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Spartans Open Conference Play at Ohio State

Andrew Waszak threw his first complete game and had a career-high 10 strikeouts in his last outing.

March 28, 2013

Games 21-23: Michigan State (13-7, 0-0) vs. Ohio State (15-6, 3-0)
 Dates Friday, March 29 - Sunday, March 31
 Location Columbus, Ohio | Bill Davis Stadium (4,450)
 Live Stream Big Ten Digital Network on Spartan All-Access
 Statistics Michigan State | Ohio State
 Notes Michigan State | Ohio State
 Social Media Updates @statebaseball | Facebook

Game 1
 Date | Time Friday, March 29 | 6:35 p.m. ET
 Pitching Matchup MSU: Sr. RHP Andrew Waszak (3-1, 1.56 ERA) vs.
OSU: Jr. RHP Jason Long (4-1, 2.13 ERA)

Game 2
 Date | Time Saturday, March 30 | 3:05 p.m. ET
 Pitching Matchup MSU: Jr. RHP David Garner (4-0, 3.30 ERA) vs.
OSU: R-Sr. RHP Brad Goldberg (3-0, 1.56 ERA)

Game 3
 Date | Time Sunday, March 31 | 1:05 p.m. ET
 Pitching Matchup MSU: So. RHP Mick VanVossen (2-1, 3.34 ERA) vs.
OSU: Sr. LHP Brian King (4-2, 2.43 ERA)

Riding a seven-game win streak, Michigan State baseball opens Big Ten play this weekend, traveling to Ohio State for a three-game set (March 29-31). The Spartans and Buckeyes will being the series on Friday at 6:35 p.m.

MSU is coming off a four-game sweep against Oakland and Chase Rihtarchilk threw a no-hitter in the second game of the doubleheader on Saturday, a first for the Spartans since 2009. Michigan State won both games on Saturday in walk-off fashion, the first off a solo homer to rightfield by Ryan Krill and the second on an RBI single from Kevin Goergen.

The Buckeyes began conference play last weekend, sweeping Purdue in West Lafayette and are 15-6 on the season. Michigan State trails the series record against Ohio State, 87-132-1, but topped the Buckeyes in its last meeting in the Big Ten Tournament, 6-2.

MSU senior right-hander Andrew Waszak will get the call for the Spartans on Friday in the series opener. Waszak threw a career-high 10 strikeouts in seven innings against Oakland, earning his third win of the season. He is tied for second in the Big Ten in strikeouts (33), sixth in the conference with a 1.56 ERA, fifth in opponent batting average (.194) and fifth in innings pitched (40.1).

Junior right-hander David Garner (4-0) gets the nod on Saturday. Garner allowed one run on four hits in a no-decision against Oakland. He is also tied for second in the Big Ten in strikeouts (33), tied for second in wins (4), and is tied for seventh in innings pitched (38.2).

On Sunday, sophomore RHP Mick VanVossen will get the start, he didn't allow a run and allowed just four hits in seven innings against the Golden Grizzlies last weekend. He is 2-1 on the season with a 3.34 ERA.

Live stats, radio broadcast and live stream of all three games against Ohio State will be available at

Ohio State (15-6, 3-0)
• Swept Purdue last weekend to open Big Ten play
• Had two midweek contests cancelled due to inclement weather this week
Kirby Pellant was named Big Ten Player of the Week after going 6-for-9 with a double, a home run, seven RBI and two runs scored as the Buckeyes swept Purdue over the weekend.
Jacob Bosiokovic was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on March 11.
Pellant leads the team with a .372 average.
Patrick Porter paces the team in RBIs with 17.
• Each weekend starter has an ERA under 3.00.
Trace Dempsey leads the Big Ten in saves with seven.

Series History vs. Ohio State
MSU trails, 87-132-1
Last meeting: MSU 6, OSU 2 (May 25, 2012)* Big Ten Tournament

On sweeping Oakland at Eastern Michigan...
"Good weekend for us. Thanks to Eastern Michigan and their athletic department for allowing us to play at their place. The turf infield allowed for us to play four games this past weekend, which is pretty valuable for us so that we didn't have to take two weeks off before opening Big Ten play. We played well and pitched it very well all weekend long. Defensively, we kind of came and went a little bit, but for the majority of the series I thought we played well defensively. Offensively, we really struggled until Sunday, where we showed some signs of breaking out of it. Friday was not great and Saturday was abysmal to be honest with you. Credit Oakland's arms for that; they have three arms that are pretty good and a closer with a good arm as well. Those guys threw great and we didn't swing it very well and so we are going to have to make some adjustments this coming week.

"We travel down to Ohio State for our Big Ten opener this coming weekend. Ohio State is 3-0 and played very well at Purdue last weekend so we will have our work cut out for us. The highlight of the weekend is obviously the no-hitter by Chase Rihtarchik in a 3-2 win. Two unearned runs, but Chase is really throwing well. It was his second start of the year, with his first coming at Tennessee Tech and he threw very well there as well. He is a kid that started the Big Ten Championship for us a couple of years ago so he has seen some things and been in some situations. He is really starting to come into his own, starting to blossom into the arm the we thought he could be. I was very happy for him that we were able to get that no hitter. He was done after the ninth having thrown close to 130 pitches. We weren't going to bring him back out in the 10th, so thankfully we were able to get a walk-off hit in the ninth."

