Spartans beat Fighting Irish with a 6-2 upset at Comerica Park


MSU pitcher Harrison Cook delivers a pitch during the Spartans’ 4-3 win over Houston Baptist on March 18, 2022/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Jacob Phillips, Baseball Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING – Michigan State baseball beat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in an upset win at Comerica Park on Tuesday night.

The Spartans started the game with sophomore pitcher Harrison Cook on the mound. Cook struggled for most of the season, putting up four losses and no wins on nine total appearances. Coming into Comerica, his ERA sat at 8.91, the fourth-worst in MSU’s rotation.

Cook, however, played one of his best games of the season on Tuesday. Pitching for the first 5.2 innings of the matchup, he only gave up two runs on five hits and three walks. During his time on the mound, Cook also struck out four batters. This improved his ERA to 8.08 on the season.

MSU pitcher Harrison Cook delivers a pitch during the Spartans’ 4-3 win over Houston Baptist on March 18, 2022/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Those two runs went to Notre Dame senior first baseman Carter Putz and graduated senior second baseman Jared Miller. 

Putz, who is currently batting at .355 on the year, was brought in off a single up the right side in the third inning by senior right fielder Brooks Coetzee III. Miller, who was walked onto first base in the top of the sixth, was hit in with a double to deep left field from junior designated hitter Jack Brannigan.

Spartan relief pitcher Wyatt Rush, a redshirt junior, stepped to the mound after the second run for Notre Dame in the top of the sixth. Rush, who was credited with the victory over the Fighting Irish, now has five wins and two losses in 13 total appearances. Giving up only two hits and no runs, Rush helped to limit Notre Dame’s normally explosive offense.

While the Fighting Irish struggled to generate momentum at the plate, the Spartans held an early lead. The bottom of the first saw the first two batters, sophomore shortstop Mitch Jebb and sophomore second baseman Trent Farquhar, walk to first. With two outs left in the inning, center fielder Peter Ahn, a redshirt junior, hit both Jebb and Farquhar in and reached first on an error by freshman third baseman Jack Penney.

MSU first baseman Peter Ahn smacks a hit during the Spartans’ 12-5 win over Youngstown State on March 30, 2022/ Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Notre Dame would end the game with three errors, two of which were from Penney. The third error came from senior shortstop Zack Prajzner.

The sixth inning saw similar action for the Spartans as a single by sophomore right fielder Jack Frank was hit in by freshman catcher Bryan Broecker. Broecker and Ahn, who was walked to first after Frank’s single, were both hit in by a double to left field by sophomore first baseman Brock Vradenburg.

Vradenburg now has an average of .250 going 1-for-3 in the game against Notre Dame. His one hit counted for two RBIs, one-third of the Spartans’ final score.

MSU infielder Brock Vradenburg stands in the batter’s box during the Spartans’ 9-2 loss to Illinois on March 25, 2022/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Michigan State brought in one final run in the bottom of the seventh. Farquhar took a base on balls and ended up reaching third after a single by junior left fielder Casey Mayes and a wild pitch. Ahn once again reached first on an error, leaving Farquhar wide open to take home, bringing the score up 6-2.

In the top of the eighth, Spartan coach Jake Boss brought in junior Andrew Carson to close out the final two innings. After giving up a first pitch single down the right side to Prajzner, Carson struck the next three batters out looking to retire the side. He closed out the top of the ninth with a final strikeout, stranding one final batter for the Fighting Irish and completing the upset.