MSU baseball sweeps Northwestern in Saturday doubleheader


Jack Moreland

Wyatt Rush pitches against Western Illinois on April 15, 2023. Photo Credit: Jack Moreland/WDBM

Jack Latterman, Baseball Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING – Following a rainout on Friday, Michigan State baseball faced Northwestern in a doubleheader Saturday. The Spartans were victorious in both games, led by great pitching.

“I felt really proud of our guys. I thought we played really well today in both games and got good pitching performances out of our starters,” MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said.

Mitch Jebb lined a triple to the center field fence in the first and later scored off a Sam Busch RBI double. Busch now has 35 RBI’s on the season, the second most for an MSU player.

Joseph Dzierwa found his command early on the mound for Michigan State, striking out four in the first two innings and allowing no hits.  He finished the game with five strikeouts in his six innings of action.

Northwestern center fielder Griffin Arnone made three spectacular catches early in the game, stealing multiple hits from MSU.

A sacrifice fly by sophomore Alex Calarco scored Owen McElfatrick in the third tying the game at one.  

Jebb tripled for the second time today in the third scoring center fielder Greg Ziegler. He scored off a Brock Vradenburg sacrifice fly, giving MSU a two-run lead.

The Spartan bats came alive in the fourth. Three straight no-out singles by Bryan Broecker, Jack Frank and Dillon Kark led to one right. Casey Mayes grounded to the pitcher, scoring another, but Wildcat starter Matt McClure fought back to limit the damage to two.

NU catcher Cooper Foard opened the fifth inning with a solo homer to left, clearing the wall and finding the pine trees. Senior Kevin Ferrer drilled one to right, creeping over the wall and adding another home run to his two on the season.

MSU added to their lead in the seventh on behalf of a Frank sacrifice fly scoring Vradenburg.  Ziegler scored in the eighth via a wild pitch and Vradenburg doubled, scoring Trent Farquhar.  Vradernburg has  52 RBIs this  season, sitting third in the Big Ten.  

The Spartans led 8-3 heading into the ninth.  Harrison Cook slammed the door closed on any NU comeback efforts. He and Dzierwa combined for six K’s and just five hits against.  

Michigan State pitching was spectacular in game two headed by freshman Nolan Higgins.  The righty allowed just one hit in the first six innings and struck out four.  He finished the game with 6.2 innings pitched, three hits against and one earned run.

Vradenburg led off the scoring for MSU in game two with a solo homer to left. The 6-foot-7 second baseman now has 11 on the season, leading the Spartans.  Vradernburg followed up in the fourth with a double and later scored.  

In the sixth, the power-hitter sent one over the right-field wall and into the Red Cedar River for a three-run homer. Vradenburg leads the conference in batting average and is tenth in the NCAA.  He finished the game with a team leading four RBIs.   

“He’s (Vradenburg) a big strong guy that’s capable of a lot of different things and you know, that’s what we need him to do in the middle of the order,” said Boss Jr. 

“There’s a lot of different ways that Brock can hurt you.”

NU got on the board in the seventh when Arnone doubled to right, scoring Tony Livermore.  Luke Tanner followed up with a two-run RBI double making the score 6-3 heading into the seventh inning stretch.   

Andrew Carson and Wyatt Rush pitched in relief for MSU, combining for one hit and completing the win in game two.

The Spartans will look to sweep Northwestern for the first time since 2018.

“We know that those guys are very capable over there, and we  need to be ready to go. Don’t take anybody lightly,” said Boss Jr. 

Game three of the series will begin at 1:05 p.m. Sunday.