ANN ARBOR, me. Michigan State baseball used their defense and pitching Powers to rule out No. 22 Michigan 3-0 on Monday-afternoon in the fourth and final game of the Ann Arbor pod at Ray Fisher Stadium in Michigan.
Monday’s win marked the Spartans’ first shutout win over Michigan since April 19, 2002 in Ann Arbor, as well as hitting a 10-game losing strand in the series. Michigan State also awarded No. 22 Michigan its first shutout loss of the season and its first shutout loss since March 17, 2019.
The Spartans tied the record 6-6 in the season and went 2-2 over the weekend with a split of the two games apiece with Illinois and Michigan, beating Illinois 11-0 on Saturday in the opener of a split doubleheader, before losing to Michigan, 8-7, in the nightcap on a walk-off HR. Michigan, which also split the weekend, is 9-3 on the season.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our boys, especially the way yesterday ended,” says MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “To come back and do what we did today against a really good ball club was great to see. We played really solid baseball today and made no mistakes defensively. We took advantage of a few opportunities and took the big homerun. the ninth, and just got out an excellent pitching performance Nick PowersAnd I just couldn’t be more proud of our boys. I think yesterday was one of the heavier losses we’ve had, but coming back today and bouncing back reveals a lot about the character of this team. “
Freshman pitcher Nick Powers acted on the mound and went 7.0 innings while limiting Michigan to only four hits, while pitching three in his second collegiate appearance. Redshirt sophomore Wyatt Rush went 1.1 IP of relief, keeping the Wolverines to just one hit while getting a strikeout. Rush accounted for a leadoff double to Jimmy Obertop, who had the walk-off home run in Sunday’s game, then Clark Elliott made an error for the junior third baseman / pitcher Zach IversonRush then just missed and walked Christian Molfetta, and MSU made a pitching change by calling Iverson to the mound to try to end the ball.
After striking Benjamin Sems’ first pitch, Iverson triggered a comebacker for Sems, which he lined up cleanly, spun and shot to the freshman’s shortstop Mitch Jebb in second place, who pitched to freshman first baseman Brock Vradenburg to complete the doubles game and kick-start the celebration of victory for MSU.
Powers were limited in Michigan’s bats and given important defensive moves from his outfielders behind him, including a defensive assist from senior outfielder Joe Stewart, a nice catch on a foul ball by freshman second baseman Trent Farquhar, who made the catch in foul territory just before crashing into the wall along the right field line, plus another double play off the game – two-outs, one-play.
Stewart’s outfield-assist ended the fourth, while Farquhar’s flyout came in the fifth. The other double play came in the sixth, after Powers worked around a leadoff single and hit one-out by a pitch, then got a 6-4-3 double play, started by Jebb, to Farquhar, to Vradenburg. In the seventh, Powers eliminated the Wolverines in three-on-three order, scoring his third strikeout of the game to end the frame and performance. Rush added an 1-2-3 inning in the eighth and also struckout to complete the frame.
The Spartans got on the board in the third inning and posted a few runs without a hit, using walks to freshman infielder Trent Farquhar and senior outfielder Bryce Kelley, then a wild pitch brought the runners to base. Senior outfielder Joe Stewart followed with a sacrifice fly to the right to score Farquhar and Kelley advanced to third base on the throw, and Kelley was driven in on an RBI-groundout by Iverson.
Michigan threatened in the bottom of the fourth, as Powers retired the first two outs on a few groundouts, then gave up a single and stolen base to Molfetta, before another single by Sems tried to drive to center in Molfetta, but Stewart fired a frozen rope to junior catcher Adam Proctor at home, and Proctor made a nice catch, tapping Molfetta for the out to end the inning and keep MSU’s 2-0 lead.
That held until the top of the ninth, then senior designated hitter Bailey Peterson shot a solo homerun over the roughly 30-foot brick wall in the left field of Fisher Stadium to put the Spartans ahead, 3-0, lining up the bottom of the ninth.
Iverson, Walker, Vradenburg and Peterson all scored one hit each, as MSU hit only four hits, with Vradenbug joining Peterson in the extra bases column with a double.
Michigan State returns to McLane Baseball Stadium at Kobs Field for the first time since May 18, 2019, hosting Indiana in a three-game series this weekend, Friday-Sunday, March 26-28. Friday’s opening game is scheduled for a first pitch at 3:05 PM, while starting times on Saturday and Sunday are at 1:05 PM, with the weekend schedule subject to change.
In addition to any schedule updates, fans can follow the games with live statistics links, live audio from TCF Bank Spartan Media Network, and live streaming from Big Ten Network + on MSUSpartans.com.
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