|MICHIGAN STATE (15-9, 3-3 B1G) at EASTERN MICHIGAN (9-18, 2-1 MAC)|
|Date, Time||Tuesday, April 4 | 6 p.m. ET|
|Location||Oestrike Stadium | Ypsilanti, Mich.|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Eastern Michigan|
|Probable Pitching Matchup||MSU: RHP #20 Mike Mokma (FR) (0-0, 3.18 ERA) vs. EMU: RHP #36 Justin McMurtrey (JR) (2-1, 5.79 ERA)|
|Coverage||Live Stats | Listen Live - Spartan Sports Network|
Michigan State baseball takes a break from Big Ten Conference action this week with four non-conference games, opening with a short road trip to Ypsilanti, Michigan to take on Eastern Michigan on Tuesday, April 4, in MSU’s third-straight midweek game against an in-state foe. First pitch from EMU’s Oestrike Stadium is slated for 6 p.m.
• Fans can follow Tuesday’s game through “Live Stats” and “Listen Live” links found at MSUSpartans.com. The in-state clash between the Spartans and Eagles will be carried on the Spartan Sports Network live audio stream. The broadcast will be available exclusively at SpartanSportsNetwork.com and on the network’s 24/7 app for mobile devices (available on iTunes and Google Play). Broadcast veteran Scott Moore calls the action alongside Jake Boss Sr. in select games.
One Degree Of Jake Boss, Jr.
MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr., was head coach at Eastern Michigan in 2008 before becoming the Spartans head coach. Boss was also an assistant coach at EMU from 1997-2004. Eastern Michigan head coach Mark Van Ameyde was a pitching coach under Jake Boss for six seasons at MSU (2009-14). Van Ameyde was an assistant on the Spartan staff that won the 2011 Big Ten Championship, as the Spartans posted a 194-137 record with Van Ameyde on staff.
Battle Of The Roofs
MSU student assistant coach Jonathan Roof is in his first season on the Spartan staff and was a Spartan alum (2008-10). Roof’s brother, Eric, is in his third season as an assistant coach at Eastern Michigan, after serving as a volunteer assistant under Coach Boss for two seasons (2013-14), and was a three-year letterwinner at Michigan State (2007-09). Shawn Roof is the oldest of the brothers and played at Illinois and also played in the minors for six seasons, then started coaching career with Baltimore Orioles in minors and then was volunteer at Indiana, he is now manager for short season with Diamondbacks affiliate. Their father, Gene Roof, played for the St. Louis Cardinals and Montreal Expos in the 1980s, and is currently a coach in the Detroit Tigers organization as the outfield/baserunning coordinator.
Great Lakes State Battle
After hosting an in-state foe in the previous two midweek games, this is Michigan State’s first road game in the state of Michigan, as the Spartans’ previous 16 games away from home were out of the state. MSU opened the season with 16 games away from home, before the Spartans hosted their 2017 home opener on March 21, welcoming in-state foe Central Michigan to McLane Stadium at Kobs Field and the Spartans won 11-2. The March 21 home opener date was the Spartans’ earliest home opener since 2009 and the earliest ever at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field. It also marked the third-straight season that MSU hosted CMU in the Spartans’ home opener.
About The Spartans
Michigan State is 15-9 on the season after losing three hard-fought Big Ten Conference games to Minnesota. MSU dropped a pair of one-run losses in Saturday’s doubleheader, 3-2 in the opener and 4-3 in the second game, then lost, 9-4, in Sunday’s series finale.
About The Eagles
Eastern Michigan is 9-18 overall after going 3-1 four games in Chicago over the weekend, beating Chicago State, 10-6 on Friday. EMU then lost to Butler, 6-2, on Saturday before bouncing back to beat Butler, 4-0, on Sunday, both at Chicago State’s field, then beat Chicago State, 5-2, in the second game.
Michigan State has 24 players on its 2017 roster from the state of Michigan. Eastern Michigan has 19 players on its roster from the Great Lakes State.
MSU is slated to start freshman right-hander Mike Mokma on Tuesday. Mokma has five appearances with a 0-0 record and a 3.18 ERA, with four walks and five strikeouts. EMU’s probable starter for Tuesday is junior righty Justin McMurtrey, who has a 2-1 record with a 5.79 ERA with five walks and 12 strikeouts.
Michigan State is 96-60-1 all-time against Eastern Michigan. The two teams split last year’s two meetings, with EMU winning, 4-2, on April 5 in East Lansing, before MSU won, 3-2, on May 11 at Comerica Park in Detroit. Under head coach Jake Boss Jr., the Spartans are 12-5 against the Eagles, including winning two of the last three as part of six of the last eight. Under Boss, MSU is 5-1 against EMU in games at Ypsilanti, as part of 41-28 all-time there.
