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Spartans Clash With Crusaders In Non-Conference Weekend Series

April 12, 2018


MICHIGAN STATE (9-20, 3-5 B1G) vs. VALPARAISO (10-18, 2-4 MVC)
Location McLane Stadium at Kobs Field | East Lansing, Mich.
Admission | Promotions Fri/Sat: Adults: $5 / Youth/Senior (18 & under, 55+): $3 / MSU Students: Free w/ ID MSU Ticket Office 
Weather Fri: High/Low - 58/37 | Sat: 41/32
Game Notes  Michigan State | Valparaiso
Social Media    @statebaseball   |  MichiganStateBaseball @statebaseballgogreen  
Game 1 Friday, April 13 - 12:05 p.m. - G1
Probable Pitching Matchup MSU: RHP #7 Ethan Landon (SR) (1-5, 3.40 ERA) vs. VALPO: RHP #28 Jon Tieman (SO) (3-3, 5.36 ERA)
Coverage GameTracker  |  Listen Live - Spartan Sports Network  |  Watch Live - BTN2Go
Game 2 Friday, April 13 - 4:05 p.m. - G2
Probable Pitching Matchup MSU: RHP #30 Mason Erla (RS-FR) (4-1, 2.91 ERA) vs. VALPO: RHP #37 Trey Ferketic (SR) (3-2, 4.43 ERA)
Coverage GameTracker  | Listen Live - Spartan Sports Network  |  Watch Live - BTN2Go
Game 3 Saturday, April 14 - 1:05 p.m.
Probable Pitching Matchup MSU: TBA (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. VALPO: RHP #29 Wes Gordon (SR) (0-4, 7.79 ERA)
Coverage GameTracker  |  Listen Live - Spartan Sports Network  |  Watch Live - BTN2Go



Leading Off... Spartans Clash With Crusaders In Non-Conference Weekend Series
• Michigan State baseball will wrap up its lengthy homestand and continue its non-conference week against teams from Indiana when the Spartans welcome the Crusaders from Valparaiso to McLane Stadium at Kobs Field for a three-game non-conference series Friday-Saturday, April 13-14. The Spartans-Crusaders clash was slated for a three-day series, but impending inclement weather has adjusted the schedule to a doubleheader on Friday starting at 12:05 p.m., with game two starting approximately 30 minutes following the conclusion of game one. The series is slated to wrap up on Saturday at 1:05 p.m., but subject to change due to weather.

• MSU and Valpo have only nine previous meetings, with the last match-up coming in 1994, and this weekend is the Crusaders' first visit to East Lansing since 1987.

• The Spartans are wrapping up an originally scheduled 12-game homestand that opened on March 28 against WMU, but have had two games postponed or cancelled by weather. The 12 home games in a row is the longest homestand since 2000 when Michigan State had 14-straight home contests. The 26 total home games are the most since 2005 when MSU also had 26.

• Fans can follow the Spartan-Crusader clashes through "Live Stats," "Listen Live" and "Watch Live" links found at MSUSpartans.com. Action between Michigan State and Valpo will be video streamed on BTN2Go, and 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 will be calling Friday's first game, before Dalton Shetler will be filling in him for Friday's second game and Saturday's action, alongside Jake Boss Sr. providing analysis.

Head Coach Jake Boss Jr. Earns 300th Victory For MSU
MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. earned his 300th victory at the helm of the Spartans with MSU's 6-0 blanking of Rutgers on April 30. Last season, Boss won his 300th career game as a collegiate head coach. In his 10th season as the MSU head coach, Boss now has a 302-223 (.575) record. He coached his 500th game leading the Spartans in the opening weekend at Fresno State. Boss is also in his 11th overall season as a collegiate head coach and has a 327-257 (.561) ledger.

Boss is the fourth head coach in the Spartans' history to reach the 300-win plateau, and reached 300 wins the fastest of the previous coaches, as Boss is in his 10th season at the helm.

Name Years Wins
John H. Kobs 1935-63 576
Daniel W. Litwhiler 1964-82 489
Thomas W. Smith 1983-95 377
Jake Boss Jr. 2009-pres. 302

Series History
Michigan State has only nine previous meetings with Valparaiso, with the last match-up coming in 1994. This weekend is Valpo's first visit to East Lansing since 1987, when the Spartans swept a doubleheader with the Crusaders, as part of a three-game win streak in the series. Those were MSU's lone three wins in the all-time series with Valpo. Before the 1987 meeting, the previous match-up came in 1923. The Crusaders have a 6-3 all-time series lead, with an even 3-3 mark in games played in East Lansing.

Michigan State vs. Valparaiso Series Breakdown
Overall: 3-6 / Home: 3-3 / Away: 0-2 / Neutral: 0-1 / Series Streak: Valpo W1
First Met: May 7, 1920 - Valparaiso, Ind. - Valpo W, 3-1
Last Overall Meeting: March 13, 1994 - Louisville, Ky. - Valpo W, 8-6
Last Meeting At East Lansing: May 3, 1987 - East Lansing, Mich. - MSU W, 13-1

Home Staters
Michigan State has 21 players on its 2018 roster from the state of Michigan, while Valparaiso has have five players from Indiana on its roster. While the Spartans do not have any players from Indiana on their roster, the Crusaders have one Michigander on their roster in senior left-handed pitcher Chet Joslyn, who is from Battle Creek (Lakeview HS).

