MSU falls to Northwestern 7-5 after blowing late lead


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

Liam Jackson, General Assignment Reporter

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Michigan State fell to Northwestern in heartbreaking fashion Sunday afternoon as junior infielder Shawn Goosenberg finished off the Spartans with a three-run, walk-off homer off reliever Zach Iverson to give the Wildcats the dramatic 7-5 come-from-behind victory. 

With the loss, the Spartans dropped to 4-4 on the season while the Wildcats improved to 5-3. Wildcat reliever Garrett Boeckle recorded the win, while Iverson was charged with the loss. 

Leaving runners on base was a major problem for the Spartans against Northwestern on Sunday. Nine Spartans were left on base and when those runners were on, MSU batted just .222. In addition, Wildcat second basemen Vincent Bianchina made several sensational plays in the field to keep Northwestern within striking distance.

Michigan State starting pitcher Nick Powers went 4.1 innings, surrendering three runs and five hits while striking out five Wildcats and issuing one walk. All three runs off of Powers were earned in the third inning for Northwestern. First baseman Anthony Calarco started the rally for Northwestern after a double into left-center field scored Leo Kaplan. Then, with two outs in the inning, catcher Stephen Hrustich hit a two-run home run just to the right of the Green Monster in left field to give the Wildcats an early 3-0 lead. 

Outfielder Bryce Kelley plated the first run of the game for MSU with a line drive single into right field with two outs in the top of the fifth. In the sixth, freshman catcher Gabe Sotres singled to center and scored outfielder Zaid Walker after he stole third base with two outs.

MSU outfielder Casey Mayes with teammate Zaid Walker/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Junior reliever Jordan Beatson was called in from the bullpen in the fifth inning, and in the bottom of the sixth, Beatson ran into some trouble. With runners on second and third, Wildcat sophomore Evan Minarovic swatted a line drive into center field, however, MSU senior Joe Stewart got a phenomenal jump on the ball and made a sliding play to keep the Spartan deficit to one. 

In the bottom of the frame, Stewart left another mark on the game. With one swing of the bat, he put the Spartans ahead 5-3 with a three-run homer over the left field wall. It was the first long ball of Stewart’s career and his first-ever multi-RBI game.

Zach Iverson was called on by manager Jake Boss in the eighth inning to come in for a six-out save after the Wildcats scored a run in the seventh to get back to within one run. After a scoreless eighth, Iverson was unable to record an out in the ninth as he yielded the game-ending home run to Goosenberg. 

The Spartans will look to climb above the .500 mark when they take on Illinois in Ann Arbor. Each conference team has two pod weekends, in which they play the host school and another opponent. As such, MSU will square off against the Fighting Illini and Michigan starting on March 20.