, looking to continue his success from his quality start against Siena last week.
MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. talked about some of Justin’s struggles in game one of the doubleheader.
“It was a tough day for him. I didn’t think he threw very well today,” Boss said. “That said, he competed. He got deeper in the game than we thought he was going to.”
Purdue got on the board early with a run scored in the third inning off a bloop single by Steve Maniago. Maniago and the bottom of the order had an excellent game Friday against Spartan starter Mick VanVossen.
Alleman had a tough time finding the strike zone early as he put two men on for Boilermaker Kyle Johnson to hit a two RBI triple into leftfield. MSU outfielder Cam Gibson tried to make the diving play, but the ball hopped over his glove. Purdue led the Spartans 3-0.
The Spartans did not lose hope however as they added a run of their own on an single by Joel Fisher leading to a run on a fielding error by the Boilermakers. Fisher was brought in to score as well as Ryan Richardson hit a RBI single to left field.
Alleman’s control problems came back to haunt him as he hit his second batter of the game. That hit batter later came in to score as Kyle Wood hit a RBI single.
Purdue pulled their starter and tried to give their bullpen a chance to hold things down. Blaise Salter took advantage of the change and smoked a double deep into left center bringing Anthony Cheky in to score and cut the lead to two.
After the Boilermakers brought in another relief pitcher, the Spartans had two men on base. Fisher had an opportunity to bring in some runs when he hit what looked like an inning ending double play. However, there was a throwing error on the second out and Salter came in to score, reducing the lead again to one.
Cheky had the opportunity to tie the game up, hitting a scorcher to the gap in right center bringing in Richardson and tying the game at five. With bases loaded, Purdue pitcher Mike Lutz walked in a run and Michigan State took their first lead of the game.
Purdue quickly responded by tying the game 6-6 with a single into right field by Cody Strong.
Michigan State held on and won the first game of the doubleheader and game two of the series.
Coach Boss thought the Spartans were closer to where he wants them offensively.
“Close ball game. I think we’re getting closer offensively,” Boss said. “We got a lot of guys on base we just can’t seem to drive them in, but we’re getting closer.”
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In the second game of the doubleheader, Michigan State sent its freshman lefty Cam Vieaux to the mound to try and win the series for the Spartans.
Vieaux pitched a gem on the mound in the last game of the series, pitching a complete game and only giving up one run. He let up only one hit from the second inning on.
“The bullpen had been taxed from yesterday and really all week,” Boss said. “So for Cam Vieaux to come out and go a complete game for us was really big.”
Sparty got on the board first for a change with a sacrifice fly by Blaise Salter bringing in Anthony Cheky.
The lead did not last long as Purdue tied the game up at 1-1 with a single into right by Jack Picchiotti.
In the bottom of the fifth the Spartans turned things around with a single by Jimmy Pickens to bring Cheky in to score. State had bases loaded later in the same inning and failed to capitalize for the second time Saturday with three ducks on the pond.
However, it did not matter in the long run as the Spartans held on to win the game behind Vieaux’s complete game masterpiece.
Vieaux went nine innings, gave up one earned run on five hits and had six strikeouts. He also improves to 5-2 this year with a 1.62 ERA.
Vieaux was asked about his performance and if he was worried about run support.
Other notables events from today included Salter bringing in two runs on three hits in both games and Cheky recording five hits and one RBI in both games as well.
Vieaux and the Spartans came back from losing the first game of the series to win both games on Saturday and ended up winning the series.
Michigan State is now 5-4 in Big Ten play and 20-13 overall this season, as they look to improve that overall record on Tuesday against Notre Dame.
Tuesday’s game starts at 3:05 p.m. at McLane Stadium.
Zac Swierad is the host of Warning Track for Impact Sports.
Photos: Hannah McEnroe/Impact Sports