FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs Michigan State – Series 1

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UNLV Rebels (1-3) | Michigan State Spartans (3-1)

 

Game 4:

The Rebels fell short in their first season series, blowing a late lead for the 11-7 loss.

 

UNLV vs Michigan State
Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

UNLV went to the lefty Josh Sharman in the final game of the series, with hopes he could settle in quickly.  The Spartan offense was relentless all weekend, and the final game was no exception.  Harrison Cook took the hill for Michigan State, striking out 68 and only walking 17 last year.

Josh Sharman retired the first batter of the day, but it was nothing but a headache from there.  After two runners reached, Jack Frank and Casey Mayes drove in runs with singles.  The defense began to slip for the Rebels. Casey Mayes forced a rundown on an attempted steal of second, allowing the runner on third to take a shot at home.  An errant throw allowed the run to score, followed by one more R.B.I. groundout to stop the bleeding.

The problem for the Rebels this whole series is how quickly they got themselves into deficits, putting all the pressure on the offense.  After another manufactured run for the Spartans, the Rebels began to find a groove in the 2nd.

Jason Sharman got the scoring started by ripping a single into right to put them on the board, while the Rebel offense began to prove again why they weren’t the problem. Rylan Charles and Diego Alarcon followed with a run-scoring single, putting UNLV right back in it.  The two combined for 12 runs batted in through the 4-game stretch. Henry Zeisler followed the next inning with his first bomb of the season to right-center, a solo shot bringing it within 1.

Josh Sharman began to settle down on the bump, with Joey Acosta entering from the bullpen to help hold the deficit.   Michigan State’s Harrison Cook was taken out earlier than expected, thanks to 4 runs on six hits for UNLV.

 

UNLV waited for the 5th inning to get the lead back after being down 5-4 midway through.

 

UNLV vs Michigan State
Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

After Zeisler got on with a walk, Cole Andavolgyi took an outside curveball the other way for the go-ahead two-run shot.  What was intended for a pitch in the dirt was left over the plate; Andavolgyi didn’t miss it.  Rylan Charles later drove in a third run in the inning, giving the Rebels a 2-run lead.

Stan Stolte decided to bring in Peyton Fuller to hold the lead.  While Michigan State did bring it to a one-run game, Fuller was looking good after two innings.  He struck out 4 in his short relief, but it wasn’t until the 8th inning that things began to fall apart again for UNLV.

No more than one batter in, the Spartans brought it back to even at 7.  Dillon Kark connected on the solo shot to left, with Farquhar reaching on a single in response.  It seemed like the right moment to take Fuller out, but Stan Stolte put his trust in him after he got the next out.  Zaid Walker later doubled him in, forcing Fuller out as Michigan State was back on top.

Nick Rupp would enter, allowing one more before getting out of the inning. UNLV had two innings to work with if they had any hopes of splitting the season’s first series.

The offense couldn’t get it done, going silent in the game’s final innings.  No discredit to the lineup at all but leaving two runners on in the 8th led to Vradenburg getting his team into double digits in the ninth. His second home run of the series, a two-run shot to right, concluded a 35-run onslaught for Michigan State in just four games.

All four games were simply within reason for the Rebels, but those 35 runs produced had them with their hands tied.  We saw an excellent performance in the season opener, but 33 over three games indeed has Stan Stolte furious.  The Rebels are anticipated to compete this season, but they will be disappointed if this keeps up in their pitching staff.

UNLV is now one game over .500 against Michigan State in regular season play, thanks to powerhouse offense from the Spartans.  This is the most extended series of the season for UNLV. The school hopes they can go into Dixie State with the ability to put this stretch behind them.

 

Game 4 Box score:

WP: Kyle Dunning (1-0)

LP: Peyton Fuller (0-1)

SV: Kyle Bischoff (1)

HR: Michigan State: Brock Vradenburg(2); Dilon Kark (1)

UNLV: Cole Andavolgyi(1); Henry Zeisler (1)

 

The Rebels lost the opening series 3-1 and now head out on their first road trip of the year.  They will play Dixie State Tuesday and head to the University of San Diego Friday.