Nail-Biters
Just like last season, Spartan fans may have paid for their entire seat, but they have only needed the edge of them so far this season, as 16 of MSU's 29 games of the 2018 season have been 1-run or 2-run games, with the Spartans posting a 2-7 mark in the nine 1-run contests, as well as seven other 2-run games, which MSU is 2-5. Last season, Michigan State was involved in a total of 17 1-run games, as well as three 2-run games. MSU was 5-12 in 1-run games and 3-0 in 2-run contests.

The nine 1-run games is tied for the sixth-most in the country (according to research collection by Chris Rash of Elon), and also sixth-most by percentage, as Fresno State has been involved in 13 1-run games, while Elon, UMass Lowell and Arizona have 12, 11 and 11, respectively. Michigan State played Fresno State in the opening weekend of the season and three of the four games of the weekend series were 1-run games. The Spartans also edged Arizona, 3-2, on March 4.

The Spartans have also played a total of 16 games decided by two runs or less, which is the third-most in the country and third by percentage. Along with the eight 1-run games, MSU has seven 2-run contests.

One-Run Games
Fresno State 13 of 32 games (40.7%)
Elon 12 of 32 games (37.5%)
UMass Lowell 11 of 28 games (39.3%)
Arizona 11 of 31 games (36.7%)
Fordham 10 of 28 games (35.7%)
Michigan State 9 of 29 games (31.0%)
Virginia Tech 9 of 31 games (29.0%)
Loyola Marymount 9 of 32 games (28.1%)
UNCW 8 of 31 games (25.8%)
Coastal Carolina 6 of 35 games (17.1%)

Games Decided by 1-2 Runs
Elon 19 of 32 games (59.4%)
Fordham 17 of 28 games (60.7%)
Michigan State 16 of 29 games (55.2%)
Fresno State 15 of 32 games (46.9%)
Loyola Marymount 15 of 32 games (46.9%)
UNCW 14 of 31 games (45.2%)
Virginia Tech 13 of 31 games (41.9%)
UMass Lowell 12 of 28 games (42.9%)
Arizona 12 of 31 games (38.7%)
Coastal Carolina 11 of 35 games (31.4%)

Spartan Hurlers Ringing Up The Strikeouts
As a staff, Michigan State pitchers are sixth in the B1G in strikeouts with 236, as well as fourth in the league in strikeouts per nine innings (8.4) and sixth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (1.87).

Senior Ethan Landon and junior Riley McCauley are both ranked in the top 15 of the B1G for strikeouts. Landon is tied for fifth with 45 and McCauley is tied for 15th with 39. Redshirt-freshman Mason Erla is just outside the top 15 at No. 17 with 38 Ks.

Chalking Up The Ks
Michigan State's pitching staff bolted out of the gates by firing a season-high 17 strikeouts in the 5-4 loss at Fresno State in the season-opener on Feb. 16, the Spartans' most Ks since firing 19 punchouts vs. Campbell on March 17, 2017.

The Spartans have 10 double-digit strikeout outings this season, including two of the last three games as part of six in the last 12 games. MSU fired 11 Ks vs. Nebraska on April 8, a day after chalking up 10 strikeouts against the Huskers. MSU also had 12 Ks in two games against Niagara, adding 11 vs. Fresno State on Feb. 17, 11 vs. Pepperdine on Feb. 24, 11 vs. Michigan on March 24 and 10 vs. Illinois on March 9 as well as 10 vs. Central Michigan on March 21.

McCauley-ing Lots Of Strikes
MSU junior pitcher Riley McCauley fired a career-high 12 strikeouts in the loss at Fresno State in his first-ever start on Feb. 16. After making 25 relief appearances last season, McCauley made the first start of his career and went 6.0 complete, allowing just one run on two hits, walking two and firing a career-high 12 strikeouts. McCauley becomes the first MSU pitcher with 12+ Ks since Cam Vieaux chalked up 13 vs. UConn, March 15, 2015.

McCauley's 12 strikeouts is currently tied for the most in a single-game so far this season in the Big Ten, joined by Jonathan Stiever of Indiana (vs. Pacific on March 9) and Tyler Blohm of Maryland (vs. Stetson on March 24).

The Spartan hurler is tied for 15th in the B1G with 39 total strikeouts this season. McCauley is also just outside the top 15 in the league in innings pitched with 41.1 IP.

Landon-ing It In The Strike Zone
Spartan senior hurler Ethan Landon has rung up a career-high tying nine strikeouts twice now, first posting nine punchouts in 6.2 IP at Fresno State on Feb. 17, then doing so in 8.0 IP vs. Michigan on March 24. Landon also has struck out six in three different games, giving him six or more Ks in five of his six outings.

Landon is tied for fifth in the B1G with 45 strikeouts, as well as fourth in innings pitched with 50.1 IP, along with just outside the top 15 in the league in ERA at 3.40.

Mason Mowing `Em Down
MSU redshirt-freshman pitcher Mason Erla is fourth in the B1G in opposing batting average at .202.

With an ERA of 2.91, Erla leads the MSU pitching staff and ranks 11th in the B1G in ERA. Erla has four wins this season, leading the Spartan staff and ranking tied for eighth in the B1G.