On field conditions for this upcoming weekend...
"They have a turf field and their assistant coach texted me a picture of the field this morning with I don't know how many inches of snow on it. It is supposed to warm up down there and I know they will do their best to get the snow off of the field, so I wouldn't be concerned about not playing down there this weekend, I think we will be fine."

On possibility of switching to a turf field...
"There are a lot of pros and cons to both. I think I would prefer to play on a natural surface, but I guess maybe I am a purist in that regard. This year has been kind of an anomaly. We have never really had a problem opening up at home since I have been here with the exception of this year. While turf certainly has its benefits, to be able to open up a week or two early, that is an awful lot of money to spend on something that may or may not happen. I prefer grass and I think it is more a pure form of baseball personally."

On what made the no-hitter so special...
"He threw strikes when he needed to. He kind of labored through the first couple of innings, he was getting deep into counts and I believe walked two guys and hit one in between the fourth and the fifth innings, so we were concerned that he was going to start to get a little bit loose in the strike zone and we may have to make a move. But, he really came back and had a quick sixth inning and settled back into it. He threw strikes when he need to throw strikes and threw three pitches for strikes. Towards the end of the ball game he seemed to be getting better. He didn't strike many guys out, but he was able to locate within the strike zone when he needed to."

On starting Big Ten play...
"I'm really excited to start the Big Ten season. I think having the bye week last weekend was good for us and it was good to get some games up in the North here, although it seems like everywhere we have been has felt like the North this year, even on our spring trip. The original intent when we put the schedule together was to hopefully get some home games in and get ready for the weather and things like that. The guys are chomping at the bit and everybody is excited. The atmosphere is better in the Big Ten, the excitement is there, and you can kind of feel it build all week long. All but three of us played Big Ten series last weekend, so now it is our turn to get rolling this weekend."

On the role of Chase Rihtarchik...
"Really, we have kind of penciled him into our midweek starter role at the beginning of the year. His first appearance of the year was in Greenville, South Carolina and had a really shaky first inning and then settled back into it. Again, he is a kid who has been around for a while and has redshirted. He has gotten a lot of experience and did start the 2011 Big Ten Championship game. We have a lot of young talented guys on our roster, but maybe not guys with quite that much experience, so Chase was that guy. He is a tall and lanky kid with a good arm and we were hoping he would be able to settle into that role. Certainly, you don't expect a no-hitter out of a kid, but at the same time, his work ethic has gotten 200 percent better since his freshman year.

"He understands the game a lot more and understands what he needs to do in order to get guys out and it all came together for him on Saturday. It is an important role for us, and we learned that last year with the importance of those midweek games that got us into the NCAA tournament. I think he understands that he is not one of the throw away guys that we are running out there to see what happens. I think he understands the importance of that role and has worked towards that in the offseason. He has been throwing well so far this year, so hopefully that continues."

Chase Rihtarchik threw a complete game no-hitter against Oakland, leading the Spartans past the Golden Grizzlies, 3-2 on Saturday, March 23. It marked MSU's first no-hitter since Nolan Moody accomplished the feat against Northwestern in 2009. Rihtarchik faced 31 batters, allowed just three walks, had three strikeouts and both of Oakland's runs were unearned.

"He was able to overcome a few mistakes that we made defensively, allowing two unearned runs," head coach Jake Boss said after the no-hitter. "But he kept throwing strikes and hung in there. I am really happy for him and proud of him. He has worked very hard over the last couple years and he is starting to show some fruits of that labor."

The Spartans, winners of seven straight, won both games of a doubleheader against Oakland on Saturday in walk-off fashion, 2-1 in game one and 3-2 in game two. Ryan Krill led off the 10th inning with a solo homer to right field in game one, clinching the win. In game two, Anthony Cheky singled in the bottom of the ninth and stole second, putting himself in scoring position. Goergen answered the bell for the Spartans with a single through the right side, giving MSU the 3-2 win.

It's the second straight season that the Spartans will open the conference season with the Buckeyes. Last year, Michigan State took two of three from Ohio State, earning its first series win over OSU since 2007. The Spartans dropped the first game, 1-0 but went on to win the second, 2-1, and third, 10-5, to seal the series victory.

Michigan State's midweek contest scheduled for Wednesday, March 27 against Central Michigan was cancelled due to recent inclement weather. A make-up date has been scheduled and the game will be played on Tuesday, April 2 at McLane Stadium at 3:05 p.m. The game against Eastern Michigan, originally scheduled on that date, has been moved to Wednesday, April 3 at 6:05 p.m.

Michigan State baseball defeated Santa Clara in both games of the doubleheader on Saturday, March 16 to complete the weekend sweep, the first of the season for MSU. Strong performances on the mound and a combined 35 hits in the two games sealed the sweep for the Spartans. MSU had a season-high 19 hits in game one; Cam Gibson, Ryan Krill and Blaise Salter each came through with four-hit games for the Spartans. Junior David Garner allowed three runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings on the mound and also added six strikeouts, earning his fourth win of the season and sophomore Mick VanVossen threw seven innings and allowed just three hits, one run and had a strikeout in his first win of the season in game two.

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 against 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 both batting average and RBIs 20 games into the season. Keur is hitting a team-high .338, and has 14 RBIs. He is also second on the team in slugging percentage (.446) and on-base percentage (.429). He is batting .342 in his last 10 games and is hitting .368 with runners in scoring position.

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."



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