In the first Crosstown Showdown game since 2019, the Spartans fell to the High-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, the Lansing Lugnuts, 3-2 at Jackson Field.
The game was tightly contested the whole way through as the largest Lugnuts’ lead was only two.
For the Spartans, redshirt junior Peter Ahn put on a show as he accounted for all of his team’s runs. He went two for three, both hits being for extra bases; one an RBI triple and the other a solo blast to right field.
Even though his squad lost, Ahn still had a good time playing well against a professional ball club.
“(It was a) really cool experience,” Ahn said. “(It was) awesome seeing everybody come out here, having a ton of fans. (We) didn’t win, so that definitely stings ... but (it) felt good today.”
Ahn talked about his approach being the reason for his success against some very skilled prospects:
“I was talking to Andrew Stone, one of our assistants, and (we) really worked on staying on top of the baseball today, staying through it,” Ahn said. “I think that worked out, I was able to get on time with a fastball that I hit out and then the one down the line stayed behind a breaking ball.”
The Lugnuts hold five of the Athletics top 30 MLB prospects, one being their top overall prospect in Tyler Soderstrom, but Michigan State Head Coach Jake Boss Jr. was not afraid to mix in a lot of different pitchers to help get them prepared for down the road, especially with the Big Ten season right around the corner.
“We play Friday at Ohio State so we need to be ready to go for that, for a conference game,” Boss said. “Understanding this was an exhibition game, we tried to keep the pitch counts down and have everybody ready to go for Friday.”
This match not counting in the record column, Boss Jr. was not afraid to switch up his batting lineup around as well. Redshirt freshman Sam Busch was one of the role players to get an opportunity at the plate tonight, and it was a special one for the East Lansing native, basically playing in his backyard.
“It was great,” Boss said. “The idea with us is we try to play as many guys as we can without burning a year of eligibility for some of the guys that haven’t played yet, and we tried to get everybody at least an at bat, as far as the position players that were available.”
Similar to MSU, OSU has a sub .500 record, but Boss Jr. is not overlooking the Buckeyes, who are on the clock for Michigan State.
“Don’t let the numbers fool you,” Boss said. “Offensively ... we want to stay aggressive at the plate, want to stay agressive on the bases.”
Offensively, Boss wants to see his squad go after things and have that similar approach on the defensive side as well.
“We gotta throw strikes,” Boss said. “If we can locate and pitch like we did tonight, I think good things will happen for us, but we gotta take care of our business.”
The Spartans will head to Columbus next for a weekend series at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis to try and get over .500.
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