Erla is also tied for 14th in the conference in innings pitched at 46.1 IP, as well as 17th in the B1G in strikeouts with 38 punchouts. For the season, Erla is 4-1 with a 2.91 ERA, logging 38 strikeouts in 46.1 IP.

Erla has started and gone 6.0+ IP in both of MSU's shutouts this season. He fired six Ks vs. Rutgers on April 1, which was his second-highest outing of the season behind his career-best nine vs. Niagara on March 17, and he now has five or more punchouts in three of the last five outings.

Erla Earning Awards
MSU redshirt-freshman pitcher Mason Erla has made a smashing return to action from a season-ending injury last February. Erla has been extra effective in his four starts, most recently on March 10 in Greenville, stymieing Illinois with just one hit allowed in 6.1 IP, striking out five to earn the win on the way to being named B1G Freshman of the Week.

Nearly Noneski By Tyranksi
MSU sophomore relief pitcher Mitchell Tyranski has a 1.14 ERA in 13 appearances so far this season, allowing just three earned runs. He had a streak of four appearances without allowing a run snapped with a run last Saturday vs. Nebraska, but does have 10 appearances on the season of not allowing a run.

Despite allowing a run for the first time in five appearances, Tyranski struck out a career-high nine batters on Saturday vs. Nebraska, nearly doubling his previous high of five vs. Pepperdine (2/24). Tyranski pitched 4.0 innings vs. the Huskers, picking up his second save of the season.

Tyranski made his first start of his career on March 7 vs. No. 10 Clemson, and went 3.2 IP without a run and stymieing the high-powered Clemson offense to just one hit, while striking out three.

In 13 appearances, Tyranski now has 23.2 IP this season, with 28 strikeouts and allowing just 13 hits and three earned runs, holding opposition bats to a paltry .163. Tyranski would rank second in the B1G in both ERA and opposing batting average, but he doesn't reach the minimum requirement for innings pitched. The 13 appearances are ranked tied for ninth in the B1G, as well as ranking fifth in conference only contests with five batters struck out looking.

Tyranski earned his first collegiate victory in MSU's 5-2 win at Pepperdine on Feb. 24, going 4.1 IP, grounding the Waves' bats allowing just one hit, while striking out five and walking just one, in picking up his first win of his career.

He picked up his first career save in the 4-2 victory for MSU over Illinois on March 10, going 1.1 IP with just one hit and one strikeout.

Kelley-ing The Basepaths
Sophomore outfielder Bryce Kelley leads the B1G and ranks tied for sixth in the NCAA in stolen bases, swiping 19 bases so far on the season. Kelley nearly doubled his season output in the Niagara series, swiping six in the four games, including two each on March 15 and 16 before swiping five in the three games vs. Michigan.

Kelley has stolen at least one base in nine of the last 14 games, as part of 14 total games this season. He has multi stolen bases in four games, led by a career-high three at Michigan on March 23.

The three stolen bases in one game marks the second time this season that a Spartan has swiped three in a game, joining Danny Gleaves with three base swipes vs. Illinois on March 9 in Greenville.

Gleaves-ing A Vapor Trail
Sophomore outfielder Danny Gleaves isn't too far behind Kelley in the B1G rankings with 11 base swipes, ranking tied for seventh in the B1G and tied for 101st in the NCAA, boosted by swiping three vs. Illinois on March 9, as well as two on two different occasions, at Fresno State on Feb. 17 and vs. Illinois on March 10.

Gleaves became the first Spartan to swipe three bases in a game since former teammate Brandon Hughes stole three vs. Central Michigan on May 16, 2017. Kelley recently joined Gleaves in the three base swipe outing.

Spartans Swiping `Em Up
Michigan State enters the weekend leading the B1G and ranking 12th in the NCAA in stolen bases with 60, as well as ranking second in the conference and sixth in the country in stolen bases per game (2.07).

The Spartans' total is boosted by swiping eight against Niagara on March 15. Overall, the Spartans stole 18 stolen bases in the four-game series with the Purple Eagles, swiping five on March 17. MSU is also first in the league and seventh in the nation in stolen bases per game (2.45 spg).

MSU has now swiped three or more bases in nine games this season, as along with the aforementioned pair of games with eight and five swipes vs. Niagara, the Spartans had five base swipes in two other contests, first in the second game of the doubleheader at Fresno State on Feb. 17, and the second vs. Furman on March 9.

Individually, sophomore outfielder Bryce Kelley leads the conference and ranks tied for sixth in the country with 19 stolen bases, while fellow sophomore outfielders Danny Gleaves and Justin Antoncic are tied for seventh and tied for 12th in the conference with 11 and 10 swipes, respectively. Junior outfielder Dan Chmielewski is tied for 18th with seven stolen bases.

Triple Threat
MSU leads the Big Ten and ranks 35th in the NCAA in triples with 10. The Spartans' total was boosted by a stretch of three-straight games with a triple (March 17-21), as well as a span of five in six games (March 10-21). Michigan State also had two triples in the three-game series vs. Rutgers (March 30-April 1).

All-Around Antoncic
Spartan sophomore infielder/outfielder Justin Antonic leads MSU with a .296 average, as well as leading the team with four doubles, while sharing the team lead with 14 walks.

With two triples, Antoncic is also second on the team and tied for fifth in the B1G. Antoncic is also tied for 11th in the league in stolen bases (10).

