Feb. 23, 2014
SURPRISE, Ariz. - The Michigan State baseball team dropped its weekend finale to Washington, 4-1, on Sunday afternoon in Surprise, Ariz. Washington used four early runs to spoil the Spartans' bid for a weekend sweep in the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge. Washington is now 3-3-1 on the season, while Michigan State falls to 4-2.
"We were able to go 2-1 against three very good opponents, so we're pleased with the results overall," said MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. "We were able to beat a good Utah team and obviously beating the No. 1 team in the nation in Oregon State yesterday was a big win for us. We're a young team and that should give us a lot of confidence."
The Spartans couldn't overcome Washington starting pitcher Jeff Brigham, who went seven innings and allowed just two hits. Brigham and relief pitcher Trevor Dunlap combined to retire the MSU lineup in order in six of the nine innings.
"We had a hard time adjusting and give them a lot of credit," said Boss. "We have to get used to coming back after a big win and repeating it. Consistency is something that we're going to have to continue to work on. I don't think we played poorly today, I just think we were a little flat."
The Huskies jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a Robert Pehl solo home run in the first inning that sailed over the left center field wall.
Washington extended the lead in the second to 4-0. With runners on first and second and one out, Washington's Jack Meggs hit a sharp grounder to Ryan Krill at first. Krill fielded the ball cleanly and threw down to second to start the double play, but the ball went beyond the reach of shortstop Ryan Richardson and into the outfield, allowing a runner to score. A hit batter then loaded the bases for Andrew Ely, who knocked in two Huskies with a base hit to left.
Michigan State starting pitcher Chase Rihtarchik then settled in and combined with the Spartan bullpen to hold the Huskies scoreless over the next six innings.
MSU got on the board in the fourth inning and cut the lead the Huskies' lead to 4-1. The Spartans loaded the bases with nobody out, but could only push across one run on a 4-6-3 double play that scored Ryan Richardson, who singled to start the inning.
Bringham earned the win for the Huskies, improving to 2-0 on the year. Rihtarchik went 5.2 innings, allowing four runs (one earned) off six hits in suffering his first loss of the season.
The Spartans will head to Mississippi State next weekend to take part in the Mississippi State Diamond Classic, Feb. 28-March 2.