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Michigan State Baseball Opens Season

Lamar Cardinals on deck for the Spartans.

Feb. 16, 1998

PLAY BALL: Michigan State opens its 1998 campaign on the road with a four-game set against the Lamar Cardinals in Beaumont, Tex. Spartan left-hander Mark Mulder will start the opener, slated for 2:00 p.m. on Fri., Feb. 20. MSU and Lamar will lock horns in a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader the following day, before finishing up with a single game at noon on Sun., Feb. 22.

THE ROTATION: Mulder, the 1997 Big Ten ERA Leader (2.26), will throw the first pitch on Fri., followed by seasoned right-hander Brian Murphy for game one of the double-dip on Sat. Sophomore southpaw Gary Zsigo will make his collegiate debut in the second half of the doubleheader, while sophomore Kimya Massey will start the finale on Sunday.

MSU STARTING LINEUP

Pos     Bat Player              Yr
CF      R   Mike Wagner         Jr
SS      B   Tom Grigg           Sr
3B      R   Mike Pisani         So
RF      R   Tom Hartley         Jr
P/DH    L   Mark Mulder         Jr
1B      L   Ryan Leson          So
LF      L   Joe Albaugh         So
C       R   Carlos Fernandez/   Jr
        R   Joe Kalczynski      So
2B      R   Ted Demetral        So

MSU ROTATION

Mark Mulder,    LHP     Jr
Brian Murphy,   RHP     Sr
Gary Zsigo,     LHP     So
Kimya Massey,   LHP     So   

THE BOOK ON LAMAR: Unlike the Spartans, Lamar checks into the weekend with five games under their belt, as they sport a 4-1 record. The Cardinals are coming off a pair of victories on Feb. 13-14 in Beaumont, Tex., as they defeated Northwestern State, 8-5, and Jackson State, 17-5. The Cardinalsi rotation is led by Cortney Jenkins, who already has posted a 2-0 slate and 3.09 ERA in two starts, including a seven-inning complete game against Jackson State.

Lamaris offense has not scored less than seven runs in any of their five games, as they have outscored their opponents 50-29 this season. The offense is spear-headed by 3B Wes Koch, who is hitting .462 (6-13) with two home runs and nine RBI in four starts. Leadoff man Corey Cephus has already racked up four steals to go along with nine runs scored. Other top hitters include OF B.J. Littleton (.385) and 1B George Johnson (.417).

FRESH FACES: Here's a look at the newcomers to the Spartan program:

    #   Pos     B/T Player
    42  OF      R/R Marc Anderson
    15  OF/P    R/R Josh Axelson
    8   IF      R/R Troy Bergman
    45  P       R/R Scott Brandell
    11  IF      R/R Steve Crepeau
    4   IF      R/R Eric Doyle
    50  C       R/R Pat Hamacher
    19  C       R/R Matt Haynes
    21  C       R/R Brian Jeffrey
    29  P       R/R Casey Reader
    28  P       R/R John Steiger
    33  P       R/R David Strunk
    23  OF      R/R Mike Wagner

Two players were with the Spartan program last season, but did not play. 1998 will mark their debut:

    27  IF  R/R Scott Colvin
    30  P   R/L Gary Zsigo

EVERYONE'S ALL-AMERICAN: Michigan State junior lefty Mark Mulder has seen his name appear on numerous pre-season All-America teams, including his recognition on the first-team by a survey on 23 scouting directors. Baseball America listed Mulder, the 1997 Big Ten ERA leader (2.26), as the number two prospect in the collegiate ranks, following Miami (Fla.) 3B Pat Burrell.

Mulder's recognition comes in large part to an impressive showing at this summeris Cape Cod League. He went 5-2 with a sparkling 1.47 ERA. In 73 innings on the mound, Mulder walked 11 while striking out 64, as he was named the top prospect in the loop.

All that came after a strong season as a part of the Spartan pitching staff, as he led the squad in all major pitching categories, including wins (seven), ERA (2.26), strikeouts (56) and saves (four). A look inside the numbers reveals a more thorough insight into his fine 1997 campaign: Mulder led MSU in K/9 (7.44), BB/9 (1.60), H/9 (8.78), K/BB (4.67) and opponentsi batting average (.257).

