Michigan State Baseball starts Big Ten play with series win over Purdue
MSU is looking for its first winning season in years.
Michigan State baseball kicked off conference play over the weekend and it notched its first Big Ten series win.
Coming into the start of the Big Ten schedule, Michigan State baseball was 11-7 on the season after winning six straight games. That 3-1 start to the season quickly fell apart as Michigan State went on to lose six out of the next seven games.
The issue of pitching, which has affected the program for years, finally surfaced again. In those seven games, the pitching staff gave up at least seven earned runs in each game. You are not going to win a majority of baseball games in college if your pitching staff gives up that many runs.
In the nine games since that stretch, Michigan State has won eight of the nine games and the most runs they have given up is seven, which happened in a 10-7 victory over Indiana State. Pitching is the key stat for this baseball team and that really showed in this past weekend’s matchup with Purdue.
This past weekend, Michigan State was taking on a Purdue team that had not won a series against Michigan State in a while. That was in jeopardy as Michigan State lost the first game of the series 5-4. This was one of those games that, again, pitching allowed Purdue to get back into the game and eventually win it. Michigan State was up 4-0 and then Purdue scored five unanswered runs. This happens every once in a while in baseball games but it seemed like it has been a partner for Michigan State especially when they went on the losing streak.
Now, you can not fully blame the pitching staff because sometimes the hitters just get hot. This was one of those games and it was a tough game to lose at home.
The next game was supposed to be Saturday but because of the weather, the games got moved to a doubleheader on Sunday. If the Spartans wanted to win the series and start Big Ten play above .500, they needed to find a way to win both games, which they did.
The first game of the doubleheader was basically the exact opposite of the first game of the series. Purdue had a hot start to the game as they were up 3-1 after the fifth inning. Again, Michigan State was in danger of losing the series to Purdue. This all changed when Michigan State scratched a run across in the bottom of the seventh and three more runs in the bottom of the eighth.
Heading into the top of the ninth, Michigan State had a two-run lead and it got scary pretty quickly. Purdue had scored a run and the bases were loaded with two outs. Wyatt Rush ended up getting the final out with a pop up to first base.
Michigan State took Game 1 of the doubleheader and was feeling good headed into Game 2.
Those good vibes continued in Game 2 as Michigan State’s bats came alive and scored 12 runs to dominate Purdue 12-6. It was not just one player that contributed to this victory. There were a healthy number of players that had tat least one RBI.
When Michigan State can get its bats going and the pitching can hold up, this is a team that can win quite a few games. The main question, especially in a good Big Ten, is: will Michigan State be able to win games that the offense only scores a few runs? They have done it a few times but in Big Ten play, those types of games will become more common. If the answer to that question is yes, Michigan State will see a much improved record for the baseball team, which could mean the first winning season since 2017, which is much needed.
The next game for Michigan State is on Wednesday against Western Michigan and then it starts a series with Rutgers over the weekend.
Currently, Michigan State is 13-8 and 2-1 in the conference.
Why is Mat Ishbia ending NIL sponsorship with Michigan State?
There’s a legit reason for this.
Mat Ishbia ended his NIL sponsorship with Michigan State athletics on Friday and there’s a good reason why that happened.
It has been just under four months since the NBA approved Mat Ishbia’s bid to become the majority owner of the Phoenix Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. Since then, a lot has changed for the former Michigan State walk-on.
According to a press release on Friday, Ishbia is now ending his NIL agreement with the Spartan Athletic Department.
Mat Ishbia and United Wholesale Mortgage are ending NIL deals with Michigan State athletes. They were asked to do so after he purchased the Phoenix Suns and Mercury. From @kylebaustin https://t.co/ABwrVKhAkN
— Matt Wenzel (@mwenzel2) June 2, 2023
After the Name, Imagine, and Likeness regulations were placed in effect back in 2021, Ishbia’s company, United Wholesale Mortgage, quickly announced a deal to be the first of its kind. The new program was to pay MSU student-athletes on the football team and men’s basketball teams $700 per month. In exchange for the money, athletes would send out social media posts advertising UWM. It expanded last fall to include volleyball players as well. This was to be used as a recruiting tool. It would show that MSU’s NIL programs would be competitive nationally and convince athletes to attend.
Spartan fans have speculated that the deal could have to be terminated now that Ishbia has taken over in Phoenix. That turned out to be the case. In a letter sent today, UWM stated, “As an owner of two professional sports teams, it was asked that Mat/UWM discontinue this NIL partnership to avoid any actual or perceived conflicts of interest.”
Since 2020, Mat has been Michigan State’s largest public donor. He has committed almost $50 million to the Spartan Athletic Department on top of these NIL programs. These funds have been used in remodeling/expanding athletic buildings, funded the construction of the new Tom Izzo Football Building, and helped get Mel Tucker’s 10-year, $95 million contract extension finalized. His money has also helped build the “Spartans for Life Fund” which assists with career development and life after athletics.
Mat was a walk-on for the MSU Basketball team under Tom Izzo back in 1999. He did win a national championship with Izzo. Mat often credits his time on the team for teaching him skills needed to excel in the professional world. He became the CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage in 2013 and brought the company public in 2021 making him a billionaire. He submitted his bid to the NBA for the Phoenix Suns/Phoenix Mercury in December 2022. That bid ended up being approved and finalized for $4 billion.
MSU thanked Mat Ishbia in a statement today released from the athletic department. They said they are “deeply appreciative” of his continued support for the department and credited him for all the transformations above. UWM stated they and Mat will “continue to remain dedicated to supporting Michigan State University and their athletic programs and will continue to do so within the guardrails established.”
Michigan State baseball season ends with winning record
Not a bad season for the Spartans.
Michigan State baseball lost its second Big Ten Tournament game on Friday and was eliminated. It ends 2023 with a winning record.
With a 4-0 loss to Nebraska on Friday night in the Big Ten Tournament, the Michigan State baseball season is officially over.
There wasn’t much the offense could do against Will Walsh as they were held to only four hits all night. There were moments when the offense was just one hit away or one near-home run away from tying the game but Michigan State just could not get it done and you have to tip your hat to the Nebraska pitcher.
You might look at the score and think the game was not close but there wasn’t much of a difference between the two teams outside of clutch hitting. Michigan State got a great performance from its starting pitcher as he only allowed one run. This game was close until Nebraska opened the scoring back up with three runs in the eighth. Two of those runs came off of a weird bounce that went over the first baseman’s head. This put Michigan State behind and it was too late for the Spartans to respond.
With this loss, Michigan State now has to look forward to next season after the successful year it just completed.
This season is something that should show fans that the program is on the right track. After years of Michigan State baseball being at the bottom of the Big Ten, this team went into the Big Ten Tournament and got an upset win, and battled against No. 1 seed Maryland and No. 4 seed Nebraska.
This team also achieved the first winning record since 2016 and an appearance in the Big Ten Tournament. It also included young players contributing all over the field and multiple players that could be drafted in the MLB draft but have the chance to come back. There will be another article about the bright future of Michigan State baseball especially with it being a young team later in the coming weeks but right now, it’s important to recognize this team for a great season.
Michigan State will be losing a couple of seniors that will be missed and this isn’t probably the way the team wanted to end their season, but this week’s performances against the top teams in the Big Ten not only demonstrate that Michigan State can have great pitching which has been a big issue in recent history. If this team can keep the majority of their starting lineup, they will have a chance to be even better next year as the pitching staff should return mostly everyone.
Congrats to the baseball team on an improved season and I look forward to seeing what happens in the offseason for this team, as there are big decisions that have to be made for some players.
Michigan State baseball wins first Big Ten Tournament game since 2016
The baseball team is ending more droughts.
Michigan State baseball ended another long drought, winning its first Big Ten Tournament game since 2016 on Thursday.
The season of droughts ending for the Michigan State baseball team continues.
We have seen the Spartans record a winning record for the first time since 2016 and making the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2018. With the win on Thursday against Rutgers, the streak of not winning a game in the Big Ten Tournament ends at seven years.
Thursday’s game against Rutgers wasn’t perfect. Michigan State had similar issues to what it had in its first game, which was against Maryland. Michigan State left so many players on base that it probably drove Jake Boss crazy. In both games, Michigan State left over 10 players on base and you’re usually not going to win many games doing that.
While the offense did not show up, the pitching did and that is the reason they beat Rutgers. This offense has kept the team going all season but when it mattered the most, this pitching staff has done what it has needed to.
With Nick Powers’ pitching performance on Wednesday, only allowing three runs to one of the most elite offenses in college baseball, to Wyatt Rush’s pitching performance on Thursday, the pitching staff has kept this team in the tournament.
The pitching performance by Rush on Thursday was one that fans might not have expected. Rush, who is a senior and the typical closer, stepped into the game with bases loaded and one out with the game tied. He ended the inning by only allowing one run and gave Michigan State a chance and finally, the offense finally responded with two runs in the eighth inning. Rush came out in the bottom of the ninth and finished the job.
This win continues the season for the baseball team and shows that the program is headed in the right direction. To all the players, this is the first win they have experienced in Omaha.
If you haven’t had the chance to watch this team, you should because this team is playing well against some of the best teams in the Big Ten. You also might not see a few of these players again at Michigan State and they deserve our support.
Michigan State baseball has no room for error anymore. If it wants to win the whole Big Ten Tournament, it not only has to continue to pitch well, the offense has to show up more often. If the Spartans are able to win a few more in a row, they would have a chance to be the first team to win the Big Ten Tournament from the loser bracket in a long time.
If you have time, make sure to tune into the Big Ten Network on Friday as Michigan State will look to continue its run.
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