Tuesday, July 27, 2021

MSU Baseball: Spartans drop 12 inning barn burner to Nebraska, finish 1-2 on the weekend

April 25, 2021
Freshman infielder Trent Farquhar (1) safe after sliding into third base during the game against Nebraska on April 25, 2021, at the McLane Stadium. The Cornhuskers defeated the Spartans 9-6.
Freshman infielder Trent Farquhar (1) safe after sliding into third base during the game against Nebraska on April 25, 2021, at the McLane Stadium. The Cornhuskers defeated the Spartans 9-6. —
Photo by Lauren Snyder | The State News

After a rainy day win over the Huskers Saturday, the Spartans returned to McLane for the final matchup against Nebraska in a three-game series. 

The Spartans fell to the Huskers by three runs, 9-6, in the bottom of the 12th inning after staying tied 6-6 from the bottom of the third.

"I am proud of our guys for battling back after getting down 6-0 after two innings. The guys have competed their tails off all season for Michigan State, and they did that today. It was a tough way to lose. We had some chances, but unfortunately, we couldn't take advantage of them. Credit Nebraska; they made a couple big plays when they needed to," Head Coach Jake Boss Jr. said.

In the loss, pitcher Sam Benschoter struck out 17 batters in 9.1 innings pitched, his 17 Ks are the most by any Spartan since 1998, according to MSU Athletics.

Nebraska started the game off strong with one hit from first baseman Luke Roskam, and along with a few walks, the Huskers took a 3-0 lead over the Spartans.

The sophomore right-handed pitcher started off on the mound but was traded out for left-handed pitcher Jesse Heikkinen after .2 IP. The Cornhuskers started the second inning off on fire with three hits from Hallmark, Chick and Anderson, putting three more runs on the board. 

MSU felt the pressure as Nebraska held a 6-0 lead but rallied for three runs in the bottom of the second with hits from Adam Proctor, Reese Trahey and Bryce Kelley. 

But the Spartans kept the same energy alive into the bottom of the third with a double down the right-field line from Trent Farquhar and a fly ball to center field from Casey Mayes added three more on the board for the Spartans. 

Nebraska came back in the top of the 12th with a single from Anderson and Cervantes, bringing in three more runs against Benschoter on the mound. The Spartans ultimately fell short but will prepare to take on Penn State in a three game series away next weekend. 

msubaseball4-25-21-17

Benschoter's big day not enough

Benschoter, a senior right-hander, relieved Heikkinen to pitch for the rest of the game following the 3rd inning.

Simply put, he was dialed in on the mound.

"Sam was unbelievable. He came in in a really tough spot and was dominant. There is no other way to put it. It was a school record in strikeouts with 17 and he was in complete control," Boss added.

The last time a Spartan pitcher had more than 16 strikeouts was when Mark Mulder fanned 16 against Campbell on March 7, 1998. Benschoter also walked three batters and gave up three earned runs.

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