MSU Plays At Notre Dame Tuesday
Spartans Tangle With Irish To Conclude Five-Game Non-Conference Stretch
|MICHIGAN STATE (18-10, 3-3 B1G) at NOTRE DAME (13-17, 7-8 ACC)|
|Date, Time||Tuesday, April 11 | 6:05 p.m. ET|
|Location||Frank Eck Stadium | Notre Dame, Ind.|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Notre Dame|
|Probable Pitching Matchup||MSU: RHP #20 Mike Mokma (FR) (0-0, 2.79 ERA) vs. UND: TBA|
|Coverage||Live Stats | Watch Live - WatchESPN | Listen Live - Spartan Sports Network|
Michigan State baseball will wrap up its five-game non-conference stretch by playing at Notre Dame on Tuesday, April 11. First pitch from Notre Dame’s Frank Eck Stadium is slated for 6:05 p.m.
• Fans can follow Tuesday’s game through “Live Stats,” “Listen Live” and “Watch Live” links found at MSUSpartans.com. The clash between the Spartans and Fighting Irish will be video streamed on ACC Network Extra and will be available on WatchESPN with an ESPN cable subscription verification. Tuesday’s game will also 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.
• Michigan State is 18-10 on the season, after sweeping Fresno State in a three-game series over the weekend. The series was slated for MSU’s McLane Stadium at Kobs Field, but wet field conditions due to the Red Cedar River overflowing its banks throughout the MSU campus and the East Lansing area forced the Spartans to relocate to Fifth Third Ballpark in Grand Rapids.
• The Spartans out-scored Fresno State by a total of 27-11 on the weekend after sweeping Saturday’s doubleheader 10-4 and 9-5, then winning Sunday’s series finale, 8-2. MSU rapped out 36 hits in the series. With the wins, the Spartans snapped a five-game losing skein.
• Notre Dame is 13-17 overall, also coming off a weekend series sweep, winning all three games of a home series against Georgia Tech over the weekend, winning a pair of 4-3 games on Friday and Saturday before capturing Sunday’s win, 9-6. With the three wins, the Irish have won six of their past seven home games, with the lone loss in that stretch a 9-2 loss to North Carolina State on April 2. Overall, Notre Dame has won six of its last eight, with a 4-3 loss at Michigan on April 4.
Michigan State is facing Notre Dame in the 135th all-time meeting. The Spartans hold a 79-55 advantage in the series, including recent success having won 16 of the last 19 meetings, despite losing last season in a pitching dual, 1-0. MSU is 36-31 at Notre Dame, winning 10 of the last 11 there, including the last visit there, a 9-6 12-inning victory for MSU in 2015.
Michigan State vs. Notre Dame
Overall: 79-55 / Home: 40-24 / Away: 36-31 / Neutral: 3-0 / Series Streak: ND W1
First Met: May 7, 1907 - Notre Dame, Ind. - ND W, 1-0
Last Overall Meeting: April 19, 2016 - East Lansing, Mich. - ND W, 1-0
Last Meeting At Notre Dame: April 28, 2015 - Notre Dame, Ind. - MSU W, 9-6
Spartans In The Stats Rankings
The Spartans enter the week leading the Big Ten in eight different statistical categories, as well as ranking in the Top 25 of the NCAA in eight categories. MSU hit 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 19th in the NCAA in scoring with 7.6 runs per game. MSU is also tops in the B1G and 24th in the NCAA in home runs per game with 1.14, ranking second in the league and 36th in the nation with 32 home runs. With 2.43 doubles per game, the Spartans are also tops in the conference and seventh in the country, ranking first in the league and 28th in the nation with 68 total doubles.
Defensively, the Spartans are first in the conference and ninth in the country in double plays per game at 1.11, 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 tops in the B1G and ranks 28th in the NCAA in strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.92. 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. Last weekend’s opponent, Fresno State, 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 307-224 (.578) in his 10 overall years as a collegiate head coach. He has a 282-190 (.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.
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 the Spartans’ home opener on March 21.
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 19th in the NCAA with 7.6 runs scored per game, plating 214 runs through 28 games, ranking second in the conference and 51st 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 10 of the 28 games, including 10 against Fresno State on April 8, as well as 11 against Central Michigan on March 21. MSU also hung 10+ runs 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’ scoring in double-digits in all three games at Illinois was part of a stretch of scoring 10+ runs in four-straight games and five of six games as part of 10 of the 28 games this season, having been limited to single digit runs in five-straight games before plating 10 against Fresno State on April 8.