Antoncic also own MSU's second-longest hitting streak of six games, as well as the Spartans' longest reached base streak of 12 games. Entering this weekend, Antoncic has an 11-game reached base streak in tact, tied with senior designated hitter Chad Roskelly for the longest current streak.

All-Tournament Accolades For Antoncic
Spartan sophomore infielder/outfielder Justin Antonic was named to the Dairy Queen Classic B1G/Pac-12 Challenge All-Tournament Team. Antoncic hit .462 for the weekend, including his first home run of his Spartan career off No. 11 UCLA, adding two doubles. He also posted the first three-hit outing of his career going 3-for-4 vs. Arizona, and also made a career-high six putouts in the field. He was also part of MSU's three-run ninth inning rally for a 3-2 walkoff win over Arizona on Sunday, with a single and later scored the tying run. Antoncic also extended his hit streak to five-straight games, with multi-hit games in the last two outings.

Roskellying It Lately
Senior designated hitter Chad Roskelly hit .750 (6-for-8) in the two games against Nebraska with two runs scored. Roskelly has hit .417 (15-for-36) over his last 11 games, raising his average from .080 entering MSU's game on March 21, to its present level of .279. Roskelly totes MSU's longest hitting streak of the season at seven games, and also has an 11-game reached base streak in tow into this weekend's action. He leads MSU with a .475 slugging percentage and is third on the team with a .353 on-base percentage.

Roskelly has a strong liking for Nebraska pitching, as his last three outings with three hits have been against the Huskers, with three hits in both games last weekend vs. Nebraska, which was not only a season-high output, but was his first three-hit game since last season vs. the Huskers on May 12, 2017.

In B1G only action, Roskelly is third in batting average at .444, as well as seventh in on-base percentage (.516) and 13th in slugging percentage (.556), along with tied for fourth in hits (12), tied for second in triples (1) and tied for 12th in total bases (15).

McGuire Mashing
Senior first baseman Zack McGuire is hitting .357 (15-for-42) in his last 11 games, including .500 (5-for-10) in the Rutgers series, with a 1.000 slugging percentage. He belted a two-run home run and added two doubles, logging four RBI.

McGuire has raised his average from .175 on March 17 to its present .291. For the season, McGuire shares the Spartans' team lead and is 20th in the B1G with three home runs. McGuire also leads the team with 15 RBI, and is second on the squad with a .430 slugging percentage and a .358 on-base percentage.

Proctor And Rumble
Freshman catcher Adam Proctor has had a smashing return to the MSU lineup after being out with an injury, belting his first home run of his Spartan career on a three-run shot in the seventh inning against Notre Dame. Proctor has gone 5-for-12, hitting .417 in his last three games, adding a double for his first extra base hit this season in the win over Nebraska on April 7, with four RBI over that stretch.

Chmashing Chmielewski
Junior outfielder Dan Chmielewski went 7-for-16 (.438) in the four games against Niagara, with two doubles and two triples, rapping an extra base hit in each game. Chmielewski finished with seven RBI, including four in the series opener, with three coming on a bases-loaded double as part of a five-run inning for the Spartans, boosting them to a 10-1 win.

For the season, Chmielewski is hitting .265, ranking second on the team with 12 RBI and topping the team with three triples and second on team with three doubles. The three triples is tied for the B1G lead and tied for 38th in the NCAA, while also sharing the B1G lead and ranking tied for 43rd in the NCAA for triples per game (0.12).

Chmielewski had an on-base streak of 10-straight games, which is the third-longest of the season for MSU, behind Justin Antoncic's 12-game stretch and Chad Roskelly's 11-game streak.

Two-Run Thunder
Michigan State has 10 home runs so far this season and seven of them are of the 2-run variety, including three in the opening weekend, adding one at Pepperdine, one vs. Niagara, one against Rutgers and one vs. Notre Dame. Senior designated hitter Chad Roskelly belted the Spartans' first home run of the season, blasting a two-run home run to left field in the eighth inning, capping a four-run frame for the Spartans. Sophomore infielder/outfielder Justin Antoncic belted the first round-tripper of his Spartan career in the loss to UCLA.

All four of MSU's runs in the 5-4 loss at Fresno State on Feb. 18 came via the long ball, with a pair of two-run home runs by junior third baseman Marty Bechina and senior first baseman Zack McGuire.

Bechina added a two-run round-tripper at Pepperdine on Feb. 24, after Roskelly had a solo shot the day before. Bechina and Roskelly share the team lead with two home runs each, ranking tied for 14th in the B1G. Against Niagara, McGuire belted a two-run round-tripper over the wall in right and into the Red Cedar River for MSU's first home run at home this season. McGuire struck again with a two-run shot vs. Rutgers. Roskelly blasted a two-run shot to left against Notre Dame on April 10.

Freshman catcher Adam Proctor added a three-run shot vs. Notre Dame on April 10, as MSU now has eight of its 10 home runs be multiple-run round-trippers, including the last four homers.

Streaking Spartans
Senior designated hitter Chad Roskelly enters the weekend with a seven-game hitting streak in tow, the longest of the season by a Spartan ... senior first baseman Zack McGuire has hit safely in the last six games, tying sophomore outfielder/infielder Justin Antoncic for the second-longest MSU streak of the season ... Junior outfielder Dan Chmielewski and sophomore outfielder Bryce Kelley are two of the other Spartans who have had five-game streaks, with both being halted by going hitless vs. Central Michigan on March 21 ... Antoncic's hitting streak was halted on March 9 vs. Illinois ... freshman infielder Ryan King and freshman utility player Zach Iverson are the other two Spartans with five-game hit streaks.

