Purdue defeats MSU 5-4 in B1G opener


Sarah Smith

Casey Mays during the 2022 MSU baseball season. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Jack Latterman, Baseball Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING- Michigan State baseball started conference play at home Friday afternoon against Purdue. The Boilermaker’s five-straight runs were enough to complete a 5-4 comeback over MSU, and earn their first away win of the season.

“It’s not an effort related thing, but it’s an execution thing.  The effort was fine, the effort was there, but we need to execute,” said MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr.  “When the effort is good, it doesn’t always win you games.”

Michigan State started strong and got on the board in the first through a Brock Vradenburg RBI double, which scored lead-off hitter Trent Farquhar.  This was Vradenburg’s 28th RBI of the season, leading the team and placing him third in the Big Ten.  

The Spartan added three more runs in the second inning.  Jake Dresselhouse, Trent Farquhar and Mitch Jebb each batted in a run, improving the lead to four.  This was Freshman Jake Dresselhouse’s second RBI in as many games.

“He’s [Dresselhouse] a talented player. I mean he’s one of the best high school outfielders in the state coming out of Orchard Lake St. Mary’s,” said Boss Jr.  “He’s gonna be a very good player for us.”

Farquhar’s RBI double in the fourth inning brought his season total to 11 doubles, leading the conference and now third in the NCAA.  

MSU lefty Joseph Dzierwa started on the mound for the Spartans and retired his first nine batters without a blemish.  

In the fourth, Purdue got their first hit of the day, and later in the inning, were a few feet short of knotting the game at four with a grand slam.  Instead, Connor Caskenette’s deep fly ball to left found the glove of Casey Mayes, but one run still scored on the sacrifice fly.  Dzierwa fought back to allow just one run after finding himself in a hole with the bases-loaded with no outs.

The Boilermakers continued to find themselves on base in the fifth scoring three more runs.  Paul Toetz batted one of those runs in, bringing his season total to 31 RBIs, leading the team and tying for the Big Ten lead.  

Purdue starting pitcher Khal Stephen struggled in his first two innings, but found command after that.  The Boilermaker pitcher had a win in the first game of the season, the first home game of the season and was looking for one in the first conference game of the season.  

Stephen struck out a career-high eight players and pitched another career-high six innings in the game.  

Andrew Carson reacted well to the pressure for MSU and tallied three strikeouts. Carson entered the mound and got out of a bases-loaded jam before pitching three more scoreless innings.

A Purdue rally in the ninth loaded the bases for the third time in the game, leading to the winning run and making the game 5-4.  

MSU pitcher Wyatt Rush struck out the next two batters getting out of the inning with just one run against, but Michigan State could not find the game-tying run in the ninth.

Purdue reliever Aaron Suval pitched the final three innings, recording three strikeouts while slamming the door closed on the MSU late comeback efforts.  

“We’ve got to take care of the details and got to take care of the little things,” said Boss Jr.  “When you play better than the other team, you usually win, and when you lose, you really deserve to lose.  And we deserved to lose today.  We didn’t play well enough.”

Saturday’s matchup has been postponed due to cold temperatures and inclement weather.  Sunday will now be a double-header with game one slated for 12:05 p.m. and game two taking place around 30 minutes after the first game is completed.