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Michigan State Baseball wins three of four games against Maryland to open the 2021 season

MSU baseball got off to a strong start including, a 10-strikeout, shut-out performance by Spartan pitcher Sam Benschoter, and solid hitting by Zaid Walker

Michigan State pitcher Sam Benschoter
Jeremy Fleming

Michigan State baseball got off to a good start over the weekend, as the Spartans beat the Maryland Terrapins three times in four tries to start the season 3-1. The opening series took place at Fluor Field in Greenville, South Carolina. Fluor Field is the home of the Greenville Drive, who are a Class-A Minor League affiliate of the Boston Red Sox and who happen to be owned by Michigan State alumnus, Craig Brown.

The Spartans got off to a very strong start to the season on Friday night with a 6-0 shutout win over the Terrapins. The star for MSU on opening night was pitcher Sam Benschoter, who earned a career high 10 strikeouts over 8.0 innings.

On offense, the Spartans broke open a 3-0 lead with a three-run eighth inning. The scoring was highlighted by a two-run single from Spartan infielder Zack Iverson, who also happened to pitch the final inning of the Spartan victory.

On Saturday, the Spartans played a double-header against Maryland and managed to win both contests as well. In the first game, the Spartans got off to a strong start again by scoring three runs in the opening inning and then by adding a fourth run in the bottom of the third.

Maryland closed to gap to 4-3 in the fourth and fifth innings, but the Spartans were able to score three more runs of their own in the fifth and sixth innings in order to secure the 7-4 victory. On offense, the Spartans were led by sophomore outfielder Zaid Walker, who was a perfect 3-for-3 from the plate with three RBIs and two runs scored.

In the second game of the day, it was the Terrapins who jumped out to the early 4-0 lead. But, the Spartans were able to rally late by scoring a run in the sixth and by adding four runs in the seventh inning in order to win 5-4.

The Spartans had 10 hits total in the nightcap from a variety of player including pair of hits each from Walker, senior outfielder Bryce Kelley, and freshman infielder Mitch Jebb. On defense, the Spartans were buoyed by redshirt sophomore relief pitcher Will Christophersen, who held the Terrapins scoreless on only two hits through 5.0 inning, which also included seven strikeouts.

It should also be noted that Christophersen entered the game to relieve Spartan pitcher Adam Berghorst, who gave up two earned runs on Saturday evening in 3.2 innings. Spartan football fans will recognize Berghorst as a two-sport star who has seen action as a tight end after transitioning from the defensive end position.

On Sunday, however, the Spartans’ three-game winning streak came to an end. It was a defensive-focused game as no more than one run was scored in any side of an inning. Maryland took an early 2-0 lead by the end of the third inning. The Spartans got on the board in the bottom of the sixth with a run off an RBI single from Iverson, but Maryland padded its lead in the top of the seventh and went on to win 3-2.

Next weekend, the Spartans will play another Friday to Sunday four-game series at Flour Field, this time against the Northwestern Wildcats. The action can be followed either through a subscription to Big Ten Network+ or though live stats, both of which are linked through the official MSU Athletics website, MSUSpartans.com.