PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Michigan State baseball was overtaken late by Louisiana, getting clipped by the Ragin’ Cajuns, 6-3, Saturday on the second day of play of the Cox Diamond Invitational at Blue Wahoos Stadium.
MSU slides to 9-5 on the season with the loss, while UL moves to 6-9, with both teams now with 1-1 records so far in the Cox Diamond Invitational.
The Spartans opened with a 3-0 lead in the first inning, taking advantage of a walk, plus a UL error, hit by pitch and a balk. MSU got solid pitching from senior starter Jarret Olson, firing eight strikeouts, just one shy of his career-high, in pitching 6.0 IP, limiting Louisiana to just three hits and one run, before giving way to the bullpen. The Ragin’ Cajuns plated three in the seventh and two more in the eighth to overtake the Spartans for the win.
“I thought Jarret Olson was outstanding again today, he scattered three hits and struck out eight in six innings. He was really, really good,” MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t keep the lead for him, so I feel bad for Jarret.”
Olson logged his fourth quality outing in as many appearances this season, as he has now registered five or more Ks and gone at least 5.0 IP in all four outings.
The Spartan southpaw’s solid outing was matched by Louisiana starter Brandon Young, who settled down after that rocky first inning, firing 10 strikeouts while stymieing the Spartan bats to just two hits in 6.1 IP.
“I’m proud of our guys for jumping out with three runs early against a really good arm from Louisiana. Their starter was outstanding, and once he settled into the game, he showed why,” Boss said. “It’s disappointing to lose the lead late in the game. We need to do a better job with moving the baseball with two strikes, 16 strikeouts is too many, regardless of who we’re playing, and so we need to be better at that end. However, we get a chance to come out and compete again tomorrow. So we’ll be ready to go.”
Redshirt-sophomore infielder Brendan Regan and freshman outfielder Jack Frank had the Spartans’ only two hits on the day. Senior infielder Bailey Peterson drew a walk in the first inning and later scored, while redshirt-sophomore infielder Peter Ahn reached on an error and later scored, and senior designated player Andrew Morrow was hit by a pitch and later scored on a balk by Young. Junior infielder Zach Iverson had a groundout RBI.
Louisiana got on the board with a run in the fourth on an RBI single, then added three in the seventh, with the big blow coming on a two-run home run by Ben Fitzgerald. UL plated two more in the eighth for the final scoring.
The Spartans tried to rally in the ninth, as senior outfielder Bryce Kelley drew his second walk of the game, but a groundout ended the threat and the ballgame.
Michigan State concludes Cox Diamond Invitational action against Samford on Sunday, March 8 in a 12 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. CT contest.
Fans can follow the action with available links at MSUSpartans.com.