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Baseball makes late run, but falls to Notre Dame

April 10, 2018
<p>Notre Dame first baseman Daniel Jung (31) stretches for a throw to retire sophomore outfielder Bryce Kelley (17) during the game against Notre Dame on April 10, 2018 at McLane Baseball Stadium. The Spartans fell to the Fighting Irish, 8-7.</p>

Notre Dame first baseman Daniel Jung (31) stretches for a throw to retire sophomore outfielder Bryce Kelley (17) during the game against Notre Dame on April 10, 2018 at McLane Baseball Stadium. The Spartans fell to the Fighting Irish, 8-7.

Photo by Matt Schmucker | The State News

It is known as a rivalry between these two non-conference teams for a reason and it was shown Tuesday afternoon. The Spartans almost completed one of the biggest comebacks in the team's history, but could not finish as they fall to the Fighting Irish, 8-7.

The Spartans end their three-game winning streak and now fall to 9-20 on the regular season. This is also the third straight season where Notre Dame has defeated MSU in the regular season.

"I mean our guys never quit and I've said it before and I'll continue to say it, it's a great unbelievable character group of kids," head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. 

From the beginning MSU looked out of sync as Notre Dame dominated through the first couple of innings. It began in the second inning when Notre Dame's first baseman Daniel Jung singled to left field to bring home outfielder Alex Kerschner to make it 1-0. However, sophomore outfielder Bryce Kelley threw a laser beam to home to get out infielder Niko Kavadas. 

Right after, Notre Dame catcher David LaManna doubled to the exact same spot made the score 3-0 in the second. MSU is now 2-19 on the season when trailing 3-0 in the second inning.

In the fourth, Notre Dame's Cole Daily hit a home run to deep right to make it 5-0 for his first home run of his three-year career. 

Sophomore right handed pitcher Mike Mokma had a disappointing game on the day letting up eight hits, allowing five runs and only one strikeout through four innings.  

However, there was still some hope for the Spartans in the bottom of the seventh when freshman catcher Adam Proctor drilled a three-run homer to right field to make it 8-3. This is now Proctor's second home run in the past three games. 

"He's a talented kid and he's got a future," Boss said. "Took a very conservative approach wanted to make sure he was back and healthy. I think him getting a chance to sit back and watch a little bit I think really helped him on the offensive side of it too. He's seeing the ball great right now."

Quickly after that senior infielder Zach McGuire doubled to the left field line that would bring in Kelley and sophomore infielder Justin Antoncic to make it 8-5. Redshirt senior catcher Chad Roskelly stepped up to the plate right after and crushed a two-run homer to left field to cut the deficit to one.

Eight out of the nine Spartan players registered a hit on the afternoon with five of them coming in the seventh. MSU has still yet to register a win when the opposing team has more total hits than them. 

"Won the last three and felt good and certainly would have been a really really good win," Boss said. "You know there are no moral victories unfortunately and we can't get lost in the fact that we committed a couple of errors middle of the game that really hurt us. We've been talking about it since September. That's a recipe for losing a one-run game and it came back to get us again today."

The Spartans will take on Valparaiso in the first of a three-game home weekend series this Friday. First pitch is set at 3:05 p.m. at McLane Baseball Stadium and will conclude the Spartans 12-game home stand.

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