Spartans top Mastodons 7-4 at home, third-straight victory


MSU pitcher Aidan Arbaugh goes into his windup during the Spartans’ 18-6 loss to Michigan on April 15, 2022/ Photo Credit: Sarah Smith

Tommy Cavanaugh, Baseball Beat Reporter

East Lansing – After earning its highest-ranked victory since 2014 in a thrilling 2-1 win over No.18 Notre Dame Tuesday night, Michigan State baseball (16-21, 3-9 B1G) had a quick turnaround to face Purdue Fort Wayne (12-26, 9-10 Horizon) the very next day at home. 

MSU had won two games in a row and felt extremely confident after knocking off a ranked opponent the night before. It was facing an IPFW team that had just been swept by Oakland University and dropped four of its last six. 

The Spartans took care of business at McLane Stadium with a convincing 7-4 win over the Mastodons, improving to 17-21 on the year. 

Freshman right-hander Aidan Arbaugh delivered an unbelievable starting performance for MSU as he allowed just two hits and one earned run while striking out two through five innings. Arbaugh collected his very first collegiate win. 

MSU pitcher Aidan Arbaugh prepares to go into his windup during the Spartans’ 3-2 loss to the Lansing Lugnuts on April 6, 2022/ Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

The scoring started early for MSU as junior outfielder Casey Mayes drove in the first run of the ballgame with an RBI-double in the left center gap. Mayes had the best night at the plate, finishing 3-for-3 with a double, a pair of singles, an RBI and one walk.

IPFW tied the game at one in the top of the fourth with an RBI-double from senior Garrett Lake. However, MSU answered right back with four runs of its own in the bottom half of the inning. 

Hot-hitting sophomore first baseman Brock Vradenburg ripped a two-run single into right field with the bases loaded to put the Spartans up by two. Vradenburg has six RBIs in his last three games. 

Junior outfielder Zaid Walker added to the lead in the same inning with a two-run double, splitting the left-center gap. MSU grabbed a 5-1 lead after four innings and did not look back from there. 

MSU outfielder Zaid Waker walks back to the dugout during the Spartans’ 12-5 win over Youngstown State on March 30, 2022/ Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

The Spartan bullpen held strong for the third consecutive game as redshirt sophomore Brian Martin, junior Jack Brockhaus and grad-senior Kyle Bischoff combined for three earned runs paired with four hits over the final four innings.

The last three runs of the game were scored by the Mastodons in the sixth and eighth innings but fell short in their attempt at a comeback.

Since solidifying himself as the Spartans’ closer in the past few games, graduate-senior right-handed pitcher Kyle Bischoff proved himself once again Wednesday night. Bischoff picked up his ninth save, which leads the Big Ten, while striking out the final two batters to seal the victory. 

With the win, MSU has won three straight games for the first time since March 20 in its home opener series sweep over Houston Baptist. It will look to win its first conference series of the year at home this weekend against Minnesota.

The Spartans are 10th in the Big Ten standings and need to be in the top eight to make the conference tournament. Their best opportunity to make a run will be this weekend against a struggling Minnesota ball club.

First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. ET. on Friday night. The Golden Gophers have lost three of their last four and are 2-10 in conference play, one game back from the Spartans in the Big Ten rankings.