Michigan State baseball had an opportunity to send its fans home happy in the bottom of the ninth. The score read 3-2 in favor of the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons with one of the Spartans’ best hitters in junior infielder Brock Vradenburg stepping to the plate with the bases loaded. After taking the first pitch, Vradenburg grounded out to first as the Mastodons snapped MSU’s five-game win streak.
Purdue Fort Wayne got off to a quick start as sophomore infielder/outfielder Jordan Walker singled up the middle in the top of the first inning only to be followed by a double from graduate student infielder/catcher Braedon Blackford, which ended up scoring Walker. The Mastodons were only able to muster one run in the half inning as Blackford was thrown out at home after a fielding error from Vradenburg.
The Spartans were able to tie the game at one in the bottom half of the first as Vradenburg belted one up the middle for an RBI single, scoring junior infielder Trent Farquhar. With two outs, the green and white were threatening with runners on first and third, but graduate student pitcher Brendan Reid caught junior outfielder Jack Frank looking.
After four straight 1-2-3 innings, junior outfielder Grant Thoroman ripped a pitch from redshirt sophomore reliever Adam Berghorst over the right field fence to give the Mastodons a one-run lead once again.
Purdue Fort Wayne bombed another solo home run in the top of the fifth off the bat of senior catcher Cade Fitzpatrick. The shot to left centerfield gave PFW a two-run advantage at that point of the contest.
Michigan State cut the Mastodons’ lead by one in the bottom of the eighth as redshirt sophomore catcher Bryan Broecker grounded into a fielder’s choice to score junior infielder Mitch Jebb. That was all the scoring though as MSU ultimately fell 3-2.
While the score was close, head coach Jake Boss was rather disappointed with his team’s effort throughout the entire game.
“We need to get better,” Boss said. “We talked about doing several things before the game, we talked about a consistent offensive approach. We had four hits in the first inning and finished with six. We talked about consistent energy throughout the game. Half the time it looked like we didn't want to be there. ... We missed an opportunity in the first with some bad base running that cost us a run. ... That is a recipe for getting beat.”
As MSU gears up for the second half of the Big Ten season, and ultimately postseason ball, Farquhar said that he believes his team will be able to bounce back from a tough loss tonight.
“We got a great brotherhood,” Farquhar said. Everybody's tight-knit and we're just excited to get back out and show everybody what Spartan baseball is.”
With the loss, the Spartans fall to 23-11 on the season and will travel to Ann Arbor this weekend for a rivalry series showdown with the Michigan Wolverines.
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