After firing on all cylinders to begin the year, Michigan State’s season has hit a rough patch. The Spartans are headed back to East Lansing after a 10 day road trip that ended on a three-game losing streak to top teams Clemson and South Carolina.
Most recently, they took on the #10 Gamecocks, losing the shortened series — Sunday’s game was cancelled due to inclement weather — and only scoring 4 total runs in both games. The Spartans are led by their offense which has missed out on big opportunities lately and was outscored by their Clemson and South Carolina 17-6 over the final three games of the trip.
Michigan State opened the series against USC Friday and the sophomore southpaw Alex Troop was on a tear, he had a no hitter going through five innings and pitched a complete game. Troop held South Carolina to just three hits but Michigan State fell short.
Spartans get one on but no more to end the game, MSU falls to No. 10 South Carolina, 3-2.— Michigan St Baseball (@statebaseball) March 11, 2017
Michigan State’s offense failed to be clutch in big moments throughout Friday’s game. The Spartan’s outhit the Gamecocks 9-3 but once again left 8 runners stranded. Plus it’s hard to win games when your team gets struck out 14 times.
Saturday’s game didn’t get any better for the Spartans as they lost 5-2. Wil Crowe, the starting pitcher for South Carolina, was tough on Michigan State. He went 6.2 IP, surrendered only three hits and struck out nine, bringing Michigan State’s strikeout total to 25 on the weekend.
The offensive bright spot of the weekend was Alex Troop, the hitter! After pitching a complete game three-hitter Friday night, had at the plate Saturday, going 2-2 with a Home Run. Late in the game Troop also walked which helped set the Spartans up for a possible rally that came up short against USC reliever Josh Reagan. Talk about a heck of a weekend.
Michigan State didn’t have a good offensive game Saturday. That’s going to happen to this team sometimes, which makes it all the more crucial for them to take advantage of games like Friday night and drive those men home. They need to win games with their offense, and missing out on plating more runs because of their inability to capitalize with men on base cost them another game.
Spartans Staying The Course
Spartans Fall To No. 10 South Carolina Saturday, 5-2. Series finale Sunday at 1:30 pm. pic.twitter.com/VAkplLAg7s— Michigan St Baseball (@statebaseball) March 12, 2017
After this weekend Michigan State’s batting average did drop off but it remains one of the best in the country at .312. The Spartans now have seven guys who average better than .300 and four guys who hit .339 or more from the plate.
- Alex Troop (P/1B): .400 (6-15), 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBIs
- Marty Bechina (3B): .380 (19-50), 3 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBIs
- Dan Durkin (2B): .345 (19-55), 6 2B, 2 HR, 15 RBIs
- Zach McGuire (1B): .340 (18-53), 7 2B, 2 HR, 13 RBIs
- Danny Gleaves (CF): .339 (21-62), 5 2B, 1 HR, 12 RBIs
- Michigan State struggled to plate runs as they left another 8 on during Friday’s contest. The Spartans also left 9 runners on when they played Clemson which resulted in another loss. The Spartans are a good team, especially offensively, but if they can’t figure out a way to drive runs home against good competition they are in trouble.
- Alex Troop remains one of the Spartans best players, Friday he pitched a complete game allowing three hits in nine innings. Then he turns it up even more Saturday finishing 2-2 in the box with a solo shot.
- Playing six games in just 10 days would be tough on any team but the Spartans now have a few days to piece a couple things together before hitting the road again.
Michigan State will travel to Richmond, Virginia where they will participate in the Richmond Spider Invitational. The Invitational starts March 17th, the Spartans will take on Campbell, Richmond, and Cornell.