Spartans drop series finale, drop to .500 in Big Ten play

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EAST LANSING, Mich. – The three-game set between two teams searching for a way to qualify for the Big Ten tournament wrapped up Sunday with the Maryland Terrapins winning the series 2-1. The Terps used a fourth-inning, four-run surge to down the Spartans and win the rubber match 5-3 on Alumni Day at McLane Baseball Stadium.

MSU’s Danny Gleaves provided a jump-start that was non-existent in yesterday’s 8-2 loss. He got the start in center field, and his first of the season in the leadoff spot. On the first offering from Maryland starter Tyler Blohm, he sent a pitch to the right-field wall off Randy Bendar’s glove for a triple. Chad Roskelly drove him in two hitters later with a sacrifice fly to center – the first time the Spartans grabbed the first lead of the series.

Michigan State’s starter Mike Mokma cruised through the first half of the game taking a no-hitter to the fifth inning. It was broken up, which led the game’s biggest inning. Bednar and Justin Morris started the inning with singles, and Nick Dunn followed with a walk. No. 3 hitter Marty Costes then belted his fourth home run of the season, hitting a grand slam to put the Terps up 4-1.

“The grand slam, that’s on me,” MSU coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “The bullpen was fully stocked and ready to go, and I should havehad Jake Lowery ready for that spot and I didn’t. Their guy had a couple good swings off of Mike his first two at-bats, and we decided to stay with Mike and their guy ended up hurting us.”

UMD added an insurance run in the eighth off Mitchell Tyranski. Zach Jancarski walked and scored on Taylor Wright’s double – his six of the season. Maryland upped their lead to 5-1.

MSU remained quiet throughout most of the game, but they had their chances, stranding 10 runners. The 3-4-5 hitters in the MSU lineup hit a combined 1-for-12 with three strikeouts.

MSU responded with two in the eighth and a baserunner in the ninth but couldn’t push anything across in their last at-bats losing 5-3, despite potential tying run Justin Antoncic’s lengthy at-bat.

“Better at-bats later, guys competed, they continue to compete,” Boss Jr. said. “The last at-bat of the ball game, just a great at-bat by Justin – what are you going to do? Their guy made pitches when he needed to, and they got us.”

MSU sits at an even 7-7 in the B1G with three conferences series remaining: Penn State, Minnesota, Ohio State.

“With three obviously big weekends to go, we’ll worry about Penn State after we get through final exams here in the next couple days, and then it’s all baseball,” Boss Jr. said.

WP – Tyler Blohm (6 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 4 K)

LP – Mike Mokma (5 IP, 4 R, 4 H, 5 K)

SV – John Murphy (3)

For the first time this season, the Spartans won’t play a midweek game due to final exams. They travel to State College, Pa. next weekend to take on the Nittany Lions of Penn State for a three-game series.

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