Michigan State vs. Eastern Michigan
Overall: MSU 96-60-1 / H: 54-32-1 / A: 41-28 / N: 1-0 / Series Streak: MSU W1
First Met: June 5, 1896 - East Lansing, Mich. - EMU W, 12-11
Last Meeting: May 11, 2016 - Detroit, Mich. - MSU W, 3-2
Spartans In The Stats Rankings
The Spartans enter the week leading the Big Ten in seven different statistical categories, as well as ranking in the Top 25 of the NCAA in nine categories. MSU smashed eight home runs against Illinois on March 26, which is the most in the NCAA so far this season. The Spartans lead the B1G and rank 31st in the NCAA with 28 home runs, as well as leading the league and ranking 21st in the country with 1.17 home runs per game. MSU also tops the conference and ranks 23rd in the country in scoring with 7.7 runs per game. Michigan State is also first in the league and 22nd in the nation in doubles with 62, ranking tops in the conference and fifth in the country in doubles per game with 2.58.
Defensively, the Spartans are second in the conference and 10th in the country in double plays per game at 1.13, boosted by turning six double plays against Abilene Christian in the first game of the doubleheader on Feb. 18. The six double plays are tied for the most in the country this season, and was the earliest in the season by date and games, as it was the second game of MSU’s season. The six twin killings is tied with Columbia turning two six times against Southern Miss on March 14.
Pitching Stat Rankings
The Spartan pitching staff is second in the B1G and ranks 32nd in the NCAA in strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.79. MSU’s pitchers combined to fire 19 strikeouts in the Spartans’ 3-1 win over Campbell on March 17, which are the most in a game by MSU pitchers since at least 2006, according to available records. The 19 strikeouts are tied for the sixth-most in a game in the NCAA this season. Fresno State (MSU opponent April 7-9) has the most in the country with 29 vs. UC Riverside on Feb. 24.
Head Coach Jake Boss, Jr., Hits 300 Career Wins, Closing In On Another 300
MSU head coach Jake Boss, Jr., won his 300th career game as a collegiate head coach with the 13-4 victory for MSU over Richmond on March 18. Boss is in the early going of his ninth season as head coach of the Spartans and he now has an overall record of 304-220 (.580) in his 10 overall years as a collegiate head coach. He has a 279-186 (.600) 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.
Michigan State opened the season with its first 16 games away from home, including 10 true road games to go with six neutral games, before last week’s home opener.
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.
Racking Up The Runs
MSU leads the B1G and ranks 23rd in the NCAA with 7.7 runs scored per game, plating 184 runs through 24 games, ranking second in the conference and 57th in the country in total runs scored.
MSU’s 22 runs against UNC Greensboro is eighth-most in game in the NCAA this season. The Citadel currently has the most with 34 runs against Winthrop on March 14. Michigan State’s 22 runs are the most scored in a game by a Big Ten team this season.
Lighting Up The Scoreboard With Double Digits
The Spartans have scored double-digits in nine of the 24 games, including 11 against Central Michigan on March 21 and in all three games at Illinois, March 24-26, plating a total of 41 runs in the three games, sweeping the three games by a combined score of 41-11, an average of nearly 14-4. The Spartans scored in double-digits in all three games and have scored 10+ runs in five of the last seven as part of nine of the 21 games this season.
MSU opened the season by scoring 19 and 14 runs in two of the four games at Abilene Christian on Feb. 18 and 19, respectively, and just missing double-digits in the other two games, hanging nine on the board in the first two games of the series, finishing with 51 runs in the four games (12.8 rpg). 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 Spartans also plated 10 against Presbyterian on March 4, finishing with a total of 19 runs in the three games of the First Pitch Invitational.
The Scoop On Troop
MSU sophomore left-hander Alex Troop ranks second in the Big Ten in ERA at 1.80, allowing just eight earned runs in 40.0 IP in five appearances. Troop also has a 3.9 strikeout-to-walk ratio with 39 strikeouts and 10 walks. With seven starts, Troop is also tied for the league-lead and tied for 21st in the NCAA.
MSU sophomore lefty Alex Troop pitched a complete game on March 10 at No. 10 South Carolina for his first career complete game. Troop was the first pitcher in the Big Ten with a complete game this season, and is now one of five pitchers in the Big Ten with a complete game, joined by Tanner Andrews of Purdue, Hank Christie of Northwestern, Brian Hobbie of Indiana and Jake Meyers of Nebraska. Devin Hemmerich of Norfolk State leads the nation with four CGs, while three pitchers have three complete games and nine more have two GGs.