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 leads the Big Ten and ranks 41st in the NCAA in ERA at 1.69, allowing just nine earned runs in 48.0 IP in five appearances. Troop also has a 4.2 strikeout-to-walk ratio with 46 strikeouts and 11 walks. With eight starts, Troop is also tied for the league-lead and tied for 18th 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 (two complete games), Jake Meyers of Nebraska, Brian Shaffer of Maryland and Ty Weber of Illinois. Devin Hemmerich of Norfolk State, Ian Miller of Harvard and Gavin Wallace of Fairfield lead the nation with four CGs, while three pitchers have three complete games and nine more have two GGs.
Sophomore Alex Troop is hitting .365 (19-for-52), which would rank fourth in the B1G, but he doesn’t have enough at bats. Troop also has three HRs, six doubles and nine RBI, along with also leading the team with a .692 slugging percentage and a .492 on base percentage, which would also rank third and first, respectively, in the B1G if Troop had enough at bats to reach the minimum requirement.
Now Pitching For The Spartans...
Michigan State has utilized 14 different pitchers, with 11 of them with five or more appearances, including five with 10 or more, led by senior relievers Joe Mockbee and Walter Borkovich with 15 and 14 appearances, respectively. The 15 appearances rank Mockbee tied for the second-most in the Big Ten, while Borkovich is tied for third-most with 14 appearances. Junior right-hander Jake Lowery and sophomore righty Nathan Witt have each made 13 appearances, good for the fourth-most in the B1G, while sophomore closer Riley McCauley has appeared in 11 games.
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.
Michigan State’s pitchers have combined to post double-digit strikeouts in eight games this season, most recently with 10 vs. Minnesota on April 1.
MSU has lugged the lumber to the plate, hitting .299 so far this season, leading the B1G and ranking 34th in the NCAA.
Individually, six Spartans are hitting over .300, led by sophomore first baseman/designated hitter/pitcher Alex Troop at .365, followed by freshman outfielder Robbie Jones at .333, then sophomore third baseman Marty Bechina at .330, just ahead of freshman left fielder Bryce Kelley at .327. Junior centerfielder Brandon Hughes is hitting .325, while freshman outfielder Danny Gleaves is hitting 324.
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 five games: at Abilene Christian on Feb. 18 (gm 2), at Abilene Christian on Feb. 19, at UNC-Greensboro on Feb. 25, vs. Central Michigan on March 21 and vs. Fresno State (G1) on April 8. The Spartans have had eight of the nine hitters get a hit in three other games: at South Carolina on March 8, at Richmond on March 18 and vs. Fresno State (G2) on April 8.
Michigan State currently is third in the Big Ten and 12th in the NCAA in stolen bases per game with 1.86, and the Spartans are third in the conference and 20th in the country with 52 total stolen bases.
Individually, all three of MSU’s outfielders ranked in the top 17 of the conference in stolen bases. Junior outfielder Brandon Hughes is fifth in the NCAA in stolen bases per game with 0.61 and ninth in the NCAA in total stolen bases with 17, leading the B1G in stolen bases per game and second in total stolen bases. Freshman outfielder Danny Gleaves and sophomore outfielder Dan Chmielewski are tied for 17th in the B1G with seven stolen bases apiece.
Big Bat Bechina
Sophomore third baseman Marty Bechina has continued his hot start to the season, now batting .330 (35-for-106) on the season. He has tallied 21 RBI and six home runs. The six homers is tied for fifth in the Big Ten and 90th in the NCAA. Bechina’s six home runs has already exceeded last year’s total of two round-trippers.
Bechina also is second in the B1G and 64th in the NCAA in on base percentage, now at .470.
McCauley-ing It Over
Sophomore reliever Riley McCauley ranks third in the B1G and ranks 34th in the NCAA with six 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.
With his next save, McCauley will join the MSU single season saves list, as five Spartans have the No. 8 mark with seven saves, most recently by Dakota Mekkes last season.
The Spartans return to Big Ten Conference action by hosting Ohio State this weekend, Friday-Sunday, April 14-16, the third and final of three-straight home weekends.
This weekend’s series is slated for McLane Stadium at Kobs Field, but fans should stay tuned to www.MSUSpartans.com or follow MSU Baseball on twitter at statebaseball for any schedule and location updates.
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