Monday, June 17, 2024

MSU baseball takes series win against Niagara, moves to 14-15 overall

April 8, 2024
Junior outfielder Nick Williams (10) stares down a relief pitcher from first base during a game against Niagara University at McLane Baseball Stadium on April 7, 2024.
Junior outfielder Nick Williams (10) stares down a relief pitcher from first base during a game against Niagara University at McLane Baseball Stadium on April 7, 2024.

The MSU baseball team played against the Niagara Purple Eagles in a home series this past weekend and won two of the three games, pushing the Spartans to 14-15 overall and 7-4 in home games. The Spartans were looking to rebound after a huge 18-0 loss against the Lansing Lugnuts, and in the three-game series, the Spartans won 9-0 and 7-6 and lost 8-6.

Game One

Joseph Dzierwa started on the mound for Michigan State, who came in to the game  with a 2-1 record and a 3.52 earned run average, or ERA. Niagara’s starter, right-hander Maximilian Ramirez IV, came into the game at 3-2 with a 3.77 ERA.

Dzierwa ended up pitching seven full innings and only gave up five hits, struck out nine batters and didn't give up any runs.

Michigan State's offense was pretty in the first three innings but eventually found its groove in the bottom of the fourth inning. A couple base hits and two walks led to Michigan State scoring first to take a 1-0 lead. A hit-by-pitch brought in a runner, making it 2-0 in favor of the Spartans.

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In the bottom of the fifth inning, Michigan State scored four runs to make the score 6-0, from a double by Nick Williams, a wild pitch and a single from Landen Lozier.

Then in the seventh inning, Lozier hit a single up the middle and brought in two runs for MSU, followed by a single for Dillon Kark; the Spartans were now up 9-0 in dominating fashion.

Left-handed pitcher Garrett Brewer finished the game in the top of the ninth inning to close out the game for Michigan State. Brewer struck out the first two batters before giving up a walk. He was then able to strike out the final batter, giving MSU the 9-0 win.

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Game Two

Nick Powers took the mound for Michigan State against Preston Prince for the Purple Eagles in the second game of the three-game series.

The first two innings were quiet for both teams as both Powers and Prince gave up just two hits combined

In the top of the third inning, Niagara scored two runs off of three hits and one error, getting on the scoreboard first in the game

Michigan State's offense came out firing in the bottom of the third inning after a Kark single, a fielder’s choice, a Nick Williams double and another double from infielder Jacob Anderson. The Spartans were able to take the lead, 3-2, after the first third of the game.

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In the top of the fourth inning, Powers gave up a grand slam home run, which ran the score up to 6-3 in favor of Niagara. After that, Powers was able to keep the Purple Eagles from scoring again and retired the rest of the batters.

The Spartans came back again from a deficit and scored another three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Michigan State got a single, a walk, a double and a wild pitch, which tied the game up at 6-6.

Then, in the bottom of the sixth inning, Nick Williams drove in Kark with a single to center, bringing the score to 7-6 in favor of Michigan State.

In the top of the ninth inning, Michigan State allowed just one hit but was able to keep Niagara from scoring, maintaining the 7-6 lead and win the first two games of the three-game series.

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Game Three

Right-hander Nick Ferazzi trotted out to the mound for MSU to start the game and matched up against Niagara’s right-hander Gage Wheaton

Niagara started out the top of the first inning with some offense as the Purple Eagles tallied two singles and a walk, which brought in a run early on.

Michigan State was also able to come out of the gates hot in the first inning. Lozier led off the inning with a single, a single from Jack Frank would follow and Nick Williams notched another single that brought in two runs for MSU; the Spartans were now up 2-1.

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In the top of the third inning, Niagara's infielder Vincent Mauro hit a three-run home run to bring the score to 5-2 in favor of the Purple Eagles. The bleeding stopped after that as Ferazzi retired the remainder of the batters. 

The top of the fourth would be harmless from Niagara despite a double getting one base runner on. MSU was able to get two runners on via a single and a walk, forcing a pitching change for Niagara to get the final out of the top half, Hospital came in to relieve Wheaton. That would be all MSU could get.

The Spartans recorded two hits and scored one run in the bottom of the fifth inning, bringing the deficit closer. However, MSU left two runners on base to end the inning, down 5-3.

In the last two innings, both Michigan State and Niagara scored three runs each as the Spartans left three runners on base, which could have potentially tied or won the game. Instead, Michigan State fell to the Purple Eagles 8-6 in the last game of the series.

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Michigan State head coach Jake Boss Jr. said that the third game -- the team's only loss of the series -- was rough and often times couldn't garner momentum.

“We’re disappointed in the loss, I think we left some chances out there offensively early in the game and we made a couple errors that led to two unearned runs,” Boss Jr. said. “We gave them one bad pitch on a three-run homer, but I thought Nick Ferazzi did a nice job settling in after the home run. We’re disappointed. We won the series, but we had a really good opportunity here to finish the weekend off and we didn’t do it, so it’s disappointing. “

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The Spartans will be looking to bounce back from the loss and carry the series victory over into a single home game against the Central Michigan Chippewas on Tuesday, April 9. The game will start at 6:05 p.m. 

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