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Michigan State Baseball clinches berth in Big Ten Tournament

MSU baseball continues to surprise.

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Michigan State baseball
© Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Michigan State baseball has locked up a berth in the Big Ten Tournament, the Spartans’ first trip since 2018.

For the first time since 2018, the Michigan State baseball team will be playing in the Big Ten Tournament after their win on Friday night over Indiana. The Spartans will be one of eight teams that will be playing in Ohama.

Going into the series with Indiana, Michigan State was tied with Purdue for the 8-seed, and the Spartans needed to, at the very least, have the same result as the Boilermakers. Going into the first game, Purdue ended up losing to Nebraska and Michigan State was going up against one of the best pitchers in the Big Ten, Luke Sinnard.

The Indiana ace is on pace to have the most strikeouts in a season for Indiana and that continued against Michigan State. Luke’s 12-6 curveball was dancing all night as the first six outs were via strikeout. He ended the night giving up five earned runs and part of that was Michigan State’s hitting finally getting going in the bottom of the sixth. As the first game progressed, Michigan State continued to get on base and ended up winning the first game of the series 8-6. With the Purdue loss and Michigan State win, the Spartans either needed one more loss from Purdue or one more win to clinch their spot and they got it.

Heading into game two, Michigan State needed the win because Purdue won earlier in the day. Michigan State really did not want to go into the last game of the season needing either a win or a loss by Purdue and that showed in the urgency that they played with.

After a scoreless first inning, the offense started to click. Indiana took the lead early before Michigan State tied it in the bottom of the third. That would be the last time that the game would be tied because Michigan State would go on to score three runs. The reason Michigan State was able to extend its lead was because of Harrison Cook who tossed six innings with no earned runs after taking over for the starter Nolan Higgins.

Michigan State seemed to be in control after the third inning but things got interesting and scary for the Spartans at the top of the ninth. When your team brings in their closer in the ninth inning, you would hope that things would be drama-free that was not the case.

If you either watched the game or attended it, you noticed that the ump wasn’t calling that high pitch a strike and fans were getting frustrated. It did not seem to affect Wyatt Rush but this made things interesting. Indiana ended up walking in a run and scoring a run on a throwing error. With two outs and the bases loaded, the Hoosiers were a base hit away from taking the lead. Rush located his pitch extremely well and a ball barreled up by Hunter Jessee lined out right to the centerfielder Greg Ziegler and that was the final out.

The fans went absolutely crazy and the team rushed the field as Rush threw his hands up in celebration as Michigan State got the win that they needed.

For anyone watching the game, you could tell how much this win meant to the Michigan State baseball program. Not only was this a second straight win against one of the best teams in the Big Ten but this win meant a streak of missing the Big Ten Tournament was finally over.

While some fans might think being the 8-seed isn’t great, this is a great step forward for a program that has struggled since 2016. Not only has the program not made the Big Ten Tournament since 2018, it hasn’t had a winning record since 2016.

Michigan State currently has a record of 32-19 and has the opportunity to sweep Indiana on Saturday for Senior Day. While this season has been great for all involved, I’m sure for all the seniors, making it to the Big Ten Tournament for the first time in their career means a lot to them. The program is going to play more baseball after Saturday’s game and that is important as this team is a pretty young team that seems like they are headed in the right direction and going to the Big Ten Tournament is just the start of that.

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