March 12, 2012
|Game 1 - Wed.||Michigan State 4, No. 25 Baylor 0 | Box Score|
|Game 2 - Friday||Michigan State 8, Xavier 5 | Box Score|
|Game 3 - Saturday||Michigan State 4, Seton Hall 3 (15) | Box Score|
|Game 4 - Sunday||Pittsburgh 3, Michigan State 1 | Box Score|
Michigan State went 3-1 on the second half of its spring break trip. The Spartans began their three-game winning streak with a 4-0 shutout win at No. 25 Baylor. Over the weekend at the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla., MSU rallied to defeat Xavier, 8-5, on Friday, and outlasted Seton Hall, 4-3 in 15 innings, on Saturday. The seven-game spring break trip ended with a 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday.
At the plate...
Junior second baseman Ryan Jones
Ryan Jones led MSU with a .444 batting average (8-for-18) and a .500 on-base percentage the last four games of the spring break trip. The Haslett, Mich., native delivered an RBI double in the win at No. 25 Baylor, an RBI single in the victory over Xavier, and tied his career high with five hits in the 15-inning comeback win over Seton Hall.
Jones is batting .377 for the season and leads the team with a .576 slugging percentage. He is also tied for the team lead in doubles with four and tied for second with nine RBIs.
Freshman center fielder Anthony Cheky
MSU head coach Jake Boss inserted freshman Anthony Cheky into the starting lineup at center field for the Baylor game on March 7, and Cheky didn't disappoint in his first collegiate start, collecting a hit, two runs and two stolen bases.
Cheky batted leadoff in all three games at the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla. For the week, he went 6-for-20 at the plate (.300) with three stolen bases and three runs scored. He delivered the game-winning hit in the bottom of the 15th to defeat Seton Hall, a single to right field that brought home John Martinez for the 4-3 victory.
With Cheky starting in center field, junior Torsten Boss moved back to third base, where he started the last two seasons. Boss started the first 10 games of the season in center field.
Junior left fielder Jordan Keur
Jordan Keur, who batted in the No. 2 spot in the order over the weekend, produced seven more hits last week and continues to lead the team with his .393 batting average. Keur is tied for sixth in the Big Ten with 22 hits and also ranks tied for fourth in the league in on-base percentage (.478).
On the mound...
Red-shirt sopohomore RHP Mike Theodore
Right-hander Mike Theodore continued his strong pitching this season with another quality start in Sunday's 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh. Theodore allowed just one run on five hits and no walks in his seven innings of work, but took the no decision.
Although Theodore is winless on the season in three starts, he has only surrendered one earned run in 19.0 innings as a starter (0.47 ERA) and owns a 0.89 ERA for the season. The red-shirt sophomore out of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., ranks second in the Big Ten in ERA and fourth in opposing batting average (.205).
Junior RHP Andrew Waszak
Andrew Waszak threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings in Saturday's win over Seton Hall, scattering five hits and striking out four. The junior right-hander leads the team and ranks fourth in the Big Ten with 26 2/3 innings pitched.
Waszak (1-1) has been one of the top pitchers in the conference this season, as he also is listed among the league leaders in opposing batting average (second at .170) and ERA (third at 1.01). All four of his outings this season have been quality starts (at least six innings pitched, three earned runs or less).
Junior RHP David Garner
Although David Garner (1-2) took the loss after allowing two runs to score in the eighth inning of a 1-1 game to Pittsburgh, he was impressive earlier in the week, firing six shutout innings in the win at No. 25 Baylor. Garner did walk five batters against the Bears, but also struck out four. The sophomore right-hander has recorded 17 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings this season.
Junior LHP Trey Popp
Junior southpaw Trey Popp struck out six batters and didn't allow a run in his 4 1/3 innings of relief last week. Popp also surrendered just one base hit as opponents his .071 against him.
Popp struck out two in a perfect eighth inning at Baylor, then fanned four in 3 1/3 innings against Seton Hall. He came in against the Pirates with a runner on second base and one out in the eighth inning, and got out of the jam with a flyout. Popp followed that with scoreless frames in the ninth, 10th and 11th innings in the eventual 15-inning victory for Michigan State.
For the season, Popp is tied for the team lead with six appearances and owns a 1.86 ERA with nine strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings.
TOP MOMENT: END OF A MARATHON
Freshman Anthony Cheky picked a good time for his first RBI as a Spartan. With the score tied at 3 in the bottom of the 15th against Seton Hall and runners on first and third, Cheky hit a single to right field to plate John Martinez for the game-winning run, ending the five-hour, 40-minute marathon.
After neither team scored a run for the first 14 innings, the Spartans found themselves in a three-run hole after the Pirate offense finally came to life in the top of the 15th.
But Michigan State rallied for four runs in the bottom half of the inning for its first walk-off win of the year.
Michigan State's comeback started with Ryan Jones, whose single to lead off the inning was his fifth hit of the game. Seton Hall then walked three straight batters to bring home Jones and load the bases. After a strikeout, pinch hitter Andrew Carpenter came through with a clutch two-run single to right field that tied the game at 3, setting the stage for Cheky's game-winning single.
"We showed a lot of heart and character coming back after giving up three runs in the top of the 15th," said Jake Boss, who won his 100th game as head coach of the Spartans. "Our guys kept fighting and never game up, and we found a way to win."
TEAM NOTES Michigan State leads the Big Ten in nearly every pitching category, including ERA (3.13), opposing batting average (.239) and walks allowed (38). The Spartans are also tied for first in saves (4) and fewest earned runs allowed (45).
The Spartans own a strikeout/walk ratio of 2.34 (89 strikeouts/38 walks), which is first in the Big Ten.
Michigan State is 2-0 in extra-inning games this season after its 4-3 win over Seton Hall in 15 innings. The Spartans defeated Furman in 11 innings, 6-2, on Feb. 25. In both of MSU's extra-inning victories this season, the Spartans scored four runs in the decisive inning. All told, MSU has outscored its opponents 8-3 in extra innings this season. MSU was 2-2 in extra-inning games last season.
Michigan State's walk-off win over Seton Hall was the first for the Spartans since April 30 of last season when Tony Wieber's sacrifice fly brought home Jeff Holm in the bottom of the ninth in the 5-4 win over Penn State at McLane Baseball Stadium.
Michigan State's win over No. 25 Baylor was the second victory over a ranked opponent this season for the Spartans (No. 11 St. John's on Feb. 18).
Michigan State heads to Cincinnati (8-6) for a three-game series at Marge Schott Stadium. Friday and Saturday's games are set for 4 p.m., while the series finale will be at 1 p.m. on Sunday.