Antoncic and Roskelly have 11-game reached base streaks in tact, as Antoncic owns the longest of the season at 12 games ... McGuire holds the next-longest active streak of six games, while Chmielewski has the third-longest overall at 10 games.

King leads the Spartans with nine multiple hit games, with King having all two-hit games, while Antoncic has eight multi-hit games with seven two-hit outings and a three-hit game ... Chmielewski also has eight multi-hit games, with seven two-hit games and a three-hit outing, followed by Kelley with seven, posting five two-hit games and two three-hit outings ... McGuire has six multi-hit games, with three two-hit outings and a team-leading three three-hit games ... junior infielder Royce Ando has the most hits in game this season for MSU with four hits vs. No. 10 Clemson on March 7.

Late Inning Scoreboard Lighting
Of Michigan State's 120 runs scored this season, a combined 72 runs (60.0 percent) have been scored after the fifth inning, plating 10 runs in the sixth, 29 in the seventh, 24 in the eighth and nine in the ninth.

Those numbers are bolstered by MSU's nine-spot in the seventh inning against Nebraska on April 7, which is the most runs scored in an inning this season by the Spartans. MSU had big seventh inning in two of its last three games, hanging seven in the seventh against Notre Dame on April 10.

Michigan State also had a four-run eighth inning of game one of the opening weekend at Fresno State, adding one run in the first game of the doubleheader on Feb. 17. MSU scored two runs in the eighth against Washington on March 2. The Spartans scored three in the eighth vs. Niagara on March 15.

MSU had a big sixth inning on Feb. 24 at Pepperdine, plating four runs. The Spartans also plated two runs in the sixth frame at Fresno State on Feb. 18.

Up Next
After wrapping up its lengthy homestand, Michigan State hits the road for the first time since March 25, traveling to Kalamazoo to tangle with Western Michigan on Wednesday, April 18 in a 3 p.m. battle with the Broncos. The Spartans remain on the road, resuming B1G action at Northwestern on April 20-22. MSU then faces off with Eastern Michigan at Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers, on Tuesday, April 24 at 6:35 p.m.

The Spartans-Eagles battle is full of coaching connections, as MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr., was the head coach at EMU for one season in 2008, MSU assistant coach/pitching coach Mark Van Ameyde was head coach at EMU from 2014-17, before returning to MSU, Spartan volunteer assistant coach Jordan Keur was also an assistant at Eastern Michigan for the 2015 season under Van Ameyde after playing for him at Michigan State. EMU interim head coach Eric Roof is in his fourth season at Eastern Michigan, after serving as a volunteer assistant under Coach Boss at MSU for two seasons (2013-14), and was a three-year letterwinner at Michigan State (2007-09), playing under Coach Boss. Current EMU pitching coach A.J. Achter was also a three-year letterwinner for the Spartans (2008-10), and was teammates with Roof under Coach Boss. Achter went on to have a three-year career in Major League Baseball as part of eight years in professional baseball.

Scouting Valparaiso
The Crusaders are 10-18 on the season after routing Milwaukee, 23-5 Wednesday evening in Valpo's highest run output since 2010. Senior infielder/outfielder Jayden Eggimann boosted the Crusader offense with a grand slam and a triple as part of seven RBI in the game. Valpo has split its last four games on a loss-win pattern after dropping a three-game series at Southern Illinois last weekend, losing the opener, 6-2, on Friday, before bouncing back to win Saturday's game by an identical, 6-2, score, before getting blanked in Sunday's finale, 8-0.

Valpo is hitting .295 as a team, led by senior catcher/infielder Zack Leone's .423 average with 23 RBI. Junior outfielder/infielder Blake Billinger is hitting .358 with 19 RBI and team-leading 13 doubles, while junior infielder Sam Shaikin is hitting .320 with 24 RBI and shares the team-lead with four HRs. Eggimann leads the Crusaders with 28 RBI, while junior infielder Chase Dawson has swiped a team-best five stolen bases.

On the mound, the Crusader pitching staff has a team ERA of 6.52, with 150 strikeouts (5.4 pg) and 117 walks (4.2 pg), and opponents are hitting .309. Friday's game one starter is sopho right-hander Jon Tieman, who has a 3-3 record with a 5.36 ERA, leading the staff with 50.1 IP and 31 strikeouts, with 17 walks and opponents are hitting .322 off him. Friday's second game projected starter is senior righty Trey Ferketic, who has a 3-2 mark with a 4.43 ERA in seven starts, pitching one complete game as part of his 40.2 IP. He has 29 Ks and 18 BB, with opponents hitting .243 against him. Saturday's starter is slated to be sopho right-hander Wes Gordon, who has an 0-4 mark with a 7.79 ERA in seven starts with 34.2 IP. He has 18 strikeouts and five walks and the opposition has a .317 average against him.

Valpo head coach Brian Schmack is in his fifth season guiding the Crusaders, logging a 111-134 record. Schmack was Valpo's pitching coach/associate head coach for seven seasons before being named head coach. Schmac was a member of the 2003 Detroit Tigers.