 

 

 

Game 3:

The second game of the doubleheader saw more heavy offense from the Spartans, as UNLV fell for the second time on the day 12-6.

 

UNLV vs Michigan State
Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

Nolan George got his first start of the season for UNLV, with the Rebels hoping for some length from the Freshman after Game 1. The offense hasn’t been an issue so far for the Rebels, but poor pitching was starting to become the difference-maker.  Michigan State went with freshman Ryan Szczepaniak on the bump, making his collegiate debut in Game 2.

It was a clean inning for George in the first, retiring the side through 3 batters.  However, the damage would come quickly after UNLV left two runners on in the home half of the first. Jack Frank reached on an error to lead off the inning. The Spartans immediately had the bases loaded to take the lead first.  Brock Vradenburg would more than capitalize for Michigan State, hitting an opposite-field grand slam that had the Rebels stooped early.

The error to lead off the inning proved lethal, allowing the Spartans to pick up on the mistake.  Avoiding unnecessary baserunners is one of the keys to grabbing early momentum, but the Rebels had more than enough time to come back.

Michigan State would pick up one more run on a sac fly before UNLV could finally get something going.  George would get through 5 innings on four earned runs, but Szczepaniak was dealing for the Spartans.  After 5five innings, he would finish the night with seven strikeouts.  Rylan Charles got to him for a two-run double in the bottom of the 5th, but the Rebels ended the inning leaving two runners on.

Down by three runs going into the 6th, Stan Stolte looked to his bullpen again to hold the deficit within range.  They went to Jimmy Gamboa, a junior transfer, fresh off a 1.65 era in community college ball last season.

 

UNLV got back into the game in the bottom of the 5th, but it would begin to unravel for Stolte and the Rebels in the 6th.

 

Three straight singles to start the 6th had the bases loaded for Vradenburg.  He went to left-center again, this time for a two-run single, giving him six runs batted in on the night.  Gamboa would get out of the inning, but the two runs were taken right back; it was right back to a 5-run deficit.

Rylan Charles got one back for UNLV in the 7th, with a solo shot for his first of the season, but there was more damage to follow for Gamboa and the Rebels.

Casey Mayes carried one out for an opposite-field shot to lead off the 8th for Michigan State.  Three pitches later, following a hit batter, Christian William lined a two-run shot off the left-field scoreboard.  The Spartans later got two more runs on another home run before the Rebels could finally stop the bleeding. Suddenly, UNLV found themselves down nine late in the game.

There was more offense to be found for the Rebels, but three home runs in the 8th inning had the Spartans in position to close it out quickly.

Jordan Andrade led off the bottom of the 8th with a solo homer, but two high-scoring innings for Michigan State ultimately led to the loss.  There’s only so much an offense can do, but there was no chance for a Rebel comeback with such a severe deficit to work with.

The Spartans saw 4 of their guys hit one out in Game 2 of the doubleheader, three off of Jimmy Gamboa.  It was a tough start to the season on the mound for Gamboa, as he gave up seven earned runs through just three innings of work.  Hunter Katschke came in for a clean last inning of work for the Rebels, but Stolte has a decision concerning Gamboa’s role going forward.

The Rebels had one more chance to even the series Sunday morning against Michigan State, as they looked to Josh Sharman to shut the offense down hopefully.  The Spartan bats woke up in both games of the doubleheader, so the Rebels had to be at the top of their game in both aspects.

 

Game 3 Box score:

WP: Ryan Szczepaniak (1-0)

LP: Nolan George (0-1)

SV: Dominic Planto (1)

HR: Michigan State: Mitch Jebb (1); Casey Mayes (1); Christian Williams (1); Brock Vradenburg(1)                                                                          UNLV: Rylan Charles (1); Jordan Andrade (1)

 

The Rebels closed out the 4-game series with one more Sunday at 12:05 p.m., in hopes of ending the series on a split.

