MSU Playing In Richmond Spider Invitational In Final Non-Conference Road Weekend
Spartans' final road weekend before next week's home opener
Michigan State at Richmond Spider Invitational
|Michigan State (9-4, 0-0 B1G) vs. Campbell (7-10)|
|Game 1||Friday, March 17 | 10 a.m. ET|
|Location||Pitt Field | Richmond, Virginia|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Campbell|
|Probable Pitching Matchup||MSU: LHP #32 Alex Troop (SO) (2-1, 1.96 ERA) vs. Campbell: RHP #27 Allan Winans (JR) (2-1, 4.26 ERA)|
|Michigan State (9-4, 0-0 B1G) at Richmond (6-9)|
|Game 2||Saturday, March 18 | 2 p.m. ET|
|Location||Pitt Field | Richmond, Virginia|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Richmond|
|Probable Pitching Matchup||MSU: RHP #20 Mike Mokma (FR) (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Richmond: LHP #15 Jacob Lamb (SO) (1-1, 3.27 ERA)|
|Coverage||Live Stats | Watch Live ($)|
|Michigan State (9-4, 0-0 B1G) vs. Cornell (4-2)|
|Game 3||Sunday, March 19 | 10 a.m. ET|
|Location||Pitt Field | Richmond, Virginia|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Cornell|
|Probable Pitching Matchup||MSU: TBA (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Cornell: RHP #22 Paul Balestrieri (JR) (2-0, 0.75 ERA)|
Michigan State baseball returns to the road this weekend for its final non-conference weekend away from home, heading to Richmond, Virginia to play in the Richmond Invitational at Richmond’s Pitt Field.
MSU will open against Campbell on Friday, March 17 at 10 a.m. On Saturday, March 18, the Spartans will tangle with the host Richmond at 2 p.m. MSU wraps up the weekend action by battling Cornell on Sunday, March 19 at 10 a.m.
Live stats for MSU’s three games will be available with all links found at MSUSpartans.com. Video streaming for Saturday’s game against the host Richmond will be available through the “Watch Live” link at MSUSpartans.com, while there won’t be any audio or video streaming for Friday or Sunday’s games.
MSU is currently 9-4 overall, after going 3-3 in its 10-day Spring Break trip to South Carolina, opening by sweeping the First Pitch Invitational in Greenville on March 3-5. The Spartans kicked off the weekend with a 3-2 win over Furman on March 3, then pounded Presbyterian, 10-2 on March 4, before capping off the Invitational with a 6-1 win over UT Martin on March 5. MSU suffered its first loss of the trip with a 9-2 loss to No. 9 Clemson on March 8 in Greenville, South Carolina, at Fluor Field, home of the Greenville Drive. The Spartans then played at No. 10 South Carolina in a three-game weekend series, opening with a 3-2 loss on Friday night and a 5-2 defeat on Saturday before Sunday’s game was cancelled due to inclement weather.
• Michigan State’s 9-1 start to the season was the Spartans’ second-straight 9-1 start and tied for the second-best start to a season through 10 games. In addition to this season and last year, MSU was also 9-1 through 10 games in 1971, while the best mark in school history was the 1946 squad that went undefeated through its first 10 games.
One Of 32 With 2,300
Michigan State picked up its 2,300th all-time win in the season-opener on Feb. 17, becoming just the fifth team in the Big Ten Conference and the 32nd team in the country with 2,300 wins.
Head Coach Jake Boss, Jr., Closing In On 300, Twice
MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr., is in the early going of his ninth season as head coach of the Spartans and he has an overall record of 298-219 (.578) in his 10 overall years as a collegiate head coach, needing two wins for his 300th career win. He has a 273-185 (.597) record at the helm of the MSU program, meaning that if the Spartans equal last year’s win total of 36 wins, Boss will reach the 300-win plateau mark as the Spartan head coach.
Spartans In National Rankings
Michigan State is No. 10 in the most recent NCAA RPI rankings, after being ranked No. 2 last week. The Spartans are also just outside the Top 25 polls, ranking 12th among others receiving votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll, as well as No. 20 in the Hero Sports College D1 College Baseball rankings.
Racking Up The Runs
MSU leads the B1G and ranks 21st in the NCAA with 8.0 runs scored per game, plating 104 runs through 13 games, ranking first in the conference and 69th in the country in total runs scored.
Individually, freshman outfielder Danny Gleaves is second in the league and ranks 101st in the nation with 17 runs scored (1.3 per game).
