If only MSU was playing horseshoes and hand grenades.
The stage was set — alumni day, sunny and beautiful weather, and a big crowd. It was the perfect day for a MSU win but the Spartans fell short, 5-3, in the first game of a three-game series versus Nebraska.
It was a close game, but there was no ‘W’. And coach Jake Boss was frustrated after the loss.
“Very close again today, we’ve been close all year. We had opportunities to make plays we didn’t, they had opportunities to make plays, and they did,” Boss said.
It was also a disappointing game for Spartan ace Mick VanVossen. He started the game hot but then got cold in a hurry, as he gave up four runs in the third inning.
It was not until the fifth inning when the Spartans got on the board. MSU scored their first run on a throwing error by Nebraska’s first baseman. MSU’s Johnny Nate came up clutch again after the first run, and brought in one of his own with a single.
MSU would go on to score its final run in the game off of a Cam Gibson double, which brought in Nate. That was as close as State would get though, as Nebraska still had one run left in them.
The Cornhuskers scored their fifth run on an error by Nate. Nate tried to turn the double play but could only get one and the run crossed home.
That would be the end of the line for MSU in this one, as the Spartans failed to rally in the late innings. And coach Boss reiterated his frustration after the game.
“It’s frustrating being close, we talked about it after the game, and we talked about it last week. We need to continue to give great effort,” he explained.
Despite the loss, it was an exciting day at the ballpark. McLane Stadium hosted the baseball classes of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and even the recent 2000’s. Coach Boss was very appreciative and proud of the turnout and remembrance of Spartan alumni.
“I just want to thank all of our alumni, unbelievable turnout today. It’s really special to have a group of guys that played here and understand what it means to put the green and white on, it’s just really special.”
Michigan State will honor its seniors next Sunday on senior day, and also look to tie up Nebraska in this series in the hopes of gaining some ground for the rest of the season. MSU is currently 26-21 overall on the year.
The first pitch on Sunday is at 1:05 p.m.
Zac Swierad is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports
Photo: Jonathan Yales