 

Game 2:

Game 1 of the doubleheader Saturday was full of offense from both sides, but UNLV fell for the first time this season at 10-6.

 

UNLV vs Michigan State
Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

For the first and only time this season, UNLV had two battles in one day.  Noah Beal took the mound as the starter in Game 1, and he looked to start fresh after posting a 6.69 era last season.  The southpaw in Nick Powers went for the Spartans, with a repertoire including a nasty hook curveball.

Nothing spells offense more than daytime baseball.  Both teams anticipated waking up the bats following the defensive season opener.

Beal posted two zeros to start for the Rebels, with the Spartans hitless the first time through the order.  UNLV began to put in work in the home half of the second after Joey Walls led off with a single.  Cole Andavolgyi followed by lacing a double down the left-field line, allowing Walls to score for the game’s first run. More errors would plague the Spartans, as a second run would score on a dropped pop fly.

Michigan State waited just two pitches to get it back in the next frame. Zaid Walker sat on a first-pitch fastball from Beal and tied the game with a 2-run shot.

Beal got through 4.1 before Noah Mattera was brought in, hoping to keep the game tied.  It didn’t play out like that, as Mitch Jebb split the gap with a run-scoring double, advancing to third on UNLV’s first error of the season. He would later score on a wild pitch before the Rebels could get out of the inning.

There couldn’t have been a better time for the first 2022 UNLV home run, as Diego Alarcon immediately tied it with a two-run shot to the left-center.  It landed not too far from Walker’s blast, and he made sure to celebrate in response.

 

UNLV matched the Spartan’s offense early at 4-4, as they looked to gather a rally to get the lead back.

 

UNLV got a leadoff hit in the 6th, finding another way to capitalize.  Giovanni Horvat set one into the right-center gap, giving the Rebels the lead.  He had no regard for stopping, reaching third for the triple and later scoring on a sac fly by Ryan Charles.

So, it was UNLV’s game to win; only spotty pitching could hold them back.  The next inning wasn’t pretty for the Rebels. The Spartans chipped away for five runs in the top of the 7th.  They loaded the bases before UNLV could record an out. After a sac fly, Jack Frank tied the game with a single.  Bryan Broecker then cleared the bases with a 3-run double, shifting the momentum entirely.

Michigan State would put one more up in their final frame, but the offense wore out for the Rebels. They got two runners on in the bottom of the 8th, giving Alarcon another chance as the tying run.  It was a great at-bat for the senior, he put one in the air to deep center, but it stayed in the ballpark to end the inning.

There was no rally to be found in the final inning, as the Spartans picked up their first win of the season.  The big issue with allowing base runners are how much it forces you to attack hitters, and that 7th inning was a prime example.  Three walks led to the big hit, shutting down the flow of offense they had going.

There were still positive notes to look at. They had another clean game on defense.  While the throwing error in the third wasn’t a sight coach Stolte would appreciate, the defense is looking solid to start the season. They also woke up the power in their bats in Game 1, with Alarcon continuing his fine offensive display in his collegiate career.

The Rebels had about an hour to regroup, as the second game of the doubleheader followed not too long after.

 

Game 2 Box score:

WP: Connor Tomasic (1-0)

LP: Troy Balko (0-1)

SV: Nick Powers (1)

HR: Michigan State: Zaid Walker (1)                                                                                                                                                                           UNLV: Deigo Alarcon (1)

 

UNLV had two games to play in one day for the first and last time this season.  The second game started at 4:45 p.m.

 

Game 1:

 

Pitching and defense led the UNLV baseball to a 4-2 win last night over Michigan State to open their 2022 season.

 

UNLV vs Michigan State
Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

UNLV baseball kicked off their 2022 season the right way last night, with Rebels manager Stan Stolte turning to Josh Ibarra as the starting pitcher. Michigan State didn’t have much of an answer for what the Rebels threw at them, but it was their defense that ultimately hurt the Spartans in the long run.

Starting 1-0 caters to what Stolte is expecting from his club this season, leaving a lot on which to speak positively.