Lighting Up The Scoreboard With Double Digits
The Spartans have scored double-digits in four of the 13 games, including 10 against Presbyterian over the weekend, finishing with a total of 19 runs in the three games of the First Pitch Invitational. MSU also scored 14 and 19 runs at Abilene Christian. Michigan State racked up 28 runs in the three-game series at UNC-Greensboro, averaging 9.3 runs per game, boosted by the 22 runs in the 22-16 win over UNCG on Feb. 25.
The Scoop On Troop
MSU sophomore left-hander Alex Troop leads the Big Ten in ERA at 1.96, allowing just five earned runs in 23.0 IP. Troop also has an 8.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio with 17 strikeouts and just two walks, ranking first in the B1G and 51st in the NCAA. With four starts, Troop is also tied for the league-lead and 22nd in the NCAA, including joined by junior teammate Ethan Landon, who also has four starts.
MSU sophomore lefty Alex Troop pitched a complete game on March 10 at South Carolina for his first career complete game. Troop leads the B1G and is tied for the second-most in the country, as Devin Hemmierich of Norfolk State, John King of Houston and Ian Miller of Harvard all have two complete games so far this season.
Now Pitching For The Spartans...
Michigan State has utilized 14 different pitchers, with 11 of them with three appearances or more, led by senior reliever Walter Borkovich with eight appearances. The eight appearances rank Borkovich tied for second in the Big Ten and 86th in NCAA. Junior right-hander Jake Lowery has made six appearance, good for a tie for 12th in the B1G.
Sophomore Alex Troop is hitting .400 (6-for-15), which would rank fourth in the B1G, but he doesn’t have enough at bats. Troop also has one HR, one double and two RBI.
9-1 For Second-Straight Season Under Boss
Michigan State opened the season 9-1 for the second-straight year and tied for the second-best start to a season through 10 games. In addition to this season and last year, MSU was also 9-1 through 10 games in 1971, while the best mark in school history was the 1946 squad that went undefeated through its first 10 games.
Michigan State’s 2,300th win came on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, becoming just the fifth team in the Big Ten Conference and the 32nd team in the country with 2,300 wins. Here’s a closer look of MSU’s milestone wins:
1st Win May 19, 1884
100th Win May 26, 1905
500th Win April 25, 1945
1,000th Win May 13, 1972
1,500th Win April 27, 1991
2,000th Win April 6, 2010
2,300th Win Feb. 17, 2017
MSU has lugged the lumber to the plate, hitting .312 so far this season, leading the B1G and ranking 30th in the NCAA.
Individually, MSU has two players in the top 15 in the B1G in average, with sophomore third baseman Marty Bechina seventh at .380, followed by senior second baseman Dan Durkin tied for 14th at .345. Iowa and Penn State are the only other teams with more than one in the top 15 with three Iowa players and two Penn State players.
Michigan State currently is third in the Big Ten and 15th in the NCAA in stolen bases with 30, also ranking second in the conference and 15th in the country with 2.31 stolen bases per game.
Individually, all three of MSU’s outfielders ranked in the top 10 of the conference in stolen bases, as junior outfielder Brandon Hughes leads the league and ranks third in the nation with 10, while sophomore outfielder Dan Chmielewski is tied for sixth with six swipes and freshman outfielder Danny Gleaves is tied for 10th with five stolen bases.
Big Bat Bechina
Sophomore third baseman Marty Bechina has continued his hot start to the season, now batting .380 (19-for-50) on the season, ranking seventh in the Big Ten. He has tallied 11 RBI and four home runs. The four homers is tied for second in the Big Ten and tied for 62nd in the NCAA. Bechina’s four home runs has already exceeded last year’s total of two round-trippers.
Zack Smacking It
Junior first baseman Zack McGuire is fourth on the team with a .340 average (18-for-53) with 13 RBI and a team-leading seven doubles. The seven two-baggers not only leads the team but is second in the conference and is 40th in the NCAA.
Gleaves Leaves Immediate Mark
Freshman outfielder Danny Gleaves had a breakout debut in a Spartan uniform to the tune of .524 (11-for-21) with five RBI, knocking two doubles as part of this 11 hits in the opening weekend. Gleaves also had three putouts in left field in his first MSU action.
On the season, Gleaves is now hitting .339 (21-for-62) with 12 RBI, five doubles and one home run. Gleaves ranks second in the B1G and 63rd in the NCAA with 1.62 hits per game.
Gleaves currently also tops the team and the B1G and ranks 22nd in the NCAA in runs per game with 1.31. He also ranks second in the B1G in runs scored with 17.
Team captain, senior second baseman Dan Durkin has a .345 average (19-of-55) and ranks tied for 14th in the B1G in average. Durkin also tops the team and ranks tied for third in B1G in RBI with 15 RBI, as well as ranking third in the league and 90th in the nation in RBI per game with 1.15. The captain is second on both the team and in the B1G with six doubles, along with tied for second on the team with two home runs and tied for second with 19 hits, while also swiping three stolen bases.