Last Weekend Recap
The Spartans swept the shortened series with Nebraska, winning 17-5 Saturday behind a season-high run output and hit total with 15 hits. MSU captured the series with a 5-3 win on Sunday. The Spartans and Cornhuskers were slated to open the three-game series on Friday, but inclement weather postponed that game and the teams were to play a doubleheader on Saturday, but only got one game in before the second was cancelled due to cold temperatures. Sunday's game was scheduled for an 11 a.m. start because of Nebraska's travel schedule so only one game was played.

MSU played Notre Dame in a midweek game on Tuesday afternoon and the Spartans were down 8-0 early before rallying with seven runs in the seventh, but the comeback came up short, falling to the Irish, 8-7.

Erla 10 Innings Big Ten Freshman Of The Week
Spartans redshirt-freshman pitcher Mason Erla was the 10 Innings Big Ten Freshman of the Week after his performance in Michigan State's 1-0 win at Pepperdine on Feb. 25. Erla went 5.0 IP with four strikeouts and allowed just two hits with no walks, retiring the last 11 of 13 batters faced to earn his first collegiate win.

Roskelly Walk-Off Repeat
Spartan senior catcher/first baseman/designated hitter Chad Roskelly drove in the game-winning run with a walk-off fielder's choice in the 3-2 come-from-behind victory for MSU over Arizona on March 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Roskelly plated senior infielder Kory Young with the winning run, beating out the throw to first for the game-winner.

That was the Spartans' first walk-off victory since a 7-6 win over Western Michigan last season on May 10, 2017 at Comerica Park, and was identical as it was also on a walk-off fielder's choice and off the bat of Roskelly, with him beating out the throw at first in both wins.

Roskelly is one of three players in the country (according to available research) to drive in walkoff game-winning runs in identical fashion, joining Kyle Kasser from Oregon along with Nick Dalesandro of Purdue.

Roskelly - Michigan State - Fielder's Choice
1) vs. Western Michigan (2017)
2) vs. Arizona (2018)

Kasser - Oregon - Walk
1) vs. Oregon State (2015)
2) vs. Mississippi State (2017)

Dalesandro - Purdue - Single
1) vs. Cal State Northridge (2016)
2) vs. Incarnate Word (2018)

Three MSU Baseball Players Collect Big Ten Preseason Plaudits
Michigan State had three players on the Big Ten Conference Preseason Players to Watch List, as the conference announced its preseason honors list and preseason poll on Wednesday, Feb. 14.

The league's coaches voted on the top six teams and also selected three student-athletes from their own squads to a Preseason Honors list.

MSU Preseason Honorees included sophomore outfielder/pitcher Bryce Kelley, senior pitcher Jake Lowery and junior pitcher Riley McCauley.

Kelley, a native of Rockford, Michigan, was a Collegiate Baseball Freshmen All-American last season, becoming the eighth Freshman All-American at MSU and the second under head coach Jake Boss Jr. to earn Freshman All-America accolades, joining second baseman Ryan Jones in 2010. Kelley was also on the Big Ten Conference All-Freshman team, and was also the B1G Freshman of the Week. He was Michigan State's starting left fielder in all 24 B1G games, playing in 41 games overall with 38 starts, and led MSU with a .353 batting average overall, ranking third in the B1G. Kelley was also seventh in the B1G only stats with a .364 batting average.

He hit safely in 22 of 24 conference games, featuring a pair of 10-game hitting streaks in conference only action, with 20 in last 21 league contests, ending the 2017 season on a 13-game overall hitting streak, which started a day after his previous 13-game hitting streak was halted, finishing the season with a hit in 26 of last 27 games and 29 in 31 games. Kelley also tied for 17th in the B1G with 13 stolen bases, ranking tied for 11th in the conference only stats with six swipes.

Lowery, a Howell, Michigan native, made 22 appearances including four starts, logging a 3.71 ERA in 51.0 IP. He ranked second on the MSU pitching staff and ninth in the B1G with 70 strikeouts, as well as leading the Spartans and ranking ninth in the B1G with 21 strikeouts looking. Lowery also ranked 10th in league for strikeouts in conference only games with 37 Ks, as well as tied for 11th with 11 batters struck out looking. After coming out of bullpen in his first 18 appearances, Lowery made four-straight starts.

Lowery's bullpen highlights included earning a split shutout, pitching 2.1 IP with three strikeouts in 2-0 win over Ohio State (April 14). Lowery fired a combined 20 strikeouts in two-consecutive outings without an earned run, first chalking up a career-best 11 strikeouts in 5.2 IP in a no decision at Northwestern (April 28) and followed that with nine Ks in 7.2 IP vs. Iowa (May 6). Lowery added eight strikeouts in 3.0 IP without an earned run vs. Campbell (March 17), one of his four outings of 3.0 IP or more without an earned run.

McCauley is a native of Sterling Heights, Michigan, and appeared in 25 games last season as a reliever, is shifting to a starting role this season. Last year he posted a team-leading nine saves, which ranked tied for fourth in B1G and tied for 59th in the NCAA. The nine saves tied for the third on the MSU single-season saves list (since 1986). For the season, McCauley posted a 2.10 ERA in 25.2 IP with 36 strikeouts and 14 walks. He ranked 13th in the B1G in conference only games with 33 strikeouts in league play, and also tied for third in both appearances and games in relief in conference only games with 13.

