Red Hot Michigan State Baseball Cools Off With 7-4 Loss

Red Hot Michigan State Baseball Cools Off With 7-4 Loss
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The Michigan State baseball team has opened the season red hot. Today they cooled down when they saw their winning streak snapped by USC.

Michigan State terrific baseball SID Zach Fisher has the details. Check it out:

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Michigan State baseball's four-game win streak was stopped Wednesday night with a 7-4 loss to USC Upstate in an all-Spartan clash to wrap up MSU's time in Greenville, South Carolina at Fluor Field.

MSU is now 8-4 on the young season, while USC Upstate improved to 10-3 with the win. Wednesday marked the second-ever clash of the Spartans between MSU and USC-Upstate, first meeting in 2015, also at Fluor Field in Greenville, playing in the First Pitch Invitational and Michigan State won, 6-5.

"We're disappointed in the outcome for tonight. I think we didn't do enough good things as far as situational hitting was concerned, we had chances to score early and we weren't able to take advantage of them," MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. "I'm proud of our guys for getting ourselves into position and then in the ninth we got the tying run to the plate, so they kept battling and kept competing. But when you strikeout 10 times and leave 10 guys on base, it's going to be tough to win."

Wednesday's game also concluded Michigan State's annual stay in Greenville, having hosted the First Pitch Invitational last weekend, beating Kansas, 8-7 on Friday; Western Carolina, 4-3 on Saturday; and Ball State, 8-6 on Sunday.

"This trip is always a highlight of our season," Boss said. "Craig Brown, Eric Jarinko and Greg Burgess and all the Drive staff, are just fantastic people and they truly treat us so well, they roll the red carpet out for us so to speak," Boss said.

Craig Brown is the Greenville Drive Owner/Team President and MSU alum, while Jarinko is the Drive's General Manager and Burgess is Vice President of Operations/Grounds of Fluor Field.

"They just really make it a special trip for our guys. Greenville is a great city and our guys really enjoy being here. The people treat us tremendously and it's something that we look forward to every year, and we're looking forward to coming back next year," Boss said.

Sophomore outfielder Zaid Walker and Casey Mayes were both 2-for-4 with an RBI apiece Wednesday, and also both knocking a double. Mayes added a stolen base. Senior infielder Bailey Peterson was 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI, driving in a run on a double down the line in the bottom of the ninth as MSU tried to rally, but it was snuffed out by USC Upstate reliever Kevin Davis.

Senior outfielder Bryce Kelley was 1-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base, while sophomore infielder Brendan Regan was 1-for-2 with a walk and sophomore pinch-hitter Reese Trahey had a hit and an RBI, starting off the northern Spartans' rally in the ninth, and scoring on Peterson's double. Junior infielder Zach Iverson didn't have a hit, but did have an RBI and a run scored, and senior designated hitter Andrew Morrow had a run scored after reaching on a fielder's choice.

USC Upstate plated a pair of runs in the top of the third, chasing MSU freshman starting pitcher Adam Berghorst after 2.2 IP with one K. The southern Spartans tacked on two more runs in the fourth, with back-to-back RBI doubles providing the big blows, before junior relief pitcher Jesse Heikkinen got out of the jam with a strikeout and a nice play from redshirt-freshman first baseman Peter Ahn.

Michigan State got on the board with a run in the fourth on Mayes' RBI double off the Green Monster in left, scoring Iverson who reached on a HBP.

USC Upstate tacked on a run in top of the fifth on a solo home run, before MSU tried to rally with a two-run home half of the frame. Peterson led off with a single and later scored on a groundout to first by Iverson. Morrow reached on a fielder's choice and later scored on Walker's RBI double down the left field line, to pull MSU within 5-3.

However, USC Upstate added a run each in the seventh and eighth stanzas to open a 7-3 lead.

Michigan State mounted it's comeback in the bottom of the ninth as Trahey smacked a pinch-hit single to center. Kelley followed by getting hit by a pitch, and USC Upstate brought in Davis. Peterson rudely greeted the new pitcher punching an opposite-field double down the right field line, scoring Trahey and moving Kelley to third. That would be the last offense of the game, as the next three MSU batters struck out to end the rally and the game.

Berghorst was dealt the loss in making his first collegiate start. Heikkinen went 2.1 IP with three hits, two walks and two strikeouts. Junior relief pitcher Wyatt Rush pitched 1.0 IP without a hit or a run, with one K, while senior pitcher Sam Benschoter went 1.0 with not hits but one run, while striking out one. Redshirt-freshman William Christophersen pitched the final 2.0 innings with two hits, one run and three strikeouts.

Michigan State continues its Spring Break trip by heading to Pensacola, Florida to play in the Cox Diamond Invitational, Friday-Sunday, March 6-8. MSU will open action against Troy on Friday, March 6, then Louisiana on Saturday, March 7 and Samford on Sunday, March 8.

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