McCauley-ing It Over
Sophomore reliever Riley McCauley picked up his first career save on Feb. 18 in MSU’s 9-7 win at Abilene Christian. McCauley also collected a pair of saves in as many outings at UNC-Greensboro, in the 5-4 win on Feb. 24 and the 22-16 victory on Feb. 25. McCauley’s four saves are second in the B1G and rank 16th in the NCAA.
The Camels are 7-10 after losing to Rider, 12-7, on Wednesday against Rider, as Campbell led 7-4 after six innings before Rider scored two in the seventh, five in the eighth and one in the ninth. Campbell won the first game of the two-day series, 7-5, on Tuesday. Redshirt-freshman Matthew Barefoot is hitting .431, also topping the team with 28 hits, 10 doubles, three home runs and 17 RBI. Junior outfielder/first baseman Jeff Hahs adds a .405 average with 11 RBI. Senior utility player Drew Butler is third on the team hitting .351 and has scored a team-leading 23 runs as well as swiping a team-best 17 bases. Junior right-hander Allan Winans is Friday’s probable starter, posting a 2-1 record with a 4.26 ERA with nine strikeouts and six walks in three appearances. Head coach Justin Haire is in his third season at the leash of the Camels’ program, posting a 65-62 ledger.
The Spiders are 6-9 on the season, having their game against Bryant scheduled for Tuesday cancelled and Thursday’s game vs. Coppin State postponed. In its last outing, Richmond took two of three in the weekend series, winning Friday’s opener, 7-1, then needing 10 innings to win 5-2 on Saturday before dropping Sunday’s finale, 8-5, that snapped RU’s three-game win streak. Junior shortstop Vinny Capra leads the Spiders at the plate with a .396 average with a team-lead tying 21 hits. Junior infielder/outfielder Daniel Brumbaugh adds a .344 average and is tied with Capra for the team-best 21 hits, while tallying a team-leading 11 RBI to go with team bests seven doubles and three triples. Both Capra and Brumbaugh have one home run each for the Spiders’ only two home runs this season. Junior lefty Jacob Lamb is slated to start on the mound on Saturday, and he has a 1-1 record with a 3.27 ERA with 12 strikeouts and 13 walks in four appearances. Richmond head coach Tracy Woodson is in his fourth year at the helm of the Spiders’ program, posting an even 86-86-1 record. Woodson is in his 11th year overall as a head coach, posting a 273-296-1 ledger.
The Bears bring a 4-2 record into the weekend. In its last action, Cornell took two of three in a weekend series at George Mason on March 10-12. The Bears won the series opener, 7-3, on Friday, then lost Saturday’s contest, 11-4. Cornell bounced back to take the rubber match, 9-3, on Sunday. Junior outfielder Dale Wickham has a whopping .519 average on a team-best 14 hits with six doubles and five RBI, and is one of three Bears hitting .400 or better. Junior infielder Trey Baur is hitting .462 with five RBI, while junior infielder Ryan Krainz is hitting .400. Senior first baseman Cole Rutherford has Cornell’s lone home run. Junior right-hander Paul Balestrieri is Sunday’s probable starter, posting a 2-0 mark with a 0.75 ERA so far this season. Dan Pepicelli is in his second season guiding Cornell baseball, posting a 14-24 mark.
All-Time Series: Campbell leads, 3-2 / Away: 2-2 / Neutral: Campbell leads, 1-0 / Streak: CU W3
First Met: March 7, 1998 - Buies Creek, N.C. - MSU W, 6-2
Last Meeting: March 8, 2005 - Jacksonville, Fla. - CU W, 8-7
All-Time Series: Tied 1-0-1 / Away 1-0-0 / Neutral 0-0 / Streak: MSU unbeaten in two meetings
First Met: April 1, 1950 - Richmond, Va. - MSU W, 7-2
Last Meeting: March 29, 1963 - Richmond, Va. - Tied, 6-6
All-Time Series: MSU leads, 4-1 / Away 1-0 / Neutral 3-1 / Streak: MSU W1
First Met: May 14, 1936 - Ithaca, N.Y. - MSU W, 7-2
Last Meeting: March 23, 1973 - Coral Gables, Fla. - MSU W, 5-4
The Spartans will return home to East Lansing Sunday night, and prepare for their 2017 home opener on Wednesday, March 22 against in-state foe Central Michigan in a 3:05 p.m. start at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field.
