After scoring 41 runs and scoring double digits runs in a three-game sweep at Illinois the Michigan State Baseball team (15-6, 3-0) was only able to muster two runs in a 3-2 loss at home to in-state mid-major Western Michigan (12-9, 2-1) at McLane Baseball Stadium.
Both the Spartans and Broncos did most of their offensive damage in the early stages of the game.
The Broncos put up two runs in the top of the second inning due to a two-out two-run home run by Nate Grys for his second moon-shot of the season.
The Spartans were held hitless and scoreless until the third inning.
Brandon Hughes continued his hot stretch of batting by hitting a single into centerfield to score Bryce Kelley from second for MSU’s first hit and first run of the game. Hughes tallied his 13th RBI in the last four games on the play. MSU tied the game at two a piece one batter later when Dan Durkin singled into right field to score Hughes from second base for his 20th run batted in for the season.
Western Michigan re-took the lead in the top of the fourth inning. With a runner on first and second base, Connor Smith hit a sharp single into centerfield to bring in the third run of the game for the Broncos as WMU took a 3-2 lead.
Michigan State had a great chance to tie the game or even take the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. With a single and double to begin the inning by Alex Troop and Zach McGuire the Spartans had men on the corners with no outs. The next three batters for MSU resulted in a fly out to right field, a sac bunt that couldn’t bring in the run from third, and an inning ending ground out to second base.
With three innings remaining in the game MSU still trailed Western Michigan 3-2.
The Spartans managed just one base runner in the seventh and eighth combined and headed into the ninth still trail by one, 3-2.
For the fifth time in the game the Spartans went down in order in the ninth inning to secure the loss at 3-2.
The Spartans struggles to get anything going with only eight hits and two runs in the game. MSU batters were hitting Broncos pitchers hard but everything seemed to find a Western Michigan fielder. The Spartans went down in order five different innings in the game as well. The lone offensive bright spots for MSU were Brandon Hughes and Zack McGuire who went 2-4 each.
MSU’s starting pitcher Keegan Baar lasted just two and one-third innings giving up five hits and two earned runs, both coming on the Grys home run.
The Western Michigan starting pitcher, Kyle Mallwitz gave up two earned runs as well but over four innings.
WMU relievers were outstanding when coming into the game for the Broncos. The combination of Jake Bartels (the winning pitcher), Eddie McWilliams, and Gabe Berman, the career saves leader at Western, gave up no runs and just three hits over five innings of work.
The loss was credited to MSU pitcher Walter Borkovich.
With the loss the Spartans’s four game winning streak is snapped as they had back into conference play this upcoming weekend.
The Spartans will continue their homestead with a weekend series against Minnesota as the top two teams currently in the Big Ten Conference standings square off on March 30, April 1, and April 2.