March 7, 2013
| Date | Time
||Friday, March 8 | 4 p.m. ET
| Pitching Matchup
||MSU: Sr. RHP Andrew Waszak (1-1, 2.50 ERA) vs.
UK: So. LHP A.J. Reed (2-1, 4.70 ERA)
| Date | Time
||Saturday, March 9 | 2 p.m. ET
| Pitching Matchup
||MSU: Jr. RHP David Garner (2-0, 4.50 ERA) vs.
UK: Sr. LHP Jerad Grundy (3-0, 0.43 ERA)
| Date | Time
||Sunday, March 10 | 1 p.m. ET
| Pitching Matchup
||MSU: So. RHP Mick VanVossen (0-0, 6. 30 ERA) vs.
UK Jr. LHP Corey Littrell (1-0, 4.32ERA)
SPARTANS COMPLETE SPRING BREAK TRIP WITH THREE-GAME SERIES AT NO. 7 KENTUCKY
The Spartan baseball team wraps up its spring break trip with a three-game set at No. 7 Kentucky this weekend (March 8-10) in Lexington, Ky. Michigan State has had four games affected by weather as of late and its Tuesday game with Tennessee Tech was cancelled due to storms in the area. The Spartans came out on top against the Golden Eagles on Wednesday, 5-3, bringing their record to .500.
MSU went 1-2 in a three game series against Austin Peay in Clarksville, Tenn., last weekend. Weather postponed Friday and Saturday's contests, forcing the two teams to play a doubleheader on Sunday. MSU and APSU split on Sunday, but fell on Monday in the rubber game.
This is just the third-ever meeting between the Spartans and the Wildcats; before playing in 2006, the two teams had not met since 1913. Kentucky enters the weekend on an eight-game winning streak and is 11-1 this season. The Wildcats topped Xavier on Tuesday and its only loss of the season came against Kansas State.
The Wildcats won a single-season school-record 45 games last season, finishing 45-18. UK advanced to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament, going 2-1. Kentucky made its seventh all-time NCAA Tournament appearance, going 2-2 and finishing second in the Gary Regional.
MSU senior right-hander Andrew Waszak will get the call for the Spartans on Friday in the series opener. Waszak pitched six innings, giving up five runs but only three earned in a loss against Austin Peay on Sunday. He is 1-1 and struck out a career-high eight in six innings of work and allowed just one run and four hits to earn the win over Western Carolina on Feb. 22.
Junior right-hander David Garner (2-0) gets the nod on Saturday. Garner picked up the victory in the second game against Austin Peay, tossing seven shutout innings while striking out seven and surrendering just five hits.
In Sunday's finale, sophomore RHP Mick VanVossen will take the hill in his third start of the season. VanVossen struck out four in 5 2/3 innings of work in the 10-7 loss against APSU on March 4.
Live stats, radio broadcasts, and live stream for all of this weekend's games against Kentucky will be available at UKAthletics.com.
QUOTING COACH BOSS
On how the weather has affected the team lately and after the Tennessee Tech win...
"I thought our guys showed some character, it's been a rough couple of days with the weather. We were sitting around the hotel and not really knowing what was going to happen because of the weather. It was cold today but I thought our guys played the most complete game so far this year. We had some timely hits, some extra base hits and some RBIs. We played good defense and our pitching was very good. Chase Rihtarchik threw really well, I am happy for him and his outing. Anthony Misiewicz came and did well and Jeff Kinley came in and got back on track. It was a good day all the way around."
On the offensive play of Jordan Keur...
"Jordan Keur is our best hitter. He's been hitting in the three-hole for us the last two years. That's what we've come to expect out of Jordan. He has a good plan at the plate, he is fundamentally sound and he's not going to get himself out very often."
On Jimmy Pickens through the first 10 games...
"Jimmy is starting to feel pretty confident at the plate. He's pretty locked in now, he is seeing the ball well and hitting it hard. We moved him up a little bit in the order, hoping he could drive some runs in and he has done that for us thus far."
On Jeff Kinley responding after giving up a home run in the ninth against Tennessee Tech...