Last Weekend Recap
After going 3-0 in the opening weekend of its Spring Break trip, MSU suffered its first loss of the trip with a 9-2 loss to No. 9 Clemson on March 8 in Greenville, South Carolina, at Fluor Field, home of the Greenville Drive. The Spartans then played at No. 10 South Carolina in a three-game weekend series, opening with a 3-2 loss on Friday night and a 5-2 defeat on Saturday before Sunday’s game was cancelled due to inclement weather. In Friday’s 3-2 loss, sophomore lefty Alex Troop fired four-and-one-third innings of no-hit baseball and limited No. 10 South Carolina to just three hits in a complete game effort, but the Spartans’ upset bit fell short, 3-2. The Spartans had nine hits in Friday’s ballgame, out-hitting the Gamecocks, 9-3, but just couldn’t capitalize as MSU left eight runners on base. USC pitcher Clarke Schmidt struck out a career-high 12 in 7.1 innings. In Saturday’s 5-2 loss, Troop had the highlights at the plate Saturday, going 2-for-2 with a solo home run in the second inning. USC score two runs in the home half of the first and three more in the fifth.
Last Time Out Recap
Michigan State baseball battled No. 10 South Carolina tough before falling, 5-2, Saturday evening. The loss evens MSU’s Spring Break mark at 3-3 while sliding its overall record to 9-4. South Carolina improved to 11-5, winning its fourth in a row. Junior right-handed starting pitcher Ethan Landon was dealt the loss. South Carolina’s Wil Crowe got the win, improving to 3-0 on the season, striking out nine while limiting the Spartans to three hits in 6.2 innings before giving way to Josh Reagan who went the final 2.1 innings and only allowed two hits. Senior pitcher Joe Mockbee came on in the second and pitched 2.2 innings, before giving way to junior Jake Lowery for four batters, then freshman Mitchell Tyranski got a big match-up out and senior Walter Borkovich went the final 3.1 innings, only yielding two hits while striking out three. After providing the highlights on the mound last night, pitching a complete game, Troop had the highlights at the plate Saturday, going 2-for-2 with a solo home run in the second. Senior catcher Matt Byars was 1-for-3 with a double, while senior second baseman Dan Durkin was 1-for-4 and scored the Spartans’ other run. Sophomore right fielder Dan Chmielewski had MSU’s other hit as part of a 1-for-4 outing. MSU was out-hit, 9-5, Saturday, after having a 9-3 advantage in the hits category Friday night.
Durkin Earns Big Ten Conference Player of the Week Plaudits
Michigan State baseball’s Dan Durkin was named the Big Ten Conference Baseball Player of the Week, announced by the conference office on Monday, Feb. 20.
A senior second baseman from Tinley Park, Illinois, Durkin helped the Spartans to a 4-0 mark with a four-game series sweep at Abilene Christian.
The B1G Player of the Week is Durkin’s first weekly conference honor of his career. He is the first Spartan to earn B1G Player of the Week accolades since Zack McGuire earned the weekly plaudits last season on May 2, 2016. It also marks the second year in a row that MSU has earned a league honor in the opening weekend, as Marty Bechina earned Freshman of the Week honors last season in the first weekend.
Durkin had a smashing debut as the Spartans’ captain, going 9-for-18, hitting .500, with 11 RBI with four extra-base hits, and scoring six runs in the four-game series. With the 11 RBI and six runs scored, Durkin accounted for 33.3 percent of MSU’s scoring as Michigan State plated 51 runs with 63 hits on the weekend, including 22 extra-base hits.
He opened by going 3-for-6 in season-opener, driving in two on a single in the sixth and later scored as part of MSU’s six-run inning to break open a 1-1 game and make it a 6-1 lead. In the eighth, laced a double and later came around to score insurance run.
Durkin hit 2-for-3 with two RBI in the first game of the doubleheader, driving in both runs on a single in the fourth for MSU’s first two of three runs in the frame as they turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead, a lead they never relinquished. In the nightcap, he went 3-for-5 with five RBI and two runs scored. Durkin drove in MSU’s first run of the night with a double and scored the second run, both in the first inning. In the second inning, Durkin blasted a three-run home run to right as MSU broke open a 4-1 lead with five runs. In the fifth, he had a sac fly to center for an RBI, his fifth of the day.
Sunday’s series finale saw Durkin go 1-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. He started his day by drawing a walk in the first inning, later coming around to score as part of MSU’s four-run first inning. In the fifth, he drew another walk and scored again, before belting a two-run double in the ninth as the Spartans blew the game open with a six runs, turning an 8-5 close game into a 14-5 rout.
