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Baseball Heads Out to California for Three Games with Santa Clara

Junior David Garner is 3-0 on the season.

March 14, 2013

Games 14-16: Michigan State (6-7) at Santa Clara (8-9)
 Dates Friday, March 15 - Saturday, March 16
 Location Santa Clara, Calif. | Stephen Schott Stadium (1,500)
 Statistics Michigan State | Santa Clara
 Notes Michigan State
 Media Coverage Live stats and live stream for all three games available at
 Social Media Updates @statebaseball | Facebook

Game 1
 Date | Time Friday, March 15 | 9 p.m. ET
 Pitching Matchup MSU: Sr. RHP Andrew Waszak (1-1, 2.22 ERA) vs.
SCU: Sr. RHP Mike Couch (3-1, 2.32 ERA)

Game 2
 Date | Time Saturday, March 16 | 4 p.m. ET
 Pitching Matchup MSU: Jr. RHP David Garner (3-0, 3.42 ERA) vs.
SCU: Sr. RHP Tommy Nance (2-1, 1.29 ERA)

Game 3
 Date | Time Saturday, March 16 | 7 p.m. ET
 Pitching Matchup MSU: So. RHP Mick VanVossen (0-1, 5.74 ERA) vs.

Michigan State baseball heads out West for a three-game set with Santa Clara this weekend (March 15-16) in Santa Clara, Calif. The Spartans and Broncos will play at 9 p.m. ET on Friday and then a doubleheader on Saturday. MSU is coming off a spring break trip that was riddled with storms, forcing two games to be postponed and another cancelled. On the trip, the Spartans defeated its seventh ranked team since 2000, and the second-highest ranked in that span after taking down No. 7 Kentucky, 6-1 on March 9.

MSU also went 1-2 against a tough Austin Peay team in Clarksville, Tenn., on spring break. The Spartans split the doubleheader before falling in the rubber match. MSU picked up a win at Tennessee Tech on the trip as well.

This is just the second-ever meeting between the Spartans and the Broncos. SCU beat Michigan State 8-5 on Feb. 27, 2000. Santa Clara is 8-9 on the season and won the series against San Jose State last weekend, winning two of the three games.

The Broncos went 26-28 last season and finished ninth in the WCC with a 5-19 record. Greg Harisis was a First-Team All-WCC last season after batting a team-high .398. This season he is batting a team-high .400 and has 12 RBIs.

MSU senior right-hander Andrew Waszak will get the call for the Spartans on Friday in the series opener. Waszak got a no decision, giving up just one run in 6 1/3 innings of work against No. 7 Kentucky on March 8. He gave up a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first inning to Andrew Cousino, but then settled down, allowing eight hits and just the one run, while also striking out three.

Junior right-hander David Garner (3-0) gets the nod in the first game on Saturday. Garner shut down No. 7 Kentucky on Saturday, March 9, pitching 8 1/3 innings while giving up just two hits and one run in a 6-1 win for the Spartans.

In Sunday's finale, sophomore RHP Mick VanVossen will take the hill in his fourth start of the season. VanVossen pitched 5 2/3 innings in a loss to Kentucky; he had two strikeouts and gave up three runs on six hits in a loss to Kentucky.

Live stats and live stream for all of this weekend's games against Santa Clara will be available at

On the tough spring break trip with the weather and playing seven games in eight days...
"Tough week for us, snowed out to start the trip on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, which meant that it pushed everything into seven games into an eight-day span, which was not easy for our guys. I give them a lot of credit, because it was a lot of sitting around, and a lot of waiting around for the weather. We played better at the end of the trip. Defensively, we pitched it well but the hitting is still a little bit behind. We haven't seemed to have gotten into a rhythm yet at the plate and really been inconsistent. I think part of that is because of the weather. Not an excuse, but at the same time we were talking last Monday, a week ago, that we are going into I believe our 10th game, and we had only been able to hit outside three times. You know you can only get so much done in the cages. I think that has played a bit of a factor in it.

"We played okay at Austin Peay against a very good Austin Peay team. Had our chance just to win two games, unfortunately we let one of them slip away. We went to Tennessee Tech and got a very good outing out of Chase Rihtarchik midweek and played well that night and beat them. Still looking from some consistency on the offensive side of it and hopefully the more reps we get the more consistent we will become."

On containing a potent Kentucky offense...
"Really I thought we played well all weekend at Kentucky. Defensively we played very well, we pitched it extremely well. Andrew Waszak threw certainly well enough to win on Friday and David Garner was lights out Saturday. I thought we played well again on Sunday; Mick VanVossen threw well. Offensively we didn't do a whole lot on Friday and Sunday. I think you can contribute that to a pretty good Kentucky team and the guys they ran out there. We are still looking from some consistency on the offensive side of it and hopefully the more reps we get, the more consistent we will become."