MISSING: The Spartan lineup lost four of its starters to graduation, as catcher Marty Patterson (.331, 12 HR in 1997), centerfielder Zack Casey (.295, .420 OBP), leftfielder Chad Marshall (3rd on MSUis all-time doubles list with 38) and third baseman Shane Johnson (.278) all played their final game as a member of the Green and White last season. The rotation will be without Tom Olejnik (3-6, 5.00) and Josh Weeks (6-4, 5.54).

DRAFT-AND-FOLLOW: Two former Spartan sluggers moved their baseball careers along in 1997, as they signed professional contracts.

Marty Patterson, a 28th-round choice by the Milwaukee Brewers, fared well in his stint at Helena, an advanced-rookie level team in the Pioneer League. Patterson batted .237 in his pro debut, hitting three homers and 23 RBIs in 169 ABs. Patterson saw action at catcher, first base and the outfield. He also made his pro mound debut, pitching one scoreless inning, striking out one while walking two.

Gus Ornstein, a New Jersey native, signed with the New York Yankees, however did not make an appearance with a Yankee farm club.

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Even with a solid freshman class, the Spartans could have hit it big, as two of their top signees jumped to the professional ranks.

Eric Glaser, a 6-6, 220-lb. right-hander out of Fort Thomas, Ky., signed a letter-of-intent to play for Michigan State, but passed that up when the Boston Red Sox selected him in the second round (69th overall) of the amateur draft. Signed to a reported $400,000 signing bonus, Glaser did not disappoint, as he posted impressive numbers in the Gulf Coast League. Despite a 1-2 record in seven games (six starts), he came through with a 3.97 ERA, as well as very strong K/BB (22/5) and K/IP (22/22.2) ratios.

Matt Mauck, a third sacker out of Jasper (Ind.) HS (the same school which produced 1997 NL Rookie of the Year Scott Rolen), signed to play both baseball and football (QB) at MSU, but chose instead to sign with the Chicago Cubs as a sixth-round pick (184th overall). Mauck played well in 40 games with the Cubsi Arizona League club, posting a .285 batting average with one homer.

1997 STATS OF RETURNEES

Player              Avg     HR  RBI SB
Tom Hartley         .359    3   33   7
Mark Mulder         .302    6   35   0
Tom Grigg           .281    0   28   4
Mike Pisani         .278    2   27   5
Ted Demetral        .263    0   13   1
Joe Albaugh         .247    0    5   1
Ryan Leson          .220    0    6   1
Joe Kalczynski      .205    0   10   0
Carlos Fernandez    .161    0    4   2
Pitcher         ERA     W-L SV   SO
Jerry Nozewski  0.00    0-0  0    0
Mark Mulder     2.26    7-2  4   56
Brian Murphy    3.93    5-4  0   56
Tony Bubacz     4.97    2-0  1   12
Kimya Massey    7.09    2-4  0   19
Chris Yens     10.69    0-1  1    9
Tony Graham    12.00    1-0  0    9

UPCOMING CAREER MILESTONES

TED MAHAN, Head Coach   Has
50 Wins                 40
TOM GRIGG, SS, Sr.  Has
150 Games           148
200 Hits            153
30 Doubles           23
100 RBI              71
100 Walks            85
100 SO               93
500 Assists         411
BRIAN MURPHY, P, Sr.    Has
50 Games                38
15 Wins                 11
250 Innings             220.2
150 Strikeouts          134
TOM HARTLEY, OF, Jr.    Has
100 Games               72
100 Hits                77
50 RBI                  40
MARK MULDER, P/1B, Jr.   Has
50 Runs                   39
100 Hits                  57
50 RBI                    35
10 Wins                    7
100 Strikeouts - Pitching 56

1998 BIG TEN STANDINGS

(Games through 2/15)
Team            W   L   W   L
Minnesota       0   0   1   0
Michigan        0   0   0   0
Illinois        0   0   0   0
Ohio State      0   0   0   0
Purdue          0   0   0   0
Michigan State  0   0   0   0
Northwestern    0   0   0   0
Ohio State      0   0   1   2
Penn State      0   0   1   2
Indiana         0   0   0   2

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