ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. - Junior Sean Gusrang (Burlington, N.J.) and senior Chris Spagnuolo (Tabernacle, N.J.) combined to drive in three runs, while junior starter Joe DiRocco (East Hanover, N.J.) allowed only one earned run on two hits in 5.1 innings, however it was not enough as the Pirates lost to Michigan State, 5-3, Friday morning in the team's first game of the three-game Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge at the Naimoli Complex in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Gusrang gave the Pirates (0-4) an early one run advantage in the top of the fourth inning when he broke up the no-hitter of Michigan State (3-1) starter A.J. Achter with a solo home run just to the right of the centerfield batter's eye.
After Andrew Carpenter tied the score with a sacrifice-fly in the bottom of the fifth, Spagnuolo looped a two-run double plating junior A.J. Rusbarsky (Freehold, N.J.) and senior Michael Rogers (Portland, Ore.) for a, 3-1, Pirates lead in the top of the sixth, however it would not last.
Michigan State's comeback began in the bottom of the sixth inning when Jeff Holm cut the deficit in half by drawing a bases loaded walk. His teammate, Brandon Eckerle, tied the game an inning later by grounding into a run-scoring fielder's choice, while Bo Felt gave the Spartans the lead for good in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI triple. Carpenter added the insurance run with a single in the eighth as well.
Pirates' freshman Ed Ras (Millstone, N.J.) (0-2) was tagged with the loss yielding a run in 0.2 innings of work, while Spartans' reliever Trey Popp (1-0) picked up the win allowing only one hit with three strikeouts in 3.1 shutout innings in relief.
Spagnuolo led the way for the Pirates, who outhit the Spartans 6-5, with two hits and two RBI.
The Pirates will return to action Saturday morning when they take on Big Ten opponent Penn State. First pitch is scheduled for 10:00 a.m.