He earned a save in his first five appearances, picking up his first career save in MSU's 9-7 win at Abilene Christian (Feb. 18), with 1.2 IP, one strikeout and no earned runs. He also collected a pair of saves in as many outings at UNC-Greensboro, in the 5-4 win on Feb. 24, with two Ks in 1.0 IP and the 22-16 victory on Feb. 25 with 1.1 IP and one K. McCauley fired three or more strikeouts in eight outings, led by a career-high six Ks in career-high tying 3.0 IP at Michigan (May 19), and added five punchouts at Nebraska (May 14). He opened the season with streak of 6.2 IP without an earned run and later had stretch of 12.1 IP.

Hello Home
The Spartans' 2018 slate includes a 12-game homestand as part of 26 total home games at Kobs Field at McLane Stadium. The 12 home games in a row is the longest homestand since 2000 when Michigan State had 14-straight home contests, while the 26 total home games are the most since 2005 when MSU also had 26.

Road Ready
Michigan State opened the season with its first 14 games away from home, including beginning with seven true road games followed by seven neutral games.

Two Of Spartans' Five All-Big Ten Honorees Return in `18
Two of Michigan State's five players that All-Big Ten accolades last season return in 2018 in designated hitter Chad Roskelly, who was tabbed to the All-Big Ten second team list, while outfielder Bryce Kelley was named to the all-freshman team.

Roskelly, a Macomb, Mich., native, played in 39 games, starting 29, all as designated hitter last season. He was third on the team with a .324 average and posted 24 RBI with three HR and six doubles. Roskelly tallied a .463 slugging percentage and a .427 on-base percentage, which would have tied for ninth in the B1G but he just missed the minimum requirement.

After starting the season slow after recovering from an injury, Roskelly ended the 2017 season with a hit in 13 of last 14 games, including a 13-game hit streak from April 28 - May 18. The 13-game hitting streak was tied for second-longest on the team. Roskelly hit .379 (22-for-58) over the last 15 games of the season with 14 RBI in the span, along with a .522 slugging percentage and a .433 on-base percentage, which raised his average from .260 entering April 28 to finish with a .344 average. He ended the season on an MSU-best 17-game on base streak. Roskelly had eight multi-hit games, including four contests with four hits.

Kelley, a native of Rockford, Michigan, was a Collegiate Baseball Freshmen All-American last season, becoming the eighth Freshman All-American at MSU and the second under head coach Jake Boss Jr. to earn Freshman All-America accolades, joining second baseman Ryan Jones in 2010. Kelley was also on the Big Ten Conference All-Freshman team, and was also the B1G Freshman of the Week. He was Michigan State's starting left fielder in all 24 B1G games, playing in 41 games overall with 38 starts, and led MSU with a .353 batting average overall, ranking third in the B1G. Kelley was also seventh in the B1G only stats with a .364 batting average.

He hit safely in 22 of 24 conference games, featuring a pair of 10-game hitting streaks in conference only action, with 20 in last 21 league contests, ending the 2017 season on a 13-game overall hitting streak, which started a day after his previous 13-game hitting streak was halted, finishing the season with a hit in 26 of last 27 games and 29 in 31 games. Kelley also tied for 17th in the B1G with 13 stolen bases, ranking tied for 11th in the conference only stats with six swipes.

Kelley Freshman All-American
Michigan State's Bryce Kelley was named a Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American. Kelley became MSU's eighth Freshman All-American and second under head coach Jake Boss Jr., joining second baseman Ryan Jones in 2010. A native of Rockford, Michigan, Kelley was also on the Big Ten Conference All-Freshman team and earned MSU's Steve Garvey Most Improved Player award. Kelley led MSU with a .353 batting average overall, ranking third in the B1G. Kelley was also seventh in the B1G only stats with a .364 batting average. Kelley ended the season on a 13-game overall hitting streak, which started a day after his previous 13-game hitting streak was halted, finishing the season with a hit in 26 of last 27 games and 29 in 31 games.

A Numbers Game
In 2017, MSU's offense led the Big Ten in on-base percentage (.378), while ranking second in the B1G in batting average (.290), second in slugging percentage (.440), on-base percentage (.378), doubles (113) and stolen base attempts (123), along with ranking third in stolen bases (96). The 96 stolen bases was the second-most in school history. On the mound, an MSU pitcher has led the B1G in ERA in both overall and conference games the last two seasons. Walter Borkovich led the B1G with a 2.01 overall ERA and a 0.64 ERA in league games in 2017. Additionally, MSU has posted its top three strikeout totals in school history in the last three seasons with 409 strikeouts in 2015, 466 punchouts in 2016 and 420 in 2017.

Spartan Roster Breakdown
Michigan State's 2018 roster consists of eight seniors, six juniors, nine sophomores and 10 freshmen. The Spartan seniors include returning All-B1G honoree catcher/first baseman Chad Roskelly, along with Preseason B1G Honoree Jake Lowery, as well as pitchers Ethan Landon, Andrew Gonzalez and Keegan Baar, plus first baseman Zack McGuire, catcher Will Salter and infielder Kory Young.

Highlighting the juniors is pitcher Riley McCauley, who was a Preseason B1G Honoree, along with infielders Marty Bechina and Royce Ando, along with outfielder Dan Chmielewski. The junior class added a pair of junior college transfers in pitcher Evan Flohr and catcher Nic Lacayo.

