In the annual Crosstown Showdown full of pitching changes and inclement weather conditions, MSU suffered a 12-3 loss to the Lansing Lugnuts on Tuesday night.
The Lugnuts welcomed the Spartans for the 15th annual contest at Jackson Field. Despite the bleak weather conditions, approximately 4,200 fans bundled up to cheer on both teams in the friendly and highly anticipated exhibition game.
“On a night where we’re dodging rain and some lightning, we were very pleased with the crowd,” head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “A lot of Michigan State fans here so it was fun.”
Tuesday night’s first pitch was thrown by a special guest, the son of MSU women’s basketball’s newly introduced head coach, Robyn Fralick.
Both teams’ helmets were decorated with Spartan Strong stickers to honor the three students tragically killed and the five students hospitalized after the shooting on Feb. 13. The words Spartan Strong were sprayed green in dirt in the batter's box prior to the matchup.
MSU fell behind the Lugnuts quickly, allowing for its opponent to get off to a hot start in the first two innings. After three RBIs courtesy of Lugnuts infielder Jack Winkler, Lansing led the Spartans 4-0 at the end of the second inning.
After a triple to right center from junior infielder Trent Farquhar in the top of the third inning and a single to the far right from junior infielder Mitch Jebb MSU crept up behind its opponent, tacking three runs on the scoreboard.
“It was fun to hit the triple,” Farquhar said. “Last year I was 0-3 with three punchouts so it was cool to come back and get a hit and hear the crowd. Especially being a Michigan kid, it’s a dream come true it’s awesome.”
The Lugnuts responded with three runs of their own to wrap up the third inning. After a double sent down center field from outfielder Junior Perez and a single to the left side from Jonny Butler, Lansing pulled ahead of the Spartans to snag the lead prior to a rain delay.
After the approximate 25-minute delay due to inclement weather, the game picked back up with the first quiet inning of the night.
Lansing picked up five more runs at the bottom of the fifth inning with the help of a double to left field from Winkler to collect the final two runs.
MSU failed to even out the score in the final two innings, ultimately falling to the Lugnuts 12-3, in the 2023 Crosstown Showdown.
Despite the loss, Boss was proud of the way his team rallied to compete against professional players in the annual showdown.
“It’s every guy’s dream and goal to play at this level and I think we got a little bit of a taste of what it’s going to take for some guys,” Boss said. “The score is what it is, I think that’s secondary to the experience and it was a good experience today.”
Spartan players were thrilled to participate in the highly attended event, regardless of the final score.
“I thought it showed us tonight that our team’s good and we can compete with some pro guys,” Farquhar said. “We put together some good swings, guys put together some good innings on the mound. It’s a confidence booster for us getting to see we’re not too far off from those guys and how far off our dream is.”
MSU will return to its home field on Wednesday night for its matchup against Bowling green. First pitch is slated for 6:05 p.m.
“Those are some of the better arms we’re going to see all year… Being able to play against the best competition (Lansing Lugnuts) is going to help us moving forward going into Bowling Green tomorrow and Ohio State on Friday,” Farquhar said.”