May 20, 2011
Site: East Lansing, Mich. (McLean Baseball Stadium)
Score: Michigan State 10, Northwestern 1
Records: NU (19-29, 9-13 Big Ten), Michigan State (34-18, 15-8 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Saturday, May 21 -- at Michigan State (East Lansing, Mich.), 12:05 p.m. CT
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Northwestern saw its chance at a Big Ten tournament berth come to an end Friday afternoon as Michigan State pulled away late for a 10-1 win at McLean Baseball Stadium.
In the process, the Spartans guaranteed themselves of at least a share of the conference regular-season title, their first since 1979.
After being shutout in Thursday's series opener, the Wildcats got on the board first against Tony Bucciferro in the top of the first inning. With one away, Chris Lashmet ripped a double to the gap in right-center. He was a third with two down when Jack Havey hit a line drive at third baseman Torsten Boss who dropped the ball for an error, allowing Lashmet to score.
Boss redeemed himself in the bottom of the second as his home run to lead off the inning off Michael Jahns tied the game 1-1.
The Spartans surged in front in the third inning, getting an RBI triple from Ryan Jones and a sacrifice fly by Boss to make it 3-1 in the hosts' favor.
Meanwhile, Bucciferro settled into a groove after allowing the run in the opening stanza. The junior right-hander retired 12 straight NU batters before Geoff Rowan singled with two outs in the top of the 5th.
Michigan State threatened to break the game open in the bottom half of the 5th as it had two men in scoring position with two outs. The Wildcats opted to intentionally walk Boss to get to Jared Hook and the strategy paid off as Jahns got him to fly out to center field on the first pitch to keep the deficit at two.
A Northwestern error cost the 'Cats an unearned run in the sixth. With runners on first and second and one out, a Wildcat miscue loaded the bases before a run-scoring groundout by Brandon Eckerle made it a 4-1 game. MSU broke the game open with six runs in the eighth.
That was plenty of insurance for Bucciferro who limited NU to just three hits in the complete-game performance.
Jahns (2-5) pitched well before tiring late. He allowed eight runs (seven earned), 10 hits and three walks while striking out five.
The teams conclude their series at 12:05 p.m. Central time Saturday. The game is being televised live by Big Ten Network.
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