MSU splits Saturday’s doubleheader with Northwestern


MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr./Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Zach Surdenik, Baseball Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING — The Michigan State Spartans entered Saturday’s doubleheader with the Northwestern Wildcats on Saturday with a 3-2 record. MSU would leave the doubleheader still above the .500 mark after taking the nightcap of the two-game set 12-3. Northwestern won the first game by a score of 4-2 behind five innings of one-run ball from starting pitcher Quinn Lavelle.

The 12-3 win snapped a three-game losing streak for MSU.

The first game of the doubleheader started in a very similar way to Friday’s 14-2 drubbing—where the Wildcats hit three grand slams in the first three innings—as Wildcat leadoff hitter Anthony Calarco hit a home run off of Spartan ace Mason Erla to start the game.

The Wildcats tacked on two more runs in the second inning, highlighted by freshman Ethan O’Donnell’s RBI single.

MSU responded in the fourth as redshirt senior first baseman Joe Stewart knocked in reigning Big Ten Player of the Week Zaid Walker to put the Spartans on the board.

MSU outfielder Zaid Walker swings at a pitch during a game/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Both teams added a run in the later innings, but the Spartan bats were unable to get to Lavelle, who tossed five innings of two-hit, one-run baseball with six strikeouts to outduel Erla and pick up the win.

With the loss, Erla fell to 1-1 on the season and took the loss despite pitching a complete game, giving up four runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts.

The second game featured a much stronger offensive attack from the Spartans, which was led by redshirt freshman catcher Gabe Sotres, who had three hits, four RBIs, and two runs scored.

The Spartans got off to a slow start in the game and were held scoreless through the first two innings, but scored in six of the final seven innings to cruise to the 12-3 win.

Walker also had a big game at the plate with four hits, including the first home run from a Spartan this season to go with a home-run-robbing catch in the outfield.

Starting pitcher Adam Berghorst responded from a rough start last weekend against Maryland to shut down the Northwestern bats that had scored 18 runs in the first two games of the series. Berghorst pitched five innings and gave up just one run on two hits and no walks.

Reliever Will Christopherson once again came into the game in relief of Berghorst and was strong once again after picking up the win last week against the Terrapins.

Sophomore hurler Burrell Jones finished off the game for MSU by throwing two scoreless innings in relief and striking out four of the six batters that he faced.

The Spartans will be looking for the series split when they take on the Wildcats for the final game of the series at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Freshman Nick Powers, who took a loss in his first collegiate start against Maryland on March 7, is scheduled to start for MSU. Powers threw five innings of two-run ball in his last outing.