On going on the road to face Santa Clara...
"They're a .500 ball club, but they're a team that has played some pretty good competition. They've got a couple arms that are going to be pretty good that they are going to run out against us and a couple guys that are really swinging the bat well. It will be a challenging weekend and hopefully the weather is a little better than it was on the spring trip. We are excited to get going and getting some consistency out of our guys on the mound, and play better defensively."

On the impact of the Kentucky win...
"Obviously it was a good win against a SEC opponent and a top-10 team. You try to make your guys understand, that even though we're inside for a good portion of our preseason practice; we feel like that when we get outside and get into a rhythm, we can compete with anybody. I think our guys proved that this weekend. Kentucky is a very good ball club and one of the better teams that we've played in the I think in last five years if you look at them at a defensive stand point, pitching stand point, and then offensively. They have the preseason SEC Player of the Year in center field for them and guys up and down the order that can hit and hit for power. Going in there and playing well, and beating them on Saturday is a signature win for our program no doubt, and it would have been good to get the series. I think at the same time, it helps to spell some of those myths that we don't play good baseball up here."

On David Garner's performance...
"David was electric on Saturday, I'll tell you he's as good as an arm as there is in the Midwest in my opinion. He showed it really in both of his starts in the trip against Austin Peay. He threw very well and we didn't help him out a whole lot. His velocity was 91 to 93 (mph) on a cold day and touched 95 (mph) I think. Last weekend I don't think he was as high; he was more 90 to 92 and touched at 93. He really threw three pitches for strikes and was in control the whole way. He looked like a number one guy which is really encouraging because he certainly is that talented. Andrew Waszak has been throwing well as well for us on Friday nights. To have a one-two punch like that, you feel pretty good about it when you go into the conference with those two guys especially. The sky's the limit for David; if he's able to stay healthy I think he's got an extremely bright future in this game."

On the weather early on...
"The weather was tough. Again, I think the biggest thing for us is we need to be able to get outside this time of the year and take batting practice on the field. As maybe insignificant as that sounds, that's a huge thing for us. The weather forced us inside to hit in the cages, we've been doing that for a while and that doesn't really help us a whole lot. We started a game on Friday and played two innings and got snowed out. It turns into a long weekend when you are sitting around waiting when you are stuck in your hotel and kind of not knowing what's going to happen. We did get a couple of work outs in, but at the same time we need to get out this time of the year. We need to get out and play and need to get out and practice on the field, take batting practice on the field and really just see the ball off the bat. You know, it was a frustrating week weather wise. I give our kids a lot of credit for mentally staying the, staying focused and getting themselves ready to play. It was a cold night at Tennessee Tech and we played really well that night which was very encouraging to see. You get it at home, it's one of those things again they're used to and part of the game college level this time of the year.

On his the win impacting the team's RPI early on...
"I think our schedule really kind of set us up pretty good from a RPI stand point this year. Austin Peay, while it may not be a highly known program, it's a very good program they are around 14-2 right now. Furman is along the same lines. They're playing very well and well they may not have the name recognition up here especially in the baseball world, those are two very good programs and they continue to play well. Western Carolina is along the same lines, so that was a good win for us. We try to balance out your schedule where you can get some good RPI games and get a chance to make a name for yourself. Hopefully it sets us up at the end of the year. Our preliminary RPI is very good and the strength of schedule I think is in the top-10 in the country right now. I think we have accomplished that part of what we were trying to accomplish with the schedule."

Michigan State defeated its seventh ranked opponent since 2000 and its second highest-ranked during that span after a 6-1 win over No. 7 Kentucky on March 9. Kentucky, ranked No. 7 by Collegiate Baseball, was leading the NCAA with 10.3 runs per game and the Spartans were able to hold the Wildcats to six total runs during the three-game series. The Spartans picked two wins over ranked teams last season (No. 11 St. John's, No. 25 Baylor). MSU's victory over the 11th-ranked Red Storm on Opening Day was the highest-ranked team MSU has defeated since taking down No. 6 Rice on March 7, 2008, in Houston. St. John's, the preseason Big East favorite, was ranked No. 11 by Collegiate Baseball. The Spartans also shut out 25th-ranked Baylor, 4-0, at Baylor Ballpark. The Bears were ranked No. 25 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll.

