Michigan State defeats Oakland in front of packed McLane Stadium


Trent Farquhar returns to Michigan State’s dugout after scoring a run during the Crosstown Showdown on April 4, 2023. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Matthew Coury, Baseball Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING – Michigan State returned home Wednesday afternoon from its extra inning win in South Bend against Notre Dame on April 11, and capped it off with another win by a final score of 8-3 at McLane Stadium.

McLane Stadium brought in 1,541 fans Wednesday night which was a big contribution to the win.

“[It was an] unbelievable crowd tonight, This is my 15th year here… I don’t know if we’ve ever had a crowd like that. I told my guys people are excited for what they’re doing,” head coach Jake Boss said. 

Oakland plated a record-setting 35 runs in its previous game and looked to continue the offensive dominance but the Spartans were able to silence their bats in a well rounded 8-3 win. 

The Golden Grizzlies struck first but quickly lost their momentum in the bottom of the first inning as with the bases loaded their pitcher made a mental error and balked in the first Spartan run of the game. 

Oakland’s early bats allowed for the team to jump ahead to an early 3-1 lead in the 3rd inning but MSU quickly responded with four runs of their own in the bottom of the inning and never lost the lead again. 

Right fielder Ian Clearly was Oakland’s key contributor getting a hit that would knock in two RBIs for them early on. He leads his team with a .312 batting average. 

First baseman Brock Vradenberg and right fielder Jack Frank were huge contributors to the game. Vradenberg had a four for five  night at the plate with two singles and two triples. 

He was able to knock in two RBIs as well as score himself on a base hit by Jack Frank all in that momentum shifting third inning. Frank also had a two for three night with two RBIs to help propel the team to victory. A night like this was one that continued to show once again that the Spartans have an offense that has been able to hit the ball well. 

Vradenberg was able to grant MSU the Big Ten lead in triples and has been a huge part of the team’s phenomenal  .311 conference leading team batting average. As for personal accolades he tied for fifth in the conference for RBIs with 38 and continued to show why he has the leading batting average in the Big Ten at .424. 

“There is always a threat for an extra base hit or an RBI every time he steps to the plate. He is hitting the ball really hard right now,” Boss said. 

Coming in to relieve for four innings the right-handed Spartan pitcher Nolan Higgens was able to shut down Oaklands offense allowing no runs and striking out six batters in his outing.

“His stuff is really good. He’s got some swing and miss stuff. He’s got a bright future ahead,” Boss said. 

Oakland now falls to 14-18 on the season while the Spartans improve to 20-10, winning 13 of their last 16 games and hope to carry the momentum into their upcoming series against Western Illinois.

First pitch against Western Illinois is scheduled for April 14 at 6:05 p.m. at McLane Stadium.