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MSU baseball sweeps doubleheader against Purdue, wins conference opening series

March 26, 2023

Michigan State Baseball won their first home game of the season against Western Michigan 8-3 on March 22, 2023 at McLane Stadium.

After falling in game one of their conference opening series to Purdue on Friday, Michigan State baseball swept its doubleheader against the Boilermakers on Sunday.

Game one

Purdue’s offense clicked right away in the top of the first inning in the first game of the day. MSU came out with an unusual shift, loading three infielders all on the left side of second base, which allowed two back-to-back hits. Senior outfielder Mike Bolton Jr. scored on a sacrifice fly to deep left field off of the bat of senior outfielder Jake Jarvis to put the Boilermakers up 1-0 early

Head Coach Jake Boss Jr. explained the strategy behind the shifts that he used early on that caused Purdue to capitalize.

“Our pitching coach and our volunteer assistant Andrew Stone and you know our pitching coach Mark Van, they just scoured all the data we have,” Boss said. “Everybody’s at bat, we can watch everybody’s at bat for the entire year you know, so there’s a lot of study time.”

Boss also added how they have been using the shifting strategies for the fast three or four years, and he believes they have paid off enough to keep using them.

Redshirt junior outfielder Cam Thompson added an RBI sacrifice fly of his own in the top of the second as he drove a ball to deep center field that had plenty of distance to bring home junior infielder Jo Stevens for the Boilermakers’ second run of the game.

The Spartan offense came alive in the bottom of the third. Freshman outfielder Jake Dresselhouse recorded his first collegiate extra base hit with a leadoff triple. Junior infielder Mitch Jebb brought home Dresselhouse as he hit a line drive base hit up the middle to cut the deficit to 2-1. 

The Boilermakers threatened again in the top of the fifth. Redshirt sophomore catcher Jake Stadler bunted to the pitcher, allowing junior outfielder Couper Cornblum to score from third to make it 3-1. Michigan State sophomore pitcher Ryan Szczepaniak intentionally walked Purdue redshirt junior infielder Paul Toetz to load the bases, but ultimately got out of the jam by striking out Jarvis to limit the damage.

MSU was finally able to respond in the seventh inning as redshirt sophomore infielder Sam Busch doubled down the right field line. After a throwing error to home plate by the Boilermakers, redshirt sophomore catcher Bryan Broecker scored. The Spartans left a runner at third however, and were unable to tie the game, though they reduced the lead to 3-2. 

In the bottom of the eighth inning, junior Purdue junior pitcher Aaron Suval loaded the bases, giving MSU a prime opportunity to at least tie the game. Suval walked Broecker during a 3-0 count to tie the game at three runs. Busch then hit a sacrifice fly to center that was deep enough to bring home junior outfielder Jack Frank. In the very next at bat, senior outfielder Casey Mayes singled, allowing junior infielder Dillon Kark to score on a throwing error to put the Spartans up 5-3 heading into the top of the ninth.

After Purdue loaded the bases in the top of the ninth, senior pitcher Wyatt Rush walked Toetz to draw the Boilermakers ever closer, making the score 5-4. However, Jarvis popped up to first in the next at bad, and the Spartans held on for the win in game one

Game two

Much like game one, the Boilermakers put early pressure on the Spartans, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. Junior designated hitter Connor Caskenette singled to left field to score Bolton Jr. and senior shortstop Evan Albrecht

After a couple of silent innings from both MSU and Purdue, the Spartans were able to get a leg up on the Boilermakers in an explosive fourth inning. Junior first baseman Brock Vradenburg got the scoring going with an RBI triple to right field. Immediately after, Busch launched a deep home run to right center field to score both himself and Vradenburg. To end the onslaught, Dresselhouse singled to right field to score Frank, giving MSU a two-run lead to end the fourth

The home run was the first ever in a Spartan uniform for the hometown kid Busch. He said he knew he got it pretty well once the ball left his bat

“It's a pretty cool feeling,” Busch said. “I just kept my head down and ran after I hit it. I was just trying to get a fastball over the plate I can handle and I did.” 

The Spartans kept the offense going in the bottom of the fifth as a throwing error by Ramirez off a bunt from Broecker allowed Busch and Vradenburg to score. Later in the inning, Kark was able to score Broecker on a sacrifice fly to right field to push the Spartan’s score to seven

In the next half inning, the Boilermakers were able to get a run back because of an RBI single from pinch hitting sophomore outfielder Camden Melvin

Although he gave up a run in his second and final inning of duty, junior right hander Harrison Cook was credited with the win after going 2.2 innings with two strikeouts, after coming into relief junior lefty starter Nick Powers, who only went 3.1 innings.

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The green and white continued to pour on the runs in the bottom of the sixth. A Broecker RBI single, a Kark RBI hit by pitch, a Mayes two RBI double and an RBI groundout by Dresselhouse pushed the MSU lead to nine as the game entered the seventh inning

The Boilermakers managed to get two runs back off a two-run home run by Caskenette to cut the deficit to seven in the top of the seventh inning. Albrecht scored as well to make the score 12-5. 

Purdue was able to reach half as many runs as MSU in the top of the eighth as Albrecht knocked in Cornblum to put the score at 12-6. That was all the scoring for the rest of the game though as senior closer Andrew Carson closed out the eighth and ninth innings

While Friday’s loss was a tough one, Vradenburg said his team grew from it and was able to put both sides of the field together on Sunday.

“We really tried to, you know, be ourselves and stick to what we know and Friday night we couldn't get it done but we learned from it and grew from it,” Vradenburg said. “I think we rolled into this weekend like we're good enough to beat a lot of teams so just have that confidence in ourselves and you know, rally together.” 

With the wins, MSU moves to 13-8 on the season. The Spartans will hit the road to Kalamazoo for their second meeting of the season against Western Michigan on Wednesday afternoon.

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