Coming off a three-game series sweep of Illinois in which the Spartans combined for 41 runs during the weekend, the Spartans went through a series of pitching changes, but couldn’t find a way to win as they fell 3-2 to Western Michigan Tuesday.
The Spartans finished the game with six pitching changes.
Junior centerfielder Brandon Hughes led the Spartans in batting as he logged a run, two hits and a RBI in four at-bats in the loss. Hughes also added two stolen bases.
Junior first baseman Zack McGuire added two hits for the Spartans.
The Spartans went through four pitching substitutions until MSU registered its first strikeout of the game in the eighth inning.
Down 3-2, MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. substituted senior Joe Mockbee for redshirt-junior Jake Lowery at the top of the eighth.
Facing his first batter of the game, the Howell, Mich. native struck out WMU's Nate Grys for the Spartan’s first strikeout of the day and ended the inning with another strikeout keeping the deficit at one.
Despite recording two strikeouts and only allowing one runner to get on base on a walk, Lowery was replaced in the ninth after 1.1 innings pitched for freshman Mitchell Tyranski.
Down two outs in the top of the second, Grys hammered his second pitch of the game over the left field fence for a two-run home run giving the Broncos a 2-0 lead.
The Spartans were unable to respond in the bottom of the second as they went down in order.
Boss decided to replace Baar at the mound with senior right-handed pitcher Walter Borkovich after Barr put two runners on base in the top of the third.
Baar finished the day allowing five hits and two runs.
Borkovich allowed one hit in his opening inning at the mound, which loaded the bases for the Broncos, but Borkovich was able to get out of the jam after a fielder’s choice retired the side.
The Spartans managed to tie the game in the third.
After Kyle Mallwitz walked outfielder Bryce Kelley, the freshman from Rockford, Mich. advanced to second after junior outfielder Will Salter grounded out to third.
Hughes then proceeded to single to center field, which brought Kelley home to score the Spartans’ first run of the game.
Hughes, who stole second base, registered the tying run after senior second baseman Dan Durkin singled to the right side.
Sophomore Alex Troop struck out swinging ending the two-run inning in the bottom of the third.
In the top of the fourth inning, a single up the middle from senior infielder Grant Miller sent senior infielder Nick Vogelmeier to home plate to reclaim the lead at 3-2.
The Spartans made another pitching change at the top of the fifth as senior left-handed pitcher Joe Mockbee replaced Borkovich, who let up four hits and one run in 1.2 innings pitched and was credited with his first loss of the season.
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Mockbee didn’t allow a hit or run, but did walk a batter.
At the top of the fifth, the Broncos switched out senior right-handed pitcher Kyle Mallwitz for junior Jake Bartels, who gave up five hits and two runs in four innings pitched.
Troop led off for the Spartans in the bottom of the sixth and doubled to right field.
Junior first baseman Zack McGuire followed Troop and singled up the middle, which sent Troop to third with no outs in the inning.
Shortstop Royce Ando grounded out to center on a sacrifice bunt, but the bunt allowed McGuire to get to second base.
The Broncos ended the jam in the bottom of the sixth as they did not allow any Spartans to get to home plate despite two runners getting on base with no outs.
With two Broncos on base with two outs in the top of the ninth, freshman left-handed pitcher Mitchell Tyranski was able to strike out senior Alex Goodwin to retire the side and keep the Spartans deficit at one.
The Spartans were unable to mount a comeback in the ninth and dropped to 15-6 on the season.
MSU will now face Minnesota this Friday to begin a three-game series with first pitch slated for 3:05 p.m.
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