Thursday, May 23, 2024

MSU baseball defeats Evansville 11-3 in season home opener

March 16, 2024
<p>Right-handed pitcher Noah Matheny (29) hurls a pitch toward home plate during Michigan State baseball's home-opener at McLane Baseball Stadium on March 15, 2024. The Spartans came out on top against the University of Evansville Purple Aces with their first victory of the regular season, putting up a final score of 11-3.</p>

Right-handed pitcher Noah Matheny (29) hurls a pitch toward home plate during Michigan State baseball's home-opener at McLane Baseball Stadium on March 15, 2024. The Spartans came out on top against the University of Evansville Purple Aces with their first victory of the regular season, putting up a final score of 11-3.

The Michigan State baseball team defeated Evansville 11-3 in its home opener in front of a packed crowd on a sunny Friday evening. With the win, the Spartans move to 6-9 overall and build momentum for the next two games against Evansville.

After forcing a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the first inning, the Spartans threatened early in the bottom half of the inning. Junior designated hitter Christian Williams singled to left field with one out, followed by junior outfielder Nick Williams drawing a walk to get two runners on. In the next at-bat, freshman infielder Ryan McKay doubled down the left field line to bring one runner home. Directly after, senior infielder Dillon Kark recorded a double of his own to bring home two more runs, putting MSU up 3-0 early in the first. 

The Purple Aces didn’t wait long to strike back however. Freshman infielder Brodie Peart took the Spartans deep with a home run to right field just over the short porch in the top of the 3rd inning to cut the lead to 3-1. 

Despite the home run, sophomore pitcher Joseph Dzierwa shut down Evansville the rest of the third inning. Dzierwa recorded five strikeouts against the first ten batters he faced to start his afternoon

Michigan State threatened again in the bottom of the fourth inning to extend its lead. After a sacrifice bunt by sophomore infielder Randy Seymour to put a man at second, freshman outfielder Landen Lozier lined out to deep center field but put a runner on third base. Senior outfielder Jack Frank stepped up to bat and recorded a line drive base hit to right field to bring home a fourth run for MSU to extend the lead to 4-1. 

Christian Williams stepped in the very next at-bat and hit another single through the middle of the infield to put MSU up 5-1. Following the hit by Christian Williams, Nick Williams unloaded on a ball deep to right field that carried back and over the wall for a three-run home run to increase the lead to seven through four innings of play. 

Evansville made a pitching change in the fifth inning, bringing in redshirt sophomore pitcher Ethan Bell for relief in an effort to contain the damage. Bell hit the first batter he faced, then recorded a walk against the next. Senior catcher Sam Thompson laid down a bunt to advance the runners to second and third base. In the next at-bat, Frank walked to load up the bases for the Spartans in an effort to keep pouring it on the Purple Aces. 

Bell was able to get out of the jam though, striking out Christian Williams and forcing Nick Williams to ground out in the infield. Despite the threat, Evansville maintained its deficit as the score remained 8-1 through five innings of play

The Purple Aces came out firing in the eighth inning with every effort to chip away at the lead. Senior infielder Kip Fougerousse started the inning with a deep shot to right field for a home run, cutting the lead to 8-2. A walk and a single from the Purple Aces put two men on with one out in the top half of the inning. 

Dzierwa’s day came to an end midway through the eighth inning; he recorded eight strikeouts and allowed just three hits, two of which were home runs.

Michigan State wasn’t ready to go away just yet despite a six run lead late in the game. The Spartans loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth due to a pair of walks. Sophomore outfielder Jake Dresselhouse stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and hit a soft grounder to first base that scored a run for the sacrifice run batted in, or RBI, extending the lead to 9-2. Thompson came up to bat next with two runners on. On the payoff pitch, Thompson ripped a ball up the middle that split the gap between the infielders, bringing home two more runs in the inning. 

The Purple Aces added a third run in the top of the ninth because of a double from Fougerousse. Michigan State shut down any threat following the RBI however, and a ground ball to the infield for an easy out secured the win for the Spartans.

Looking ahead, the Spartans will host the Purple Aces twice more this weekend to conclude the three-game series. First pitch will begin at 3:35 for Saturday’s matchup for the second game of the series back at McLane Stadium, where both teams return to action.

Support student media! Please consider donating to The State News and help fund the future of journalism.

Discussion

Share and discuss “MSU baseball defeats Evansville 11-3 in season home opener” on social media.