GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Michigan State baseball was clipped by No. 9 Clemson, 9-2, Wednesday night at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C., as the Spartans suffered their first loss of their Spring Break road swing.
MSU slid to 9-2 overall and 3-1 on the Spring Break swing with the loss. Clemson moved to 9-3 overall.
The Tigers had a three-run second inning and broke the game open with a five-run fifth inning, with the big blow coming on a grand slam.
"I'm very disappointed in how we played tonight, we gave up way too many freebies to a good ball club and when you do that, they're going to take advantage of it. We made a couple costly errors, we walked too many guys, we hit a guy, which forced us to pitch to a pretty good hitter with the bases loaded and he put a put a good swing on a pitch and took advantage of their opportunity. We certainly didn't take advantage of our opportunities, we struck out 15 times and I thought we need to be more competitive at the plate. So I'm very disappointed all the way around," MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr., said.
Eight different Spartans had one hit apiece, as MSU out-hit Clemson, 8-7, but left nine runners on base compared to three for the Tigers.
Junior first baseman Zack McGuire was 1-for-3 with an RBI double, one of three extra base hits for the Spartans. Senior second baseman Dan Durkin and freshman outfielder Danny Gleaves added the other doubles. Durkin and sophomore shortstop Royce Ando scored MSU's runs.
Senior pitcher Joe Mockbee went three innings, allowing three runs while striking out three. Junior reliever Nathan Witt fired 2.2 innings of relief, striking out four while only allowing two hits. Freshman Mitchell Tyranski pitched an inning of hitless ball, chalking up a pair of strikeouts.
"It was good to see Nathan Witt and Mitchell Tyranski throw well. I thought those two guys were outstanding tonight, but as a whole, again very disappointed in our effort tonight. We need to be better going into this weekend," Boss said.
After Clemson plated three runs in the top of the second to take a 3-0 lead, getting two on a double down the left field line, Michigan State got two on but the rally fizzled before scoring a run, leaving score 3-0.
In the bottom of the third, the Spartans got on the board on a double to left center by Durkin and two batters later, McGuire traded places with him with a double to right center as MSU cut gap to 3-1.
Clemson plated five in the top of the fifth, with the big blow coming on a grand slam by Seth Beer and the Tigers had an 8-1 lead.
The Spartans added a run in the bottom of the seventh, as Ando had a single down the right field line and Gleaves followed with a double down the left field line. Ando later scored on a Clemson passed ball to MSU within, 8-2.
The Tigers added a run in the top of the eighth, taking advantage of an MSU error with a hit and a double steal.
MSU threatened in the bottom of the eighth, with McGuire starting the rally with a leadoff walk. Two batters later, junior designated hitter Chad Roskelly had a Texas leaguer single to center to move McGuire to third, but the rally stalled.
Michigan State will remain in the Palmetto State for the rest of the weekend, heading to Columbia, South Carolina to square off with No. 10 South Carolina in a three-game series, Friday-Sunday, March 10-12. Friday's series-opener is slated for a 7 p.m. start, followed by 4 p.m. on Saturday before wrapping up on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.