On the second pitch of the night, MSU’s Trent Farguhar laced a double off the base of the centerfield wall. All signs of a potential rally early were put to rest, as Ibarra sent down the next 3 to put up UNLV’s first 0 of the season. Ryan Charles matched Farguhar’s leadoff antics with an infield hit and stolen base, giving the Rebels their first chance to score. Austin Kryszczuk could cash him in with a single to left, giving the Rebels their first lead on the night.

Kryszczuk is a senior transitioning from division three to one, carrying a lifetime batting average of .334 into his first at-bat. It was a good sign for Stolte and his squad, but the offense would begin to allow starter Zach Iverson to settle in for Michigan State.

Iverson would strike out seven over four innings, with the wind knocking down a deep flyout to left by Eric Bigani in the fourth. Ibarra had Michigan State scoreless through 4 until he ran into Jack Frank to lead off the 5th. Frank blasted one into the night, tying the game at one on a solo home run to right. Frank went all last season without hitting one out, only to find himself trotting the bases in his second at-bat of 2022.

 

UNLV didn’t wait long to get the lead back, immediately getting something going in the next frame.

 

UNLV vs Michigan State
Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

Henry Zeisler ripped a ground ball single into right, allowing Charles and Diego Alarcon to touch the plate. It was heads-up baserunning by Alarcon that made the difference.

On an errant throw by Spartans’ right fielder Zaid Walker, which went over third base, he didn’t hesitate on the basepaths. The Rebels also used smart baserunning to put themselves in a situation to win, as those two runs were the difference last night.

James Gamble followed Zeisler with some great piece of hitting, shooting an outside fastball through the vacant right side. The single scored Zeisler and put them up 3, but Gamble followed with a stolen base for the third time in the game. He stole a total of 4 bases all last year, raising the question of whether or not he’ll pass that by the end of the month.

Nothing would transpire until the top of the 9th for either side. Stolte looked to Hayden Neirman for the four-out save. After escaping the 8th, he ran into trouble by allowing the first two batters to reach on singles. Michigan State could only cash in one run on a sac-fly, and the Rebels treated their home crowd by closing out the opening night win.

While the Rebels could only muster one extra-base hit while leaving ten men on base, it was pitching and defense that stole the show. Ibarra got the win with only one mistake to Jack Frank, and the defense was stellar, making no errors through nine. In the 5th inning, Ryan Charles ran down a ball to the warning track in the right with the bases loaded for Michigan State. Along with their smart baserunning, that play was a primary reason they could coast to the win.

The Rebels are now 7-3 in their last ten matchups with the Spartans, as they look to keep it rolling in light of the start of the season.

 

Game 1 Boxscore:

WP: Josh Ibarra (1-0)

LP: Wyatt Rush (0-1)

SV: Hayden Neirman (1)

HR: Michigan: Jack Frank (1)

 

UNLV and Michigan State play a doubleheader on Saturday at Earl E. Wilson Stadium. The first pitch is scheduled to take place at 1:05 pm.

UNLV vs Michigan State                             UNLV vs Michigan State                                 UNLV vs Michigan State               UNLV vs Michigan State                             UNLV vs Michigan State                                 UNLV vs Michigan State               UNLV vs Michigan State                             UNLV vs. Michigan State                                UNLV vs Michigan State                             UNLV vs Michigan State                             UNLV vs Michigan State                                 UNLV vs Michigan State                             UNLV vs Michigan State                             UNLV vs Michigan State                                 UNLV vs Michigan State                             UNLV vs Michigan State                             UNLV vs Michigan State                                 UNLV vs Michigan State                             UNLV vs Michigan State                             UNLV vs Michigan State                                 UNLV vs Michigan State                             UNLV vs Michigan State                             UNLV vs Michigan State                                 UNLV vs Michigan State                             UNLV vs Michigan State                             UNLV vs Michigan State                                 UNLV vs Michigan State                             UNLV vs Michigan State                             UNLV vs Michigan State                                 UNLV vs Michigan State                             

– Duncan Dye

Follow Duncan on Instagram @duncandyefsm

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