Tuesday, April 23, 2024

MSU baseball loses first Big Ten series of the season, drops to 9-12 overall

March 25, 2024
<p>MSU baseball players march victoriously off the field at McLane Baseball Stadium after their opening day victory against the University of Evansville on March 15, 2024.</p>

MSU baseball players march victoriously off the field at McLane Baseball Stadium after their opening day victory against the University of Evansville on March 15, 2024.

Photo by Matthew Williams | The State News

Michigan State baseball lost two games and won one in a three-game series at Maryland in the team’s first conference series of the season. The series came after Michigan State’s first home-opener of the season in a series win against Evansville

Here’s a summary of the Michigan State-Maryland weekend series.

Game One

The Spartans jumped off to a quick start on Friday with five hits – four of them being doubles – in the top half of the first inning in which they scored three runs.

In the bottom of the first inning, pitcher Joseph Dzierwa took the mound. He had a smooth first inning but later gave up a run in the second inning and three runs in the fourth, before he was relieved by pitcher Logan Pikur

Dzierwa gave up eight hits, four earned runs, walked three players and struck out five.

Pikur gave up a run in the fourth inning on four hits and two walks. He was eventually relieved by right-handed pitcher Noah Matheny.

Michigan State’s offense then went quiet until the seventh inning, plating one run on a Sam Thompson home run, minimizing the deficit to just one run; the score was now 5-4 Maryland in front.

Matheny tossed four scoreless innings after relieving Pikur, striking out five players and not allowing a single hit. 

The Michigan State offense came through in the ninth inning when the Spartans hit a game-tying single up the middle, off the bat of Thompson to bring the game to 5-5. 

The game went into extra innings where Dillon Kark scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-5 in favor of the Spartans. In the bottom of the 10th inning, closer Tommy Szczepanski entered the game.

Szczepanski gave up two runs after striking out the first batter in the bottom of the 10th to give the Terrapins the win, 7-6. Szczepanski received the loss.

Outfielder Jack Frank stood out with two doubles, going 4-5 with two runs batted in. Thompson, outfielder Landen Lozier and infielder Randy Seymour all collected two hits apiece as well. Thompson was the only Spartan to hit a home run in the first game. 

Game Two

Like game one of the series, the Spartans started strong, reeling in two runs in the first inning to take an early lead. Nick Powers started as a pitcher for the Spartans and came into the game with Michigan State having a comfortable, early 2-0 lead. Powers was able to shut out Maryland’s offense in the first two innings. 

Michigan State’s offense plated two runs in the top half of the third inning to extend its lead to 4-0.

On defense, Powers looked dominant early on before giving up a run in the third inning to make it 4-1 MSU. Powers continued to pitch for Michigan State for eight full innings and was able to stop Maryland from scoring at all, until he gave up a home run in the sixth inning, making the score 4-2 in favor of the Spartans. His day ended with only allowing two earned runs on seven hits, walking just one player and striking out five.

The offense remained quiet after the third inning for Michigan State, until catcher/designated hitter Christian Williams hit a single to bring a run in, adding to the lead; the score was then 5-2.

Szczepanski entered the game in the bottom of the ninth inning and got his third save of the season, after walking two players. 

The 5-2 win tied the series up for the Spartans at 1-1, also marking Michigan State’s first win of the Big Ten season.

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Game Three

Right-hander Nick Ferazzi was the starting pitcher for the Spartans, who only allowed one unearned run in the third inning. 

The offense was quiet for Michigan State until the middle innings: Williams hit a game-tying, 400-foot home run to tie the game at 1-1 in the fifth inning, McKay brought in two runs with a single in the sixth inning, and catcher Noah Bright added a home run in the seventh inning to make the score 4-1. 

Ferazzi continued his strong pitching performance throughout the game and was relieved in the bottom of the sixth inning. He finished with no earned runs, three walks, three hits and struck out seven players. 

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Nolan Higgins came into the game as a pitcher and gave up three earned runs on three hits, prompting a pitching change. The game was then tied at 4-4 and the Spartans had a chance to take the lead after a recent scoring drought in the eighth inning. 

Neither team could score in the ninth inning, prompting another extra innings game. 

Michigan State’s bats went quiet in the top of the 10th inning as no one was able to score. 

In the bottom of the 10th inning, pitcher Harrison Cook gave up a walk-off single that brought a run in, ending the game with a score of 5-4 as Maryland came out victorious. 

Ferazzi was the main standout with his pitching performance, one that head coach Jake Boss Jr. felt great about, but was disappointed in his team after he was relieved.

"I thought it was a shame for Nick Ferazzi, he deserved better. He really threw well and he battled it out and gave us everything he had," Boss Jr. said. "We sent him back out there for one more knowing he was tired, but he gutted out one more inning and got us through the sixth."

The Spartans dropped the series, winning just one of three games, which ultimately brings their record to just 9-12 on the season and 1-2 in Big Ten play.

Michigan State will next visit the University of Michigan for a single game on Tuesday, March 26 at 4 p.m. The game will be a chance to capture another Big Ten win against the school’s biggest in-state rival, in the first of a five-game week.

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