Three MSU Baseball Players Collect Big Ten Preseason Plaudits
Kelley, Lowery and McCauley On Preseason Honors List
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State baseball had three players on the Big Ten Conference Preseason Players to Watch List, as the conference announced its preseason honors list and preseason poll on Wednesday, Feb. 14.
The league’s coaches voted on the top six teams and also selected three student-athletes from their own squads to a Preseason Honors list.
MSU Preseason Honorees included sophomore outfielder/pitcher Bryce Kelley, senior pitcher Jake Lowery and junior pitcher Riley McCauley.
Kelley, a native of Rockford, Michigan, was a Collegiate Baseball Freshmen All-American last season, becoming the eighth Freshman All-American at MSU and the second under head coach Jake Boss Jr. to earn Freshman All-America accolades, joining second baseman Ryan Jones in 2010. Kelley was also on the Big Ten Conference All-Freshman team, and was also the B1G Freshman of the Week. He was Michigan State’s starting left fielder in all 24 B1G games, playing in 41 games overall with 38 starts, and led MSU with a .353 batting average overall, ranking third in the B1G. Kelley was also seventh in the B1G only stats with a .364 batting average.
He hit safely in 22 of 24 conference games, featuring a pair of 10-game hitting streaks in conference only action, with 20 in last 21 league contests, ending the 2017 season on a 13-game overall hitting streak, which started a day after his previous 13-game hitting streak was halted, finishing the season with a hit in 26 of last 27 games and 29 in 31 games. Kelley also tied for 17th in the B1G with 13 stolen bases, ranking tied for 11th in the conference only stats with six swipes.
Lowery, a Howell, Michigan native, made 22 appearances including four starts, logging a 3.71 ERA in 51.0 IP. He ranked second on the MSU pitching staff and ninth in the B1G with 70 strikeouts, as well as leading the Spartans and ranking ninth in the B1G with 21 strikeouts looking. Lowery also ranked 10th in league for strikeouts in conference only games with 37 Ks, as well as tied for 11th with 11 batters struck out looking. After coming out of bullpen in his first 18 appearances, Lowery made four-straight starts.
His bullpen highlights included earning a split shutout, pitching 2.1 IP with three strikeouts in 2-0 win over Ohio State (April 14). Lowery fired a combined 20 strikeouts in two-consecutive outings without an earned run, first chalking up a career-best 11 strikeouts in 5.2 IP in a no decision at Northwestern (April 28) and followed that with nine Ks in 7.2 IP vs. Iowa (May 6). Lowery added eight strikeouts in 3.0 IP without an earned run vs. Campbell (March 17), one of his four outings of 3.0 IP or more without an earned run.
McCauley is a native of Sterling Heights, Michigan, and appeared in 25 games last season as a reliever, is shifting to a starting role this season. Last year he posted a team-leading nine saves, which ranked tied for fourth in B1G and tied for 59th in the NCAA. The nine saves tied for the third on the MSU single-season saves list (since 1986). For the season, McCauley posted a 2.10 ERA in 25.2 IP with 36 strikeouts and 14 walks. He ranked 13th in the B1G in conference only games with 33 strikeouts in league play, and also tied for third in both appearances and games in relief in conference only games with 13.
He earned a save in his first five appearances, picking up his first career save in MSU’s 9-7 win at Abilene Christian (Feb. 18), with 1.2 IP, one strikeout and no earned runs. He also collected a pair of saves in as many outings at UNC-Greensboro, in the 5-4 win on Feb. 24, with two Ks in 1.0 IP and the 22-16 victory on Feb. 25 with 1.1 IP and one K. McCauley fired three or more strikeouts in eight outings, led by a career-high six Ks in career-high tying 3.0 IP at Michigan (May 19), and added five punchouts at Nebraska (May 14). He opened the season with streak of 6.2 IP without an earned run and later had stretch of 12.1 IP.
The Spartans return six position player starters and five returning starting pitchers from last year’s squad that posted a 29-23 overall record and a 10-14 Big Ten Conference mark, finishing ninth and just missing the B1G Tournament.
Kelley, Lowery, McCauley and the Spartans open the 2018 ledger on Friday, Feb. 16 at 9:05 p.m. ET in Fresno, Calif., with a four-game series at Fresno State to open a 54-game regular-season slate. MSU and Fresno State will play a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 17 starting at 5:05 p.m. ET, before the opening-weekend series finale on Sunday, Feb. 18 at 1:30 p.m. ET.
2018 BIG TEN BASEBALL PRESEASON POLL (top six teams)
2017 BIG TEN BASEBALL PRESEASON HONORS LIST
Michael Massey, INF, So., Illinois
Zac Taylor, OF, Jr., Illinois
Jack Yalowitz, OF, Jr., Illinois
Matt Lloyd, INF, Jr., Indiana
Luke Miller, INF, So., Indiana
Logan Sowers, OF, Sr., Indiana
Tyler Cropley, C/OF, Sr., Iowa
Zach Daniels, RHP/INF, Jr., Iowa
Robert Neustrom, OF, Jr., Iowa
Tyler Blohm, SP, So., Maryland
Marty Costes, OF, Jr., Maryland
Nick Dunn, INF, Jr., Maryland
Jonathan Engelmann, OF, Jr., Michigan
Miles Lewis, OF, Jr., Michigan
Ako Thomas, INF, Jr., Michigan
Riley McCauley, RHP, Jr., Michigan State
Bryce Kelley, OF/LHP, So., Michigan State
Jake Lowery, RHP, Sr., Michigan State
Micah Coffey, INF, Sr., Minnesota
Toby Hanson, INF/OF, Sr., Minnesota
Luke Pettersen, INF, Sr., Minnesota
Luis Alvarado, RHP/OF, Sr., Nebraska
Jake McSteen, SP, Jr., Nebraska
Scott Schreiber, OF, Sr., Nebraska
Hank Christie, SP, So., Northwestern
Jack Dunn, INF, Jr., Northwestern
Alex Erro, INF, So., Northwestern
Dominic Canzone, OF, So., Ohio State
Ryan Feltner, SP, Jr., Ohio State
Seth Kinker, RHP, Sr., Ohio State
Jordan Bowersox, OF, Jr., Penn State
Justin Hagenman, SP, Jr., Penn State
Mason Nadeau, OF, So., Penn State
Tanner Andrews, SP, Sr., Purdue
Ross Learnard, LHP, Sr., Purdue
Harry Shipley, INF, Sr., Purdue
Jawuan Harris, OF, Jr., Rutgers
Nick Matera, C, Jr., Rutgers
John O’Reily, SP, Sr., Rutgers