The sophomore class is headlined by returning Freshman All-American and Preseason B1G honoree Bryce Kelley, as well as outfielder Danny Gleaves, infielder/outfielder Justin Antonic and pitchers Mitchelle Tyranski, Mike Mokma, Sam Benschoter, Matt Clark and Caleb Sleeman. A new sophomore to the Spartans' roster is junior college transfer Bailey Peterson, who will see action both at infield and outfield.

The freshmen class has three redshirt-freshmen in pitchers Mason Erla and Zac Bianucci along with outfielder Joe Stewart. The true freshmen group includes utility player Zach Iverson, along with pitcher Jesse Heikkinen, infielders Ryan King, Brendan Regan and Peter Ahn, along with catchers Adam Proctor and Scott Combs.

Now Pitching For The Spartans...
Michigan State utilized 14 different pitchers last season, with 11 of them posting 10 or more, and five with 20+ appearances. Of those five pitchers with 20 or more appearances, two of them return in senior Jake Lowery and junior Riley McCauley. Last season, McCauley made 25 appearances, all in relief. He logged a team-leading nine saves, which ranked tied for fourth in B1G and tied for 59th in the NCAA. The nine saves tied for the third on the MSU single-season saves list (since 1986). For the season, McCauley posted a 2.10 ERA in 25.2 IP with 36 strikeouts and 14 walks. He ranked 13th in the B1G in conference only games with 33 strikeouts in league play, and also tied for third in both appearances and games in relief in conference only games with 13.

Lowery made 22 appearances including four starts, logging a 3.71 ERA in 51.0 IP. He ranked second on the MSU pitching staff and ninth in the B1G with 70 strikeouts, as well as leading the Spartans and ranking ninth in the B1G with 21 strikeouts looking. Lowery also ranked 10th in league for strikeouts in conference only games with 37 Ks, as well as tied for 11th with 11 batters struck out looking. After coming out of bullpen in his first 18 appearances, Lowery made four-straight starts to end the season.

Racking Up Awards On And Off The Field
Michigan State was recognized with the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Team Academic Excellence Award. Teams from every level of college and high school baseball were honored with the award, which recognizes teams coached by ABCA members that posted a GPA over 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for the 2016-17 academic year. In total, 221 programs were recognized with the 2016-17 ABCA Team Academic Excellence Award, including 70 high school programs and 60 teams from NCAA Division III. MSU had a 3.22 GPA this year, which is the highest in program history. The Spartans are one of two Big Ten teams on the 36-team list for NCAA Division I teams, joined by Minnesota.

Chmielewski and McGuire Earn CoSIDA Academic All-District Accolades
Michigan State baseball players Dan Chmielewski and Zack McGuire were named first-team Academic All-DistrictTM announced on Wednesday, May 4. Both were recognized as a part of NCAA Division I District 5 by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

Chmielewski and McGuire are the first Spartan baseball players to earn CoSIDA Academic All-District honors since Brandon Eckerle in 2011. Overall, they are 14th and 15th honors, and the 13th and 14th players as Ecklerle is the Spartans' lone multiple honoree.

Sophomore outfielder Chmielewski is a native of Shelby Township, Michigan, and owns a 4.00 GPA in psychology. He played in 49 of the 52 games and made 48 starts. He batted .275 with 50 hits, including 11 doubles, one triple and four HRs, with 30 runs scored and 25 RBI, ranking third on the team and 20th in the B1G with 12 stolen bases. Chmielewski led MSU and tied for 11th in the B1G with seven sac bunts overall and tied for eighth in league in conference only action with four sac bunts. He also tied for fifth on the team with 12 multiple hit games, including two three-hit outings and a four-hit game, going 4-for-4 with career-high five RBI at Richmond (March 18), rapping two doubles and a HR.

McGuire, a junior first baseman from Sterling Heights, Michigan, owns a 3.85 GPA as a packaging major. He started and played in 50 of the 52 games, making 48 starts at first base and two starts at DH. McGuire hit .279, and ranked second on the team with 15 doubles and seven home runs, while ranking tied for third the team with 51 hits. The 15 doubles ranked tied for eighth in the B1G, as helped MSU lead the B1G and rank 15th in NCAA with 2.17 doubles per game, ranking second in the conference and 44th in the country with 44 doubles. He ranked third on the team with a .475 slugging percentage, adding a .356 slugging percentage. McGuire had a .989 fielding percentage, including ranking seventh in the B1G in both chances (459) and putouts (424). He was part of 38 fielding double plays, ranking 11th in the conference, helping MSU rank 27th in the NCAA in double plays per game (0.98). McGuire was also the third leg of a 5-4-3 triple play at Nebraska (May 13). MSU was one of 14 teams in the NCAA to turn a triple play and it was MSU's first triple play since 2012 in the NCAA Tournament and was the first triple play in the B1G since 2014.

District 5 consists of schools in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. The Spartan duo were two of four Big Ten Conference players earning first-team Academic All-District Team honors, joined by Michael Hendrickson of Michigan and Pat McInerney of Illinois. The two MSU players are also two-fifths of the Michigan school represented, along with Hendrickson, Central Michigan's Daniel Jipping and Eastern Michigan's Brennan Williams.

For more information about the Academic All-DistrictTM and Academic All-America® Teams program, please visit www.cosida.com.

Milestone Victories
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

 

 

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