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Michigan State baseball drops Big Ten Conference opener to Purdue 5-4

March 24, 2023

The Michigan State baseball team dropped the first game of its Big Ten Conference season on Friday to Purdue 5-4.

The Spartans came alive right away in the bottom of the first inning as junior infielder Brock Vradenburg hit a line drive double down the left field foul line bringing junior infielder Trent Farquhar home all the way from first for the first run of the game.

MSU continued to rally in the bottom half of the second. Freshman outfielder Jake Dresselhouse, Farquhar, and junior infielder Mitch Jebb all recorded RBI hits to put the Spartans up 4-0. 

Head baseball coach Jake Boss Jr had some high praise for Dresselhouse as he had a productive day.

“I think he's going to be a really really good player for us,” Boss said. “He runs well, he throws well, you know he’s learning at the plate right now with what it takes at this level but he’s going to be a very very good player for us.”

Freshman pitcher Joseph Dzierwa gave MSU some relief through the first three innings, posting 1-2-3 outings against the Boilermakers. Dzierwa’s no hitter was broken in the top of the fourth by Purdue senior outfielder Mike Bolton Jr, getting all the way to third base as a result off a throwing error to give the Boilermakers runners on base for the first time during the evening. 

The threat didn’t stop quite yet as Purdue quickly loaded the bases. Junior catcher Connor Caskenette hit a sacrifice fly to the warning track to cut the Spartan lead down to 4-1. 

Purdue added another run in the top of the fifth to reduce the lead to 4-2 by an RBI line drive at the hands of fifth-year infielder Evan Albrecht to end Dzierwa’s day on the mound for Michigan State. Directly after the pitching change, MSU senior pitcher Andrew Carson gave up two runs from a single and a wild pitch allowing the boilermakers to tie the game at four runs a piece. 

The Spartan offense significantly slowed down as they left multiple runners stranded, especially late in both the seventh and eighth innings. 

Senior pitcher Wyatt Rush filled in for Carson in the top of the ninth. A base hit, walk, and an error loaded the bases for Purdue. In the next at bat, junior infielder Jo Stevens was hit by a pitch from Rush to bring the go-ahead run home for the Boilermakers. Rush was able to stop the bleeding however, as he forced redshirt junior infielder Paul Toetz to fly out to center to keep the score at 5-4 in favor of Purdue heading to the bottom of the ninth.

Jebb gave the Spartans some life as he hit a one out double into the left field gap to put a runner on second. The Boilermakers then elected to intentionally walk Vradenburg to put winning runners on first and second base for MSU. Purdue junior pitcher Aaron Suval forced two quick outs, ending the threat from Michigan State to give his team the edge and allowing the Boilermakers to take game one of the series.

The Spartans will have an opportunity to bounce back with two more games against Purdue on deck for the weekend, and Boss explained what he wants to see change in those matchups.

“Well we got to take care of the details,” Boss said. “We got to take care of the little things, you know, I mean I think at this level there are very few flukes. I mean when you play better than the other team usually you win. When you win you usually deserve to win. And when you lose you deserve to lose.”

Boss also added that they deserved to lose today as they didn’t play well enough and needed to capitalize on executing and bringing loose runs home. 

The Spartans return to action tomorrow at McLane Stadium battling Purdue once again with first pitch set for 3:35 pm.

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