Monday, June 17, 2024

MSU baseball looks to rebound from loss against Lugnuts in home series against Niagara

April 4, 2024
<p>MSU shortstop Randy Seymour laughs with a teammate during a break in the action on during the "Crosstown Showdown" at Jackson Field in Lansing, MI Wednesday, April 3, 2024. The Spartan's fielders were unable to stop the Lugnuts defense and lost 0-18.</p>

MSU shortstop Randy Seymour laughs with a teammate during a break in the action on during the "Crosstown Showdown" at Jackson Field in Lansing, MI Wednesday, April 3, 2024. The Spartan's fielders were unable to stop the Lugnuts defense and lost 0-18.

Michigan State baseball is coming into this weekend's home series against the Niagara University Purple Eagles off of an 18-0 loss to the Lansing Lugnuts, in which the only noteworthy offensive performance was designated hitter Christian Williams, who had Michigan State's only extra-base hit. 

The Spartans are 12–14 overall and 3-3 in the Big Ten, while Niagara is 18-7 overall with a 6-0 record in the MAAC conference.

The 18-0 loss on Wednesday did not count toward Michigan State's record due to its exhibition nature and hopefully, the loss will allow the Spartans to come back into college competition with momentum after playing professionals for the night.

This will be the first time since 2018 that MSU has faced Niagara. A sweep of the Purple Eagles could bring Michigan State to over .500 since the first game of the season against Merrimack.

Niagara will be a tall task for the Spartan pitching staff as the Purple Eagles average nine runs per game. Their potent offense is led by outfielder/first baseman Eric Rataczak who comes into the contest hitting .446 with eight home runs, 34 runs batted in and an .804 slugging percentage.

Rataczak is accompanied by another over-.400 hitter, as outfielder Nick Monile is hitting .438 with two home runs, 23 runs batted in and a .562 slugging percentage.

Rataczak and Monile are two of six hitters hitting over .300 in the typical starting lineup for Niagara. As a team, Niagara is hitting .321 on average per game.

The Purple Eagle pitching staff boasts a 5.28 total earned run average, which bodes well for a Spartan offense that’s struggled as of late. The Spartans have only scored 10 runs in their last four games and will be looking to regain its form.

The first game will be played on Friday, April 5 at 6:05 p.m. The probable starter for Niagara will be right-handed pitcher Maximilian Ramirez IV who comes in with a 3-2 record and a 3.77 earned run average. The Spartans will use their usual Friday starter, Joseph Dzierwa, who comes into the game at 2-1 with a 3.52 earned run average.

The second game of the series will be on Saturday, April 6 at 3:35 p.m. and the final game of the series will be on Sunday, April 7 at 1:05 p.m.

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