Mason Erla Earns B1G Freshman Of The Week Accolades
Spartan hurler stymies high-powered Illinois offense.
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State baseball’s Mason Erla has been tabbed the Big Ten Freshman of the Week, announced by the conference offense Monday.
Doran Turchin of Illinois was named the Player of the Week, while Nebraska’s Luis Alvarado was named the Pitcher of the Week. Erla is MSU’s first B1G honoree this season, as well as the first Spartan to earn B1G Freshman of the Week plaudits since Bryce Kelley was tabbed B1G Freshman of the Week last season on March 27.
Erla, a redshirt-freshman pitcher from Cass City, Michigan, limited a high-powered Illinois offense to just one hit over 6.1 IP, striking out five, in Michigan State’s 4-2 victory on Saturday at the First Pitch Invitational in Greenville, South Carolina. The victory for MSU snapped the Illini’s seven-game win streak.
Illinois came into Saturday evening’s game against MSU hitting .261, including four players hitting over .300. In their first two games of the First Pitch Invitational, the Illini had scored a combined 29 runs on 29 hits. The Illini beat the Spartans, 15-4, Friday afternoon and topped Furman, 14-5, Saturday afternoon before facing MSU.
On the season entering Saturday’s game vs. MSU, Illinois was averaging 8.8 hits per game this season, but Erla kept the Illini in check. He retired the first four Illini batters he faced and at one point from the fourth to the seventh frames, he retired 10 in a row.
With the win, Erla improved to 2-0 on the season and it was his third-straight solid outing. Erla also has a 2.82 ERA in 22.1 IP with 15 strikeouts.
After opening the season with 14 games away from home, Erla and the Spartans return home to East Lansing, where they’ll host their home opener on Thursday, March 15, hosting Niagara in a four-game series, Thursday-Sunday, March 15-18 at Kobs Field at McLane Stadium. Thursday’s series opener is slated for 3 p.m. and the schedule is subject to change, with updates posted at www.MSUSpartans.com.