Michigan State baseball defeated the Youngstown State Penguins 12-5. The game was slightly delayed by about 45 minutes due to inclement weather in the area causing the first pitch to take place at 4:50 p.m. in East Lansing.
“We had a tough day yesterday," MSU Head Coach Jake Boss said. "We needed to play better today and I thought we did that."
The Spartans got the scoring started almost immediately, taking advantage of Youngstown State's young sophomore pitcher Nick Perez who got off to a shaky start. He walked MSU sophomore infielder Trent Farquhar and hit redshirt freshman Bryan Broecker with the pitch to put runners at first and second, setting the scene for redshirt freshman catcher Christian Williams to knock in an RBI single and give the Spartans their first run of the game.
Feeding off that momentum was sophomore outfielder Jack Frank who stepped up to the plate right after Williams and also hit an RBI single, bringing Broeker home and putting the Spartans up by two runs and they weren't done yet. Junior outfielder Zaid Walker lined out to center field scoring Williams and giving the Spartans a comfortable three-run lead in their first at-bat.
It was a young pitching matchup as the Spartans went with freshman pitcher Aidan Arbaugh who held his own early on. His only struggle came in the top of the second inning when he gave up a home run to redshirt sophomore first baseman Padraig O'Shaughnessy cutting MSU's lead to two.
The Spartans came back with an answer. They were able to get the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the second when Frank appeared to ground out to the junior infielder Braeden O'Shaughnessy to certainly end the inning, but he bobbled the ball and the error allowed Broeker to score. Luckily for MSU, this kept the inning alive and the bases loaded for sophomore infielder Mitch Jebb. He wasted no time and hit a bases-clearing double to the gap in left field to put the Spartans up 7-1 which knocked Perez out of the game.
After allowing a couple of runners to get on base in the second inning, the Spartans brought in redshirt junior pitcher Wyatt Rush to get them out of the jam.
However, March weather conditions in Michigan are usually never ideal for baseball, and the rain that delayed today's game presented some difficult conditions for the players. Frank struggled in center field with two back-to-back awkward plays in center field, one in which he lost his footing completely, which allowed the Penguins to score another run. Junior outfielder Andre Good then grounded into a fielder's choice, scoring the runner from third and cutting MSU's lead to four.
Not wanting to go down without a fight, Good continued the scoring for the Penguins in the top of the fifth with a double into deep left field that brought in two runs and put his team back in the game, cutting their deficit to two.
"It's really easy when you're winning, but when you lose and get to see what you're made of after that," Frank said. "I think that's an important thing to learn and especially as we get into the Big Ten games, even inside of games you're gonna get down a couple runs in the first couple innings, it's really important you can bounce back after that."
MSU quickly answered in the bottom of the fifth, as Broecker hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring a run and putting the Spartans up by three.
They took control from there. Frank hit a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth to put the Spartans up by four and then redshirt junior Peter Ahn singled and then stole second base. Williams then hit a pop-up that caused mass confusion in shallow center field for the Penguins allowing it to drop in and score Ahn putting them up by five.
Frank continued to have a hot bat, hitting a double to deep left field, scoring Williams and putting the Spartans up by six. Still, with no outs in the bottom of the eighth, Jebb stepped up to the plate and hit an RBI single to score Frank and put the Spartans up 12-5, where the score would stay for the rest of the game.
The Spartans will now look to their next three-game series on the road against Evansville beginning Friday.
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