May 27, 2011

Illinois drops Michigan State to loser's bracket | The Detroit News

Matt Charboneau/ The Detroit News

Columbus, Ohio — Michigan State felt it deserved the No. 1 seed headed into the Big Ten tournament.

On Friday night, Illinois showed it has no intention of giving up that distinction.

After winning five straight games in their final at-bat, the Illini jumped on the Spartans early and cruised to a 4-1 victory in the semifinals at Huntington Park.

Michigan State (35-20) now heads to the loser's bracket where it will face Minnesota at 3:35 p.m. today. The winner advances to the championship game at 7 p.m. against Illinois where it will take two victories to bring home the conference title.

Illinois (27-25) got to Michigan State starter Tony Bucciferro early, scoring a run in the first and pushing the junior right-hander's pitch count high through the first four innings.

It paid off with two more runs in the fourth on a two-run double from Josh Parr. Illinois added a run in the sixth on a home run from Matt Dittman.

Michigan State got on the board in the eighth when Jeff Holm led off with a walk and then scored on a double from designated hitter Jared Hook. The Spartans had plenty of opportunities to score but stranded nine runners.

Bucciferro (8-3) struggled for Michigan State, going 6 1/3 innings, giving up eight hits and walking two while striking out five.

Illinois got an outstanding effort from Anderson (7-6), who gave up six hits and walked four in 7 1/3 innings, but was able to strand eight Michigan State runners. From The Detroit News:

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