Baseball To Meet Notre Dame This Weekend
Spartans and Irish will play three times in South Bend.
March 19, 2010
Saturday, March 20 12:00 p.m.
Jr. RHP A.J. Achter (1-0, 2.49) vs. So. LHP Steve Sabatino (1-1, 3.32)
Saturday, March 20 3:30 p.m.
Jr. RHP Kurt Wunderlich (2-1, 3.60) vs. Jr. RHP Brian Durpa (2-1, 4.91)
Sunday, March 21 1 p.m.
So. RHP Tony Bucciferro (1-2, 6.75) vs. Sr. RHP Eric Maust (0-0, 5.19)
Pitching matchups probable and subject to change
Best Start Since 2002
At 9-4 and winners of four of their last five and five of their last seven games, the Spartans are off to their best start since the 2002 season when they went 11-2 to start the year. As a team, the Spartans have hit .311, while holding opponents to a conference best .273. Another reason for MSU's early season success has been its defense as it has committed just eight errors to its opponents total of 35.
MSU Meets Notre Dame For Three
Michigan State will be in South Bend, Ind., for a three-game set with Notre Dame, beginning with a doubleheader on Saturday at noon. Notre Dame enters the series at 7-8 on the year while MSU is 9-4. Friday's first game of the three-game set will be first meeting between the schools since 1998 - a game the Spartans won, 4-1. The Spartans lead the all-time series, 72-53.
Spartans Go 4-2 on Shortened Spring Trip
Despite having two games cancelled due to weather, th Spartans had a successfull spring trip by going 4-2. The Spartans defeated Southeast Missiouri State, twice, and ended the trip with consecutive wins over Samford and Jacksonville State. The Spartans put up at least seven runs in each of their four victories and outscored their opponents by an average of seven runs in all four wins.
Solid All Around
The major reason for the Spartans' strong start has been their play in all facets of the game. At the plate, MSU's .311 batting average (third), .442 slugging percentage (second) and .407 on-base percentage (second) all rank in the top three in the conference. The Spartan pitching staff is holding opponents to a conference-low .273 batting average. Defensively, the Spartans have committed just eight errors, four fewer than the next closest team in the Big Ten. Their .984 fielding percentage is tops in the league.
Felt Leadinig by Example
With a Big Ten-leading 19 RBIs, senior outfielder Bo Felt has been one of the Spartans' clutch hitters and major offensive forces this season. His .364 batting average is tied for tops on the team and he has had a hit in all but three games this season.
Achter Paces Pitching Staff
Junior pitcher A.J. Achter has settled into the role of No. 1 starter quite well so far this season. Through four starts, the righty leads the Spartan starters with an ERA of 2.49, which is ninth-best in the Big Ten. His 23 strikeouts are currently third best in the league.
Despite solid performances in his first three starts, it took Achter until his fourth game of the year to get his first win. Achter got plenty of run support as he went seven complete innings in the Spartans' 17-2 romp over Jacksonville State on March 11.