MSU baseball falls to top-seeded Maryland in first round of Big Ten Tournament


Sarah Smith

The Michigan State Spartans huddle before a game during the 2022 MSU baseball season. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Evan Katz, Baseball Beat Reporter

Omaha, NE — On Tuesday evening, Michigan State baseball played in its first Big Ten Tournament game since 2018. The eighth-seeded Spartans took on the top-seeded Maryland  Terrapins in game three of the Big Ten Tournament at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska. Maryland won 3-2.

The Spartans scored one run early after freshman pitcher Kyle McCoy committed a throwing error. Junior infielder Trent Farquhar came around to score. 

After only facing four batters and throwing 15 pitches, the Terrapins elected to make a pitching change in the first inning. Afterwards, Michigan State stranded runners at the corners, ending the inning.

It didn’t take long for Maryland to respond; in their half of the first, they had two runners in scoring position for senior third baseman Nick Lorusso. He sent a deep fly ball to center field, recording a nation-leading 97th RBI on the season. Immediately following, Maryland took the lead, making the score 2-1 on another sacrifice fly.

“Make no mistake, they’re (Maryland) really good over there,” MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said.

Michigan State grounded into five double plays on the night, tying a Big Ten Tournament record. The Spartans also left ten runners on base. Maryland pitching, however, issued eight walks.

“We had a lot of traffic on the bases,” said Boss Jr. “I think five double plays can get a little frustrating at times. I thought our guys did a great job of not letting that get to them and not getting too frustrated and just continuing to come at them, one through nine.”

Nick Powers worked quickly after the first inning, allowing one double in the third. Shortly after, Powers retired ten straight batters, settling in for four 1-2-3 innings. 

“Once I settled in there, I just really trusted my stuff,” Powers said. “My change-up felt really good today, and I was just pounding the zone with multiple pitches, and that’s the name of the game, that’s how you keep hitters off balance, and I feel like I did that really well today.”

Redshirt junior centerfielder Greg Ziegler led off the seventh inning by nailing a triple to left field. Junior first baseman Brock Vradenburg hit the ball through the hole on the third base side to tie the game at two for his 67th RBI of the season. 

In the bottom of the eighth, Maryland junior catcher Luke Shliger hit his second double of the game, scoring left fielder Jacob Orr to break the knot, effectively ending Power’s Day. Senior RHP Wyatt Rush came into the game for the Spartans, stranding Shliger at third to end the inning. 

Powers’ final line was 7.1 innings pitched, allowing five hits, three runs, and striking out six.

With Tuesday’s loss, Michigan State will await the loser of Nebraska/Rutgers in the elimination bracket. That game will be played on Thursday, May 25th, with first pitch scheduled for 11:00 a.m. EST.