Baseball Opens Home Slate Against Oakland on Friday
Spartans host OU at 3:05 p.m. on Friday at McLane Baseball Stadium.
March 25, 2010
Oakland (3-9) vs. Michigan State (12-4)
McLane Baseball Stadium East Lansing, Mich.
Gametracker Available For All Games at MSUSpartans.com
Friday, March 26 3:05 p.m.
So. RHP Kyle Teague (1-2, 5.75) vs. Jr. RHP A.J. Achter (2-0, 1.83)
Sunday, March 28 1:05 p.m.
TBA vs. Fr. RHP Andrew Waszak (1-0, 7.36)
Pitching matchups probable and subject to change
Spartans Ride Six-Game Winning Streak Into Weekend Series
At 12-4 and winners of their last six games, the Spartans are off to their best start since 2002 when they began the season 14-2. Over the six-game stretch, the Spartans have outscored their opponents, 56-16, as the pitching staff has posted an ERA of just 2.33.
MSU Opens Home Schedule With Oakland
The Spartans will open their 2010 home schedule this weekend with a four-game series against Oakland. MSU also opened at home with Oakland last season, sweeping the Golden Grizzlies in a three-game set at Cooley Stadium (formerly Oldsmobile Park). MSU is 14-1 all-time against OU.
Spartans Doing With Offense...
The Spartans have outscored their opponents by a count of 132-90 and 56-16 over their six-game winning streak. As a team, MSU is hitting .301, sixth-best in the Big Ten, and their .401 on-base percentage is second-best in the league. The Spartans currently have five starters hitting .300 or better.
The MSU pitching staff is holding opponents to a Big Ten-best .261 batting average. The Spartans' team ERA of 5.16 is fourth-best in the league and they post a staff strikeout-to-walk ratio or nearly 2-to-1.
Defensively, the Spartans are the second-best team in the nation with a league-high fielding percentage of .985. More impressively, the Spartans have committed a Big Ten-low nine errors this season - eight less than the next closest team.
Sweeps Are Nice
Michigan State outscored Notre Dame, 23-4, in their three-game sweep of the Irish last weekend. MSU got outstanding pitching all weekend, including two complete-game shutouts from starters A.J. Achter and Tony Bucciferro. Defensively, the Spartans committed just one error in the series.
The Spartans' two shutouts in last weekend's three-game set marked the first time they blanked an opponent twice in a series since 2002. MSU last accomplished the feat against Penn State when they shutout the Nittany Lions 16-0 and 14-0 in a doubleheader on May 18, 2002 in East Lansing.
Achter Named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week
A.J. Achter became the second Spartan to earn Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honors this season after garnering the honor Monday. Last weekend, Achter threw his first-career complete game shutout in a 13-0 win over Notre Dame in game one of a doubleheader on Saturday. The righty struck out a career-high nine batters while scattering seven hits and allowing just three walks in the win.
Achter, who is 2-0, has settled into the role of No. 1 starter quite well so far this season. Through five starts, the righty has an ERA of 1.83, which is second-best in the Big Ten. His 32 strikeouts are also second-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 of the year. Achter got plenty of run support as he went seven complete innings in the Spartans' 17-2 romp over Jacksonville State on March 11 to get his first win.
Busy on the Bases
With 40 stolen bases, the Spartans not only lead the Big Ten but rank 12th in the nation with an average of 2.5 base swipes per game. Jeff Holm and Brandon Eckerle have been the most active on the base paths, as each is perfect in stolen-base attempts. Holm is a perfect 12-for-12, which leads the conference, while Eckerle is 11-for-11, which is second best in the conference.
Spartan Bats Off to Much Better Start
The Michigan State offense is off to a far better start this season than in 2009. As a team, MSU is currently hitting .301, compared to last season when it was hitting .228 through 16 games. The Spartans enter the weekend with five starters (Jeff Holm, Brandon Eckerle, Eli Boike, Jonathan Roof and Ryan Jones) hitting .300 or better.
Holm and Eckerle Getting On Base
Juniors Jeff Holm and Brandon Eckerle each rank in the top 10 in the conference in on-base percentage. Holm enters the weekend with a .541 on-base percentage, which is third-best in the Big Ten, while Eckerle's .481 mark ranks 10th. Holm has drawn a league-leading 17 walks.
In his last two starts, Tony Bucciferro has pitched consecutive complete-game shutouts. Against Southeast Missouri, Bucciferro stuck out seven and walked one while giving up nine hits. Last weekend at Notre Dame, the sophomore righty also went the distance, surrendering just four hits while fanning five and walking just one. In between the two starts, Bucciferro threw 1.2 innings in a win at Eastern Michigan where he struck out three and allowed just one hit.
In his last two appearances, he has allowed just four hits, stuck out eight and walked only one batter in 10.2 innings.
College Baseball Foundation Recognizes Achter, Bucciferro
After each throwing complete-game shutouts last weekend against Notre Dame, A.J. Achter and Tony Bucciferro were both named to the College Baseball Foundation's Weekly National All-Star Lineup.