Takeaways from MSU baseball’s loss in home opener


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

Owen Oszust, Baseball Beat Reporter

East Lansing — After a convincing win against Michigan on Monday, the Michigan State Spartans headed back to East Lansing for Opening Day at McLane Baseball Stadium to face the Big Ten standings leaders in the red-hot Indiana Hoosiers.

The Spartans struggled giving up four runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to fall 8-2 to the Hoosiers.

The first takeaway was the Spartans struck out looking in five of their seven Ks at the dish. This is something that MSU coach Jake Boss will most likely be talking to his team about to try to fix for the rest of the series. 

MSU was willing to take a lot of close pitches that sometimes worked, as it drew eight walks. With two strikes, though, it is extremely dangerous to squash some golden opportunities.

MSU senior outfielder Joe Stewart performed well at the plate, going 3-4 with his second home run on the season and looking confident. Unfortunately, he dropped a big fly ball in centerfield that led to four unearned runs in the top of the fifth inning. It was a tough play, especially with the wind, and not being able to practice as much most likely played a factor.

“We were a couple of plays away from winning this one, and we didn’t make those plays,” Boss said.

Had those plays been made, the turnout of the game had the potential to be different.

Another takeaway was Indiana getting the leadoff hitter of the inning on compared to MSU. The Hoosiers got the first batter of the inning on 5-9 times compared to the Spartans, who were only 1-9 in that compartment. Big innings can occur when the first batter gets on base, and MSU needed that badly.

Driving in guys from scoring position was another big thing that MSU couldn’t capitalize on either, going 1-6. The only other run it scored in the game was on the solo shot from Stewart. 

The final takeaway is that MSU redshirt junior pitcher Mason Erla didn’t have his best stuff today, and that was obvious. He was able to go the first four innings unscathed, but when you flirt with fire for too long, it’s going to burn you. Then the error in the fifth inning led to a big opportunity. 

“I really don’t think Mason had his best stuff,” Boss said.

Mason finished with eight runs given up, with four being earned, and 11 hits on the afternoon. A couple of infield singles hurt the Spartans down the stretch.

MSU will be back in action Saturday at 1:05 p.m., as the Spartans take on Indiana in the second game of a three-game series this weekend.