Michigan State Baseball Drops Two of Three to Wolverines

Michigan State baseball took on rival Michigan over the weekend, losing two out of three.
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East Lansing, Mich. – Michigan State baseball fell short against Michigan on Friday (5-1) and Saturday (3-1) before winning the finale on Sunday afternoon, 10-2. 

Due to the Big Ten's scheduling changes, the two schools played an entire three-game series in East Lansing for the first time since 1994 (it's typically a home-away-home weekend competition).

Redshirt junior starting pitcher Mason Erla opened the series on the mound, finishing his outing with eight strikeouts in 5.0 IP. His eight Ks moved him up to No. 3 on Michigan State's strikeout list, passing Ron Perranoski (1956-58). 

The Spartans didn't produce much offense as Michigan held MSU to two hits, both by freshman infielder Trent Farquhar, who also had Michigan State's lone RBI. 

On Saturday, sophomore right-hander Jackson Bennett made the first start of his career, yielding three hits and two runs in 2.0 IP. 

Similar to Friday night, MSU struggled at the plate, accumulating a single run on one hit courtesy of outfielder Jack Frank. The Spartan's only other baserunner came in the eighth inning when infielder Brock Vradenburg reached after getting hit by a pitch. 

Michigan State exploded with a seven-run fifth inning and solid pitching from Sam Benschoter, defeating the Wolverines on Sunday. 

The Tecumseh native tossed seven strikeouts in 7.0 IP, giving up seven hits, two runs, and a walk to earn the victory. 

"Sam Benschoter was lights out today. He's one of our seniors, he's one of our captains, and he's the guy that we really needed to play well in a big game and in a big spot today, and he did that for us," Spartan coach Jake Boss Jr. said. 

Benschoter, a fifth-year senior, kept Michigan scoreless until the seventh, getting out of a bases-loaded jam (2nd inning) and a double-play ball in the fifth, shutting the Wolverines down in order. 

The Spartans had 11 hits on Sunday, including three from Farquhar and redshirt freshman Gabe Sotres. 

"I'm really proud of our guys for bouncing back after two tough games on Friday and Saturday," Boss said. "Offensively, we were much better today; I thought our approach was really good, and we kind of attacked early, and it was much needed. I thought they kind of had us on our heels Friday and Saturday, and I thought we came out and executed a pretty good plan today and put pressure on them early, and it worked out in our favor. I'm just really proud of our guys."

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