The Spartans came into Tuesday’s match up with a four game winning streak. Over that time the guys were averaging 13 runs and hits per game. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to keep that going and left their home field without a victory in a 3-2 loss to Western Michigan.
Michigan State is now 15-6 overall while the Broncos have now improved to 12-9. The flip side to this is the Spartans are still undefeated in B10 play thanks to Western being a MAC school.
The Broncos got on the Spartans early, striking first in the second inning thanks to a two run homer by Nate Grys. Their other run came in the top of the fourth.
The Broncos are on the board with a 2-run home, but Spartans get out of jam with a nice snare by Bechina at 3B. WMU, 2-0. #GoGreen— Michigan St Baseball (@statebaseball) March 28, 2017
Michigan State never went quietly, they battled back in the third inning to tie it up as the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week, Bryce Kelley, began the rally with a base on balls. Shortly after that Junior Brandon Hughes - who was named a Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week - drove Kelley in with a single.
Michigan State was left with plenty of chances to stage a comeback and win the game (as they have in every loss this year) but the leaving-runners-stranded issue arose again. The Spartans had guys on first and third in the sixth but couldn’t plate any runs which kept the score in the Broncos favor.
Spartan fans must give credit where it is certainly due, Western Michigan played a heck of a game holding MSU to only 8 hits on the day. Their bullpen was exceptional, giving up 0 hits to Michigan State in the final three innings. The Spartans were simply outplayed in this one (thankfully something that hasn’t happened often in 2017).
Spartans Staying The Course
The Spartans came back down to earth in this one but that doesn’t mean MSU doesn’t have guys staying the course as they pave the way for Michigan State to keep being successful. Michigan State remains a top ten team for runs scored per game (8.3) and one of the best in the country for batting average (.303).
The Spartans have eight guys on their team hitting .304 or better with at least 20 at bats.
- Alex Troop (P/1B): .371 (13-35), 5 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI
- Marty Bechina (3B): .338 (27-80), 3 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 17 RBI
- Brandon Hughes (CF): .337 (30-89), 4 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 20 RBI
- Dan Durkin (2B): .311 (28-90), 7 2B, 4 HR, 20 RBI
- Dan Chmielewski (RF): .309 (25-81), 7 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI
- When a team relies heavily on their offense to win you are bound to have a few games where they simply do not show up as they normally do which will lead to losses.
- It’s always tough to play a former assistant, Billy Gernon was a longtime coach and close friend of Jake Boss Jr’s. These guys know each other well, making games against one another more difficult.
- The Spartans will get back on track with a three game home stand coming up against Minnesota.
B1G conference play will resume this weekend in East Lansing against Minnesota beginning Thursday, March 31st at 3:05 p.m.