Spartan Baseball Cools Off With Twinbill Loss To Merrimack

Hondo S. Carpenter

The Spartans entered today’s doubleheader action undefeated on the season. But their red-hot start cooled dramatically losing both games of a doubleheader to lowly Merrimack.

Michigan State baseball SID has this terrific release on the contest:

GREENVILLE, S.C.-- Michigan State baseball was topped twice by Merrimack, 3-1 and 7-5, in Saturday's doubleheader at Fluor Field, home of the Greenville Drive.

The Warriors won the series, after winning Friday's series-opener 9-6 in 11 innings, to go with Saturday's twinbill sweep. The Spartans slid to 4-3 on the season, while Merrimack moved to 5-2.

"Tough day today, but we get to play again tomorrow," MSU head coach said. "Our guys will be ready to play and we'll make some adjustments and be ready to go again tomorrow."

In the opener, the senior pitcher had a no-hitter going through 6.0 innings before yielding a base hit to open the seventh. Merrimack broke through with three in the ninth to take the win. Olsen ended with a career-high nine strikeouts for the second-straight outing, topping his previous high of five Ks, set last week vs. Morehead State in Charleston. Olson finished with a tough-luck complete game, yielding four hits, three runs and two walks.

"Jarret was really good today," Boss said. "I think it was unfortunate the way it played out. He was cruising and just kind of a tough-luck kind of deal. We didn't give him any support offensively, which is a little disappointing."

In game two, fellow senior pitcher, tied his career-high of nine strikeouts, also set last week vs. Morehead State in Charleston, going 4.0 IP, scattering four runs on five hits, allowing four runs with four walks.

"Sam through a lot of pitches in his outing, but I thought his stuff was pretty good," Boss said. "He gave us a chance to win it, and kept us right there, but again, we couldn't put up enough on offense, unfortunately. I thought we made some adjustments, and did a little better and were closer in game two. But credit those guys because they made a lot of plays when they had to, and we hit some balls hard right at some guys, and that's the way this game goes sometimes."

At the plate, the senior infielder was 5-for-9 at the plate for the day, going 2-for-4 in the opener and 3-for-5, as he is now hitting 10-for-14 (.714) for the weekend after going 5-for-5 Friday night. Peterson added an RBI in game one, to go with three ribbies in game two.

"When you're hot, you see the ball well and Bailey has been getting the barrel to some balls, so he's been hitting the ball hard. He made a couple of loud outs today too. He's feeling good and hopefully, that continues tomorrow," Boss said.

In-game one, the senior outfielder was 1-for-3 with a run scored. Sophomore outfielder, senior designated hitter, and freshman infielder were all 1-for-3, while redshirt-freshman catcher was 1-for-4.

Along with Peterson's three-hit effort at the plate in game two, Morrow was 2-for-4 with two RBI, while Kelley was 1-for-3 with two runs scored and sophomore outfielder was 1-for-4 with a run scored. Kark added two runs scored. Kelley also had a stolen base in game two, after Walker swiped a base in the opener.

Michigan State got on the board first in the opener on an RBI double by Peterson, plating Kelley who singled.

Olson got some defensive help throughout the game, and even tried to help his own cause, sliding into the wet dirt in front of the Spartan dugout while chasing a foul ball in the third.

Merrimack rallied with a three-run ninth and could have been four, but a nice defensive play from freshman outfielder, throwing out a Warrior runner trying to score, to end the inning, and limit the damage at three runs. However, the Spartans went down in order in the ninth.

In-game two, Merrimack scored in the first frame, but Michigan State countered with a run of its own in the home half of the opening inning on an RBI groundout by Morrow, plating Kelley who led off with a walk.

The Spartans scored two in the second on a two-run single by Peterson, driving in Walker and Kark. Merrimack countered with a three-run top of the fourth, on two hits and taking advantage of an MSU error.

The Green & White got a run back in the fourth on another Peterson double, again scoring Kelley who had a two-out single and stole second. The rally continued momentarily, with Morrow getting hit by a pitch and redshirt-freshman catcher reaching on an error, but a flyout thwarted the rally.

Merrimack tacked on three runs in the top of the sixth, with the big blow coming on a bases-loaded single and MSU error to clear the bases, giving the Warriors a 7-4 lead.

The Spartans threatened in the ninth, with Kark sparking the rally by leading off getting hit by a pitch. After Kark moved up on a groundout, Peterson was robbed of another hit by Merrimack third baseman Joey Porricelli snaring the line drive. Next up, Morrow came through with a double off the base of the wall in left-center to plate Kark. However, the rally and the game ended on a flyout.

MSU and Merrimack wrap up their first-ever series on Sunday, also starting at 1 p.m.

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