NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Michigan State baseball was dealt a 2-1 defeat at Notre Dame Tuesday night at Frank Eck Stadium.
The loss snapped MSU’s three-game win streak as the Spartans are now 18-11 on the season. Tuesday’s loss was MSU’s third-straight one-run loss in a midweek game, all three on a Tuesday, as five of MSU’s last six losses have each been by one run. With the win, Notre Dame improved to 14-17 and the Irish have now won seven of their last eight home games.
“We pitched well enough to win, but we didn’t defend well enough to win and we didn’t swing the bat well enough to win,” MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr., said. “If you only allow two runs, you should win the ballgame. We left too many opportunities on the field, we had too many guys with bad approaches at the plate at the wrong time, and that equals another one-run loss for us.”
Freshman right hander Mike Mokma started Tuesday’s game, going 3.1 innings, then senior relievers Walter Borkovich and Joe Mockbee pitched, with Borkovich throwing 2.1 innings and Mockbee 0.2 innings, before giving way to junior Jake Lowery, who pitched final 1.2 innings. Borkovich and Lowery chalked up two strikeouts apiece, while Mokma and Mockbee logged one strikeout each.
The Spartans rapped out eight hits, with junior center fielder Brandon Hughes doing 2-for-2 with a double and a stolen base. Junior first baseman Zack McGuire was 1-for-4 with a double for MSU’s other extra base hit. Sophomore right fielder Dan Chmielewski was 1-for-2 with a stolen base and a walk, while senior second baseman Dan Durkin was 1-for-3.
MSU got on the board early with a run in the top of the first after leadoff hitter freshman left fielder Bryce Kelley singled on the first pitch of the game. Kelley later stole both second and third, and scored on a an RBI single up the middle by Hughes for a 1-0 advantage.
The Fighting Irish tied the score at 1-all in the home half of the second on a leadoff home run by Matt Vierling.
Notre Dame tried to break the game open in the bottom of the fourth getting one-out single and walk, which chased Mokma. Borkovich came on in relief, and after a walk, got out of the bases loaded jam with a pair of groundouts to keep the score 1-1.
The Irish took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth, taking advantage of a hit and an error, then a double steal to score an unearned run.
MSU got out of another bases loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh in thrilling fashion. Notre Dame’s Ryan Lidge hit a line drive up the middle that Lowery was able to knock down and slow its progress up the middle and sophomore shortstop Royce Ando came charging in scooped it up with his bare hand and gunned it to first, where McGuire stretched and they got Lidge by a step to end the inning and keep the score 2-1.
The Spartans got the leadoff hitters on in both the eighth and ninth innings, but the rallies fizzled and MSU was unable to push across the tying run.
Michigan State returns to Big Ten Conference action by hosting Ohio State this weekend, Friday-Sunday, April 14-16, the third and final of three-straight home weekends. Friday’s series opener has a 3:05 p.m. first pitch, while Saturday and Sunday are scheduled for 1:05 start times.
This weekend’s series is slated for McLane Stadium at Kobs Field, but fans should stay tuned to www.MSUSpartans.com or follow MSU Baseball on twitter at statebaseball for any schedule and location updates.