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MSU baseball's great offense takes Big Ten series win against Penn State

April 22, 2024
<p>Junior outfielder Nick Williams celebrates a successful run to third base in the matchup against Penn State at McLane Baseball Stadium on April 21, 2024.</p>

Junior outfielder Nick Williams celebrates a successful run to third base in the matchup against Penn State at McLane Baseball Stadium on April 21, 2024.

The MSU baseball team returned to its home field and took on a Big Ten rival, the Penn State Nittany Lions, and won two of the three games. Michigan State won the first game 6-5 and the second game 11-5, but lost the third and final game 11-9. 

Game One

Joseph Dzierwa took the mound for the Spartans in the first game of the series and squared off against Penn State's right-hander Travis Luensmann

Neither team had a great offensive start in the first inning, but in the bottom of the second inning, Michigan State was able to get onto the scoreboard and get an early 1-0 lead. Outfielder Greg Ziegler singled to begin the inning, a sacrifice bunt moved him over and infielder Sam Busch got a walk right after. Both runners stole second and third on a double steal, before catcher Sam Thompson grounded out to bring in a run. That would be the only run for MSU; the Spartans up 1-0.

Dzierwa was back out in the top of the third inning for MSU and he walked the first batter before striking out the next. He proceeded to give up a single to right field and induced a fly out. A single to left field brought in a run for Penn State, but that would be all. The score was tied at 1-1. 

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Back out for the top of the fourth, Dzierwa allowed a solo home run off the bat of infielder Grant Norris. Besides that, Dzierwa was able to escape the inning just costing one more run with Penn State up 2-1.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Michigan State came out firing on offense. The Spartans were able to get a hit-by-pitch, a single and a double, which brought in two runs. A single from infielder Ryan McKay brought in another run, making the score 4-2 in favor of Michigan State. Then, in the bottom of the sixth inning, Michigan State hit a single, sacrifice bunt, triple and a sacrifice fly, bringing in two runs to make the score 6-2. 

Michigan State's pitching and defense was relatively strong, until the top of the eighth inning. The Spartans allowed an error and a double, leading to Penn State scoring. Then, a few batters later, the Nittany Lions hit two more doubles and brought the score to 6-5. 

In the top of the ninth inning, Michigan State was able to close out the game and win 6-5.

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Game Two

Left-handed pitcher Nick Powers started as pitcher for Michigan State while Penn State's right-hander Jaden Henline started.

Powers began the top half of the first inning with a walk and a hit batter before inducing a fielder’s choice. Then, he gave up a single which brought a run in, the first of the game. By the middle of the first inning, the score was already 1-0, Penn State.

Offense was quiet from both teams until the bottom of the third inning when Michigan State was able to garner momentum. A walk, bunt, error and two singles later, Michigan State was up 3-1 and took the lead for the first time in the game.

Powers came back out in the top of the sixth inning for the Spartans and gave up a solo home run to right-center field, but escaped the rest of the inning, only letting in one run; the score was 3-2, Michigan State ahead.

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Designated hitter Christian Williams started off the bottom of the sixth inning with a double, followed by two more hits from Spartans, leading to a bases-loaded at-bat for Jack Frank. Frank hit a sacrifice fly and brought in a run. The offense didn't stop there, however, as Michigan State hit a double and two singles, which brought the score to 8-2 in favor of Michigan State.

Michigan State's momentum from the bottom of the sixth inning carried over to the seventh: the Spartans hit three singles and a double, which added to their lead and made the game 11-2.

In the last two innings, Penn State scored three runs off of a two-run home run, an error and a single.

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The Spartans, however, were able to retire the Nittany Lions in the top of the ninth inning and won 11-5.

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Game Three

Right-hander Nick Ferazzi started the game for pitching for MSU in the third and final match of the series. He was matched up against right-hander Frankie Sanchez for Penn State.

Both teams were quiet in the first two innings offensively, tallying up four combined hits.

In the top of the third inning, Ferazzi gave up two two-run home runs, causing an early 4-0 lead for Penn State. Then, in the top of the fourth inning, Michigan State allowed two doubles and a two-run home run, as Penn State had a very dominant 7-0 lead.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Michigan State was looking to come back from a seven run deficit and try and gain some momentum. The Spartans were able to get two walks and a single, before getting another walk, an error and two singles, which let them score five runs.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Michigan State scored on a wild pitch as the bases were loaded, and then scored another run from a sacrifice fly; the game was tied at 7-7.

In the eighth inning, both Penn State and Michigan State scored a run, which made it 8-8 going into the ninth inning.

Penn State's offense in the ninth inning was too much for Michigan State's defense and pitching. The Nittany Lions were able to get a walk and a single up the middle, which led to a thre-run home run; Penn State was now up 11-8. After the home run, the Spartans were able to stop the bleeding and get out the inning without any more hits.

As a last chance for Michigan State to tie or win the game, the Spartans needed a miracle to come back in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Spartans got two singles and scored a run, making the score 11-9. That was all, however, for them, as the Spartans lost the third game 11-9.

Boss Jr. spoke about his team and praised their competitiveness post-game, saying that overall he was happy with his team’s performance.

“I thought our two hitting guys, Graham Sykes and Andrew Stone, put together a great plan and a great approach,” Boss Jr. said. “Our guys bought in all weekend long, and so, you know that was certainly really positive. We'll be back at it (on) Wednesday, and we’ll be ready to go for Ohio State.”

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The Spartans moved to 17-20 overall on the season and 5-7 in the Big Ten, and will carry this Big Ten series win into playing at Ohio State this upcoming weekend for another Big Ten series. The first game is on Friday, April 26 at 6 p.m.

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