April 15, 2010
Ohio State (19-9, 4-2) vs. Michigan State (22-7, 4-2)
McLane Baseball Stadium at Kobs Field East Lansing, Mich.
GameTracker available at MSUSpartans.com
Friday, April 16 3:05 p.m.
Jr. RHP Alex Wimmers (7-0, 1.80) vs. Jr. RHP A.J. Achter (4-1, 2.44)
Saturday, April 17 1:05 p.m. TV: Big Ten Network
Jr. RHP Drew Rucinski (3-1, 2.50) vs. Jr. RHP Kurt Wunderlich (6-1, 3.49)
Sunday, April 18 1:05 p.m.
Jr. RHP Dean Wolosiansky (3-3, 5.65) vs. So. RHP Tony Bucciferro (4-3, 4.47)
Pitching matchups probable and subject to change
Spartans Host Ohio State with First Place on the Line
With identical 4-2 conference records, Michigan State and Ohio State enter this weekend's three-game series with an early season claim on first place in the Big Ten. Statistically, the two teams rank in the top half of the league in nearly every offensive category. OSU enters Friday's game at 4-1 in its last five games, while MSU enters with a record of 3-2 in its last five.
For the third consecutive week, the Spartans rank as the nation's top defensive team. When NCAA statistics were released on Tuesday, the Spartans' then .983 fielding percentage led the country. Entering the weekend, the Green and White have committed a nation-low 18 errors this season - five less than second-place Duke.
Offensive Power and Balance
The Spartans have received production up and down the lineup this season, combining to rank second in the Big Ten in batting average (.335), first in on-base percentage (.417) and runs (258).
Spartans Get Big Series Win
The Spartans took two of three games last weekend from Minnesota in the Metrodome. It marked the first time the Spartans won in Minneapolis since 2001 and it was the first series win over the Gophers in the Twin Cities since 1954.
Best Start Since `71
At 22-7, the Spartans have posted their best 29-game start since the 1971 team that went 24-5. MSU's 11-game winning streak earlier this season was its longest since 2004 when it won 12 in row.
Putting Up Runs
Michigan State entered the week 20th in the nation in scoring with an average of 8.9 runs-per-game. MSU has scored in double digits 11 times this season and its 258 runs lead the Big Ten.
Off and Running
The Spartans rank second in the Big Ten in stolen bases with 66 - just five behind first-place Illinois. At the time NCAA statistics were released on Tuesday, MSU ranked 21st nationally with an average of 2.21 stolen bases per game. With 66 stolen bags through 29 games, the Spartans are on pace to smash last season's mark of 71. The school record for stolen bases in a season is 98, set in 2005.
First RPI Released
The Spartans came in No. 68 in this year's first RPI - the highest ranking for any Big Ten team. Michigan has the second-highest RPI at 82.
Improvement All Around
Having won 11 more games at this point in the season compared to last season, it's needless to say the Spartans have improved in nearly every facet of the game. Here is a look at some of the more impressive comparisons between the Spartans first 29 games of this season and all 54 games last season: MSU has scored 258 runs this season, just 59 less than it scored in all of 2009. The Spartans have 64 doubles and 18 triples this season, compared to 77 and 8, respectively, all of last season. The pitching staff has 195 strikeouts and just 81 walks this year - last year it had a total of 302 strikeouts and 244 walks.
Spreading the Wealth
Individually, MSU currently has five players - Chris Roberts (33), Eli Boike (30), Jeff Holm (28), Bo Felt (23) and Jonathan Roof (23) - with at least 23 RBI. Roberts' 33 RBI are two more than his total of 31 for all of last season.
As a team, the Spartans' 236 RBI lead the Big Ten.
Of the five Spartans that have started all 29 games this season, four have reached base safely in at least 24 games. Jeff Holm, Eli Boike and Bradon Eckerle have all gotten on base in 28 games and Jonathan Roof has reached safely in 24 games.
