The Michigan State baseball team improved to 8-1 on the season with a 3-0 win over Troy on Sunday afternoon to wrap up the Cox Diamond Invitational in Pensacola, Fla. The Spartans shut out their opponent for the second day in a row and allowed just two runs all weekend. The 8-1 start is the best in school history since 1992.
"To come in here and get two shutouts against three quality opponents isn't something you expect, but I'm really happy with where we're at on the mound and hopefully we can keep it rolling," said head coach Jake Boss Jr. "We just keep trying to play good baseball. There's still a long way to go. We've got a busy week ahead. The start is nice. That's why we compete. At the same time, we've got to go out and be ready to compete on Tuesday."
Starting pitcher Walter Borkovich threw 7.1 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and striking out five. The junior didn't give the Trojans offense much of a chance all afternoon, allowing just two singles through the first three innings. Borkovich settled in even further from there and went thee up, three down in four consecutive innings.
"I wasn't being aggressive enough in the beginning," said Borkovich. "After the third inning I settled in after that and was getting ahead in counts and being aggressive."
Troy starter Evan Hebert was also impressive early on, holding MSU scoreless through five innings. The Spartans then broke open the tie with a three-run sixth inning that would prove to be all they would needed to pull away.
Sophomore Brandon Hughes got the scoring started with an RBI double to score Marty Bechina, who singled to start the inning. Alex Troop stepped up next and sent another double down into the right field corner to score Hughes. With two outs and Troop on third, Dan Durkin worked a 10-pitch at bat before beating out an infield single to put Michigan State up 3-0.
Troy put together its biggest threat of the afternoon in the eighth. Closer Joe Mockbee came on in relief inheriting two base runners with one out. After a walk loaded the bases, Mockbee got a strikeout and a fly out to end the threat. The Trojans went down in order in the ninth and Mockbee earned his second save of the season.
"Our pitchers are throwing really well," said Boss. "Walter really settled into the game after the first and was pretty sharp. I thought he really competed and battled. Joe has been lights out all year out of the bullpen."
MSU will continue its spring break trip that consists of eight games in 10 days, as they now head to Port Charlotte, Fla., to compete in the Snow Bird Classic. The tournament consists of two midweek games on Tuesday and Wednesday before three games next weekend.