MSU senior captain and infielder John Martinez will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a torn left ACL, partial MCL tear and torn lateral meniscus against Kentucky on March 9. Martinez was injured while covering second base in the bottom of the eighth inning. He will undergo surgery on the injured knee and apply for a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility.

"The only silver lining is that it happened early enough in the season where we more than likely could get him a medical redshirt," said Boss. "But any time you lose your captain, the heart and soul of your ball club, it's tough. He's a good kid. He was struggling a little bit offensively, but defensively playing extremely well for us. That's one that really hurts; it wasn't easy to see him go down like that. Whether the player was legal or not, I guess it doesn't really matter. The umpire made a call and initially he thought it looked like a good slide. It was unfortunate that it happened; hopefully in the long run it will end up benefiting us. Johnny got hurt his freshman year as well and he was playing extremely well at that point too. It's definitely a bitter pill for him to swallow, but he's a good kid and I know he'll come back from it."

Although it's too early in the season to be concerned about RPI, the Spartans' non-conference schedule has been one of the toughest in the country and it is showing in the latest RPI rankings. MSU is No. 6 in the latest Boyd's World RPI after having faced Austin Peay (No. 7) and Furman (No. 11) thus far. Michigan State earned the No. 4 strength of schedule according to Warren Nolan and is also No. 6 in their rankings.

Junior David Garner was named a Primetime Performer by after his stellar performance at No. 7 Kentucky last weekend. Garner went 8 1/3 innings, yielding just one run and four hits angainst the hot-hitting Wildcats. UK was leading the NCAA in runs per game with 10.3 and had a team batting average of .324. He was working on shutout into the eighth before giving up a solo home run to Paul McConkey. He retired his first 11 batters and added six strikeouts in the 108-pitch performance.

Senior left fielder Jordan Keur is leading the Spartans in almost every offensive category 13 games into the season. Keur is hitting a team-high .319, while also leading MSU in doubles (4), RBIs (11) slugging percentage (.468) and on-base percentage (.417). Keur went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI in the 6-1 win over Kentucky on March 9.

Ryan Richardson, a redshirt sophomore, has started all 13 games at shortstop for MSU this season after transferring from Elgin Community College. Richardson rattled off a nine-game hitting streak to start the season and is batting .275 in his first year in the lineup for the Spartans and also has a .397 on-base percentage.

Michigan State baseball was picked third in the Big Ten according to a poll of conference coaches. Indiana and Nebraska came in on top followed by MSU, Ohio State, Minnesota and Illinois. The Spartans are coming off a season that ended in the NCAA Regionals, their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 1979.

"We talked about that five years ago and needed to increase expectations," head coach Jake Boss said. "We wanted to have a little bit of buzz around the program and that is to these guys' credit. They've put the work in and earned the success on the field. We are at a position now where people expect us to do some good things. That's a program type statement. We don't guarantee a championship every year, but at the same time we expect to compete for one."

Three MSU players were named to the Big Ten Players to Watch list. Senior RHP Andrew Waszak and junior RHP David Garner, along with senior left fielder Jordan Keur represented Michigan State on the list.

Waszak compiled a 4-4 record with a 2.96 ERA last season as the No. 2 starter and tied for first in the Big Ten with 16 starts and ranked second in innings pitched with 106.1, second most in school history.

Garner saw action as both a starter and reliever last season and had a 6-3 record with a 3.28 ERA. He ranked seventh in the Big Ten in strikeouts (75) and fourth in hits allowed (64).

Keur, who started in all 60 games (49 in left field, 11 in center field) last season, was the team's lone first-team All-Big Ten selection and led the team with a .353 batting average, good for eighth in the conference. He finished the season with 89 hits, second in the Big Ten only to teammate Ryan Jones; that total also ranks fourth most in an MSU single-season.

Santa Clara (8-9)
• Santa Clara dropped a mid-week game to California on Tuesday, 3-1.
• Last weekend, SCU took two of three from San Jose State University.
• The Broncos are led by Greg Harisis on offense; he is leading the team with a .400 average.
• Greg Harisis was also All-WCC last season after batting .398.
• Quinton Perry leads the WCC with five home runs in 2013.
• Senior shortstop Justin Viele continued his streak of consecutive starts last week. With his 16 starts in 2013, he has now started 121 consecutive games for the Broncos.
• RHP Tommy Nance is 2-1 with a 1.29 ERA in 21.0 IP.
• Max Deering has made 10 appearances and has two saves for the Broncos.

Series History vs. Santa Clara
MSU trails, 0-1
Last meeting: Santa Clara 8, MSU 5 (Feb. 27, 2000)



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