Sophomore Alex Troop is hitting .357 (15-for-42), which would rank tied for fifth in the B1G, but he doesn’t have enough at bats. Troop also has two HRs, four doubles and six RBI.
Now Pitching For The Spartans...
Michigan State has utilized 14 different pitchers, with 11 of them with five or more appearances, including four with 10 or more, led by senior relievers Walter Borkovich and Joe Mockbee with 13 appearances apiece. The 13 appearances rank Borkovich and Mockbee tied for the second-most in the Big Ten. Junior right-hander Jake Lowery and sophomore righty Nathan Witt have each made 11 appearances, good for the fourth-most in the B1G.
Chalking Up The K’s
MSU’s pitchers combined to fire 19 strikeouts in the Spartans’ 3-1 win over Campbell on March 17, which are the most in a game by MSU pitchers since at least 2006, according to available records. Sophomore starting pitcher Alex Troop fired a career-high 10 strikeouts in five innings, while junior reliever Jake Lowery also struck out a career high with eight Ks in four innings of relief, including striking out the side in the eighth and getting all three outs via strikeouts in the seventh. Sophomore closer Riley McCauley got the final out on a strikeout in the bottom of the ninth after senior reliever Joe Mockbee got the first two key outs in lefty-lefty match-ups.
The 19 strikeouts is tied for the sixth-most in a game in the NCAA this season. Fresno State (MSU opponent April 7-9) has the most in the country with 29 vs. UC Riverside on Feb. 24.
The Spartans turned six double plays against Abilene Christian in the first game of the doubleheader on Feb. 18. The six double plays are tied for the most in the country this season, and was the earliest in the season by date and games, as it was the second game of MSU’s season. The six twin killings is tied with Columbia turning two six times against Southern Miss on March 14.
MSU’s six double plays is the most in a game since at least 2006 according to available records, bettering the previous mark of four turned in a game, done five times, most recently in 2014.
MSU has lugged the lumber to the plate, hitting .296 so far this season, leading the B1G and ranking 47th in the NCAA.
Individually, seven Spartans are hitting over .300, led by freshman left fielder Bryce Kelley at .371, followed by sophomore first baseman/designated hitter/pitcher Alex Troop at .357, then freshmen outfielders Robbie Jones at .333 and Danny Gleaves at .324. Sophomore third baseman Marty Bechina is hitting .319, while senior second baseman Dan Durkin is hitting .307 and junior centerfielder Brandon Hughes is hitting .304.
You Get A Hit And You Get A Hit, Hits For Everybody
MSU has had all nine starters in the batting order get at least one hit in four games: at Abilene Christian on Feb. 18 (gm 2), at Abilene Christian on Feb. 19, at UNC-Greensboro on Feb. 25 and vs. Central Michigan on March 21. The Spartans have had eight of the nine hitters get a hit in two other games: at South Carolina on March 8 and at Richmond on March 18.
Michigan State currently is third in the Big Ten and 13th in the NCAA in stolen bases per game with 1.92, and the Spartans are third in the conference and 21st in the country with 46 total stolen bases.
Individually, all three of MSU’s outfielders ranked in the top 12 of the conference in stolen bases. Junior outfielder Brandon Hughes is fourth in the NCAA in stolen bases per game with 0.63 and 10th in the NCAA in total stolen bases with 15, leading the B1G in both. Freshman outfielder Danny Gleaves and sophomore outfielder Dan Chmielewski are tied for 15th with seven stolen bases apiece.
Big Bat Bechina
Sophomore third baseman Marty Bechina has continued his hot start to the season, now batting .319 (29-for-91) on the season. He has tallied 17 RBI and six home runs. The six homers is tied for fifth in the Big Ten and 85th in the NCAA. Bechina’s six home runs has already exceeded last year’s total of two round-trippers.
Bechina also is third in the B1G in on base percentage, now at .461.
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 his 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 .324 (22-for-68) with 12 RBI, five doubles and one home run.
Team captain, senior second baseman Dan Durkin has a .307 average (31-for-101). Durkin also leads the team with 21 RBI, ranking tied for 10th in the B1G. The captain is tied for second on the team and tied for seventh in the B1G with eight doubles, along with tied for second on the team with four home runs and second with 22 hits, while also swiping three stolen bases.
McCauley-ing It Over
Sophomore reliever Riley McCauley ranks third in the B1G and ranks 46th in the NCAA with five saves. 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.
The Spartans will continue non-conference action when they host Fresno State this weekend, Friday-Sunday, April 7-9 in a three-game, non-conference series, the second of three-straight home weekends at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field. Friday’s first pitch is slated for 3:05 p.m., followed by 1:05 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
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