"He got behind 3-0 on the first hitter and battled back to get that out. He made one bad pitch with two outs and their guy capitalized on it. He was able to come back and get the strikeout to end it. It was good to get him back on track. He's been up-and-down a bit lately, but he's as talented a guy as there is in our conference. He is going to get some big outs for us all year."
Looking back at the first two weeks and looking ahead to spring break...
"We didn't play as well as we had hoped. I think expectations are a little bit higher. I think some of it can maybe be attributed to being outside for the first time and some of it is that we do have some young guys that we're running out there but at the same time, again, expectations are a little bit higher for the way that we've played.
"We got some good pitching performances and the depth on the mound is a bit of a question mark right now. Defensively, I think we're getting better and I think that may have been the result of being outside for the first time. Offensively, we're really struggling. The pitching is usually ahead of the hitting at this time of the year and hopefully the more at bats we get, the more comfortable guys will be and they can settle into things at the plate.
"We go to Kentucky, who was preseason ranked fifth in a couple polls, and I think they're in the top 15 right now, so they're a very good program out of the SEC. It'll be a good test for us and a good opportunity to get better."
On the team's freshmen...
"I think for some of the freshmen it's still a feeling-out process. Those guys aren't scared of anything, which is good. The first game of the year I probably didn't put [Freshman RHP] Justin Alleman in a very good position and he came in and blew a save for us - that's probably more on me than anything else. I put him in a tough spot and I shouldn't have. [Junior LHP] Jeff Kinley is as good as there is in the conference out of the bullpen and he was rolling along and I took him out and tried to give Justin an opportunity for a save in his first college game and, again, I didn't give him a chance to be successful. He bounced back the next day and threw very well. [Freshman LHP] Anthony Misiewicz is a kid who as a freshman threw very well for us out of the bullpen. [Freshman OF] Cam Gibson got his first start the other day - he's got game-changing speed, and as long as he can settle in offensively and get used to the pitching at this level he's got a chance to be a very good player, too. Those guys aren't scared of anything; they work hard and it's a good group. They never think that they're out of a ballgame, which is good. Some of the teams we had the first couple years - maybe you couldn't say that about them. I still think our leadership is very good and I think we're going to continue to improve."
On his team's recent offensive performance...
"I was disappointed in some of the approaches that we took. I think we gave away a lot of at bats. I think there were times where we were trying to put the ball in play with some guys who should not have that approach. We've got some big, strong, athletic kids that can hit for some power and we're a little bit too satisfied with just making contact. We're addressing that right now; those are all things that we've talked about for the last two weeks. It's difficult when you're in the cages and your depth perception is different - you're not in those game situations and you can't go out and intersquad, so you do as best as you can with where you're at. I would hope that coming up on Friday and as it carries on to the rest of the break and we're gone, that just the 28 of us as far as players are concerned and we're gone for those 11 days that we really see some improvements there."
On the new infield (new starters this season at third base, shortstop and second base)...
"Those guys just need to play. I think it's different, obviously, from fall baseball and it's extremely different from being inside at Duffy (indoor football practice facility). For those guys, the more reps they get, I think the better off we're going to be. [RS Sophomore INF] Ryan Richardson's a junior college transfer who's coming off an arm injury, but I think he's going to be very solid. He may now look the prettiest all the time but at the end of the day, I think he's going to a very good job for us. The more we play, from game one to game six, they've been dramatically different and better, quite honestly, in the way we've played over the last two weeks, so I would hope that that would continue to improve."
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
Kentucky enters the weekend on a eight-game winning streak and is 11-1 overall after defeating Xavier on Wednesday.
UK's only loss was to Kansas State on Feb. 21.
Kentucky won a three-game series over Akron this past weekend, out-scoring the Zips 37-4.
The Wildcats won a single-season school-record 45 games last season, finishing 45-18.
UK advanced to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament, going 2-1.
Kentucky made its seventh all-time NCAA Tournament appearance, going 2-2 and finishing second in the Gary Regional.
Kentucky sophomore two-way standout A.J. Reed has been selected as the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Hitter of the Week, it was announced on Tuesday afternoon.
Reed hit .526 (10-for-19) during a five-game week, ripping three homers and a double and driving in 15 runs.
Series History vs. Kentucky
Series tied 1-1
Last Meeting: UK 9, MSU 2 (Feb. 26, 2006)