Standout Debuts In Green & White
Gleaves wasn’t the only Spartan newcomer to have a standout debut, as freshman outfielder Bryce Kelley blasted an RBI triple in his first collegiate at bat. On the mound, freshman right-handed reliever Sam Benschoter threw two scoreless innings of work, chalking up his first two strikeouts as a collegiate pitcher. Redshirt-sophomore Nathan Witt made his debut on the mound after missing the first two seasons due to injury, and made two appearances on the weekend with an inning and a third worth of work without allowing any hits. Freshman righty Mike Mokma threw one complete inning without a hit and right-handed starter Mason Erla was MSU’s starter on Feb. 19, spraying eight hits in four innings of work.
MSU was tabbed fifth in the 2017 Big Ten Preseason Poll released by the conference office on Wednesday, Feb. 15. The league’s coaches voted on the top six teams and also selected three student-athletes from their own squads to a Preseason Honors list. MSU’s Preseason Honorees included senior catcher Matt Byars, junior outfielder Brandon Hughes and sophomore pitcher/first baseman/outfielder Alex Troop.
Byars was selected in the 24th round and No. 723 overall by the Minnesota Twins in the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft, but opted to return to Michigan State for his senior season. Behind the plate defensively, Byars threw out 12 potential base stealers and picked off two more. At the plate offensively, Byars hit .284 with 26 RBI with 16 doubles, which tied for 11th in the league, adding two triples and four home runs, and was a perfect 3-for-3 swiping bases. He appeared in 55 of the 56 games last season.
Hughes is one of two returning All-Big Ten honorees, as the center fielder earned third team accolades last season. He is one of three returning Spartans to hit over .300 as he hit .303 with 31 RBI, 11 doubles and two round-trippers. Hughes also led the team and was 11th in the Big Ten with 17 stolen bases.
Troop had a stellar first 12 games of the season a year ago before suffering a season-ending injury. At the plate he hit .372 with 13 RBI (1.1 pg), six doubles and one home run, to go with two stolen bases. Troop is also a weapon on the mound for the Spartans. Last season the southpaw posted a 3-0 mark with a 1.64 ERA with 14 strikeouts in just four appearances with 11.0 IP (11.5 strikeouts per nine innings) before his injury.
Returning All-Big Ten Honorees
Infielder Dan Durkin played in all 56 games last season as a junior and hit .324 with 32 RBIs and a .402 on-base percentage to earn First Team All-Big Ten honors. Brandon Hughes was a member of the Third Team, hitting .303 with 31 RBI, 11 doubles and two round-trippers. Hughes also led the team and was 11th in the Big Ten with 17 stolen bases. Marty Bechina started in all but one game during his first season in the Green and White and was selected to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
Spartan Roster Breakdown
Michigan State’s roster consists of seven seniors, 10 juniors, seven sophomores and 11 freshmen. The senior class includes Preseason B1G Honoree catcher Matt Byars, who was drafted in the MLB Draft last season (Minnesota, 24th round), but opted to return to Michigan State, as well as infielder Dan Durkin, who was named team captain. Senior relief pitchers Joe Mockbee and Walter Borkovich will anchor the Spartans’ bullpen.
Highlighting the juniors is starting pitchers Ethan Landon and Andrew Gonzalez, who will make up two-thirds of MSU’s weekend rotation on the mound. Another junior standout is outfielder Brandon Hughes, who is a Preseason B1G Honoree.
The sophomore group includes Preseason B1G Honoree P/1B/OF Alex Troop, who played in only 12 games last season before a season-ending injury. It also includes Marty Bechina, who split time between outfield and infield last season, but will be the Spartans’ starter at third base, and was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team last season.
Michigan State opens the season with its first 17 games away from home, including 11 true road games to go with six neutral games.
MSU returns six starters and three starting pitchers from last season’s squad that advanced to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament, posting a 36-20 overall record and was 13-11 in Big Ten action.
Immediate Impact In Big Ten
In Ethan Landon’s first season at MSU, the right-hander picked up six wins in Big Ten play as a redshirt sophomore, which is the most by any pitcher in school history.
Notes From 2016
Michigan State wrapped up the 2016 season with a 36-20 overall record and 13-11 mark in Big Ten play to finish tied for sixth before advancing to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament. The 36 wins tied the fourth most victories in school history with the 1971, 1992 and 2011 clubs.
• MSU got off to a hot start and its 14-1 record was the best start in school history through 15 games.
• Michigan State pitchers combined for a school record 466 strikeouts - 57 more than the 2015 club, which previously held the record.
• All season long, the Spartans’ ERA ranked among the top five in the country and finished at a 2.75 mark, that is the fifth lowest ever by an MSU pitching staff.