Michigan State baseball falls to Purdue Fort Wayne


Mitch Jenn runs into the dugout during the Crosstown Showdown on April 4, 2023. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Matthew Coury, Baseball Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING  – The Michigan State Spartans hosted the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons for one game on Wednesday night in search of their seventh consecutive win. The Spartans fell short by a score of 3-2. 

The first inning started off well for both teams, as the Spartans and the Mastodons exchanged singular runs in the first inning. 

Michigan State’s starter Nolan Higgins only allowed a single run and had two strikeouts before being taken out of the game. Purdue Fort Wayne’s starter Brendan Reid threw a strong four innings, with three strikeouts and only one run allowed.

Both teams exchanged single runs in the first inning, and there were fourteen straight batters retired between the two teams. The Mastodons regained the lead in the top of the fourth inning, with a solo home run by outfielder Grant Thoroman, which was his fifth home run of the season. 

“We hit some balls hard at guys but just didn’t stick to our approach today and kind of got away from it and kind of got ourselves out and executed,” said MSU second baseman Trent Farquhar. “They played clean baseball, give them credit.”

The lead was extended in the fifth inning, with Purdue Fort Wayne’s second solo home run of the night by catcher Cade Fitzpatrick extending their lead to 3-1. This was Fitzpatrick’s  first home run this season. 

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning,  junior infielder Mitch Jebb scored on a fielder’s choice to pull MSU within one.

MSU threatened to score with two in scoring position in the ninth inning but ultimately fell short.

The Mastodons recorded two home runs and a double off the top of the right field wall to score their runs. MSU struggled at the plate, managing only six hits, four of which came in the first.  

After the first inning, the Spartans went five innings without a hit, before Jack Frank singled in the sixth. The sole other hit belonged to Gregg Ziegler to start the ninth. Despite having some scoring opportunities, MSU left nine men on base throughout the game. 

“We talked about doing several things before the game,” said Boss Jr. “We talked about a consistent offensive approach. We had four hits in the first inning and finished  with six. We talked about consistent energy throughout the game. Half the time of the play, we didn’t want to be there.” 

After the loss, Boss Jr. addressed the upcoming matchup against rival Michigan. 

“It doesn’t matter who we play next,” Boss Jr said. “We can’t put this [game] away. We need to get better.” 

“Beautiful thing about baseball is you get another opportunity to show that we can overcome adversity,” said Farquhar. “Obviously not the best game for us, but we just got to bounce back.” 

As the rain poured down, the Spartans (23-11) fell to the Mastodons (10-28), snapping Michigan State’s season-high six game winning streak. 

MSU will now travel to Ann Arbor for a rivalry series against Michigan starting April 21 at 4 p.m.