The Spartans had their ace on the mound Friday, as they tried to get rid of the bad Big Ten taste in their mouth from last weekend.
Starter Mick VanVossen said it was an improvement over last weekend.
“Just trying to keep things simple, every time I go out I just try to put the team in a position to win,” VanVossen said.
VanVossen pitched well, earning the win and striking out six batters on nine hits and one earned run.
However, MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said there is still room for improvement.
“I think he’s capable of better to be quite honest with you, it was another grind it out effort out of him,” Boss said.
It was a fairly quiet game until Michigan State opened the floodgates with a three-run third inning. The Spartans scored on hits from Justin Hovis, Cam Gibson and Anthony Cheky.
Sparty was unable to capitalize however on multiple scoring opportunities as they failed to score with two men on and no outs in the fifth inning.
In regards to their offense, coach Boss said they still have some work to do.
“I feel better about it today then I did after the Toledo game,” Boss said.
Northwestern did not go scoreless in this game as the Wildcats added a run on a fielding error by Ryan Richardson.
The Spartans were up 3-1 before coach Boss decided to take VanVossen out of the game. He finished the game after 7 1/3 innings of work. Anthony Misiewicz came into the game for VanVossen. Misiewicz’ 2/3 innings of work was masterful as he went perfect and put the game in the hands of closer Jeff Kinley.
Kinley had seven saves going into his outing. He looked to improve his ninth inning efficiency against the Wildcats, but they had different ideas. Kinley walked the first batter of the inning, pinch-hitter Walker Moses singled, and Antonio Freschet reached on a fielder’s choice. This left NU with thebases loaded and no outs.
Coach Boss talked about the scary moment for Kinley in the top of the ninth.
“Jeff’s been our guy. You feel good about going to him and I certainly wish he did not walk the leadoff hitter,” Boss said.
Kinley went on to get the save after a fly ball out and a great 6-3 double play made by shortstop Richardson to end the inning.
VanVossen got the win and Kinley got the hard-earned save.
Coach Boss will send sophomore righty Justin Alleman to the mound to try and win the series tomorrow in game two. First pitch is at 12 p.m.
Zac Swierad is the host of Warning Track for Impact Sports.
Photo: Hannah McEnroe/Impact Sports