Gophers Drop Series Opener to Michigan State

EAST LANSING, Mich. — The Minnesota Golden Gophers fell 8-4 to the Michigan State Spartans on Friday night at McLane Stadium in the first of a three-game series.

Gophers (12-28, 2-11 Big Ten) junior right-hander Sam Ireland (4-4) tossed 5.2 innings, allowing eight hits and six runs (five earned). His opposition to him, right-hander Conner Tomasic (3-2), worked 6.1 innings and struck out two, allowing four hits and one earned run.

After a scoreless first inning for both teams, Michigan State (19-21, 4-9 Big Ten) started the scoring in the bottom of the second, plating three. The Spartans worked the bases full with two outs on a pair of singles and a walk. A two-run single to right field by shortstop Mitch Jebb scored the first two runs before an RBI single from Trent Farquhar plated the third.

Minnesota threatened in the top of the third after a one-out walk from Riley Swenson and a single to right field by Noah Berghammerbut Brett Bateman grounded into a double play to end the frame.

MSU added another in the bottom of the fourth to take a 4-0 lead. After getting two singles to start the frame, a groundout advanced the runners into scoring position. Ireland got the next hitter to fly out to left field for the second out. With two outs, Farquhar came to the plate and laid down a bunt, beating it out for a single and driving in a run in the process.

The Spartans would add two more in the bottom of the sixth when Zaid Walker belted a two-run home run to left field. minnesota starter Sam Ireland left one batter later after he took a line shot to the leg. He was able to walk off under his own power from him.

The ‘U’ finally broke through onto the scoreboard in the top of the seventh inning. Chase Stanke doubled to start the inning and Kyle Bork walked to put a pair on the bases with no one down. despues de ronald sweeny struck out swinging, Riley Swenson ripped an RBI single to left, scoring Stanke from second and effectively ending MSU starting pitcher Conner Tomasic’s day. Unfortunately, Minnesota couldn’t get anything else going as pinch-hitter Andrew Wilhite grounded into a double play to end the inning.

MSU added some insurance in the bottom of the seventh, getting a solo home run from right fielder Jack Frank and a two-out RBI single from first baseman Jack Vradenberg.

Minnesota cut the lead to 8-2 in the eighth with an RBI double from Jack Kelly, who paced the Gophers offense with a 2-for-3 day at the plate. As a team, Minnesota had seven hits compared to 11 for the Spartans.

Riley Swenson continued his hot week at the plate with a two-run home run in the top of the ninth to cut MSU’s lead to 8-4. Swenson went 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI on Friday night.

Minnesota and Michigan State will play at 3:05 pm CT tomorrow and 12:05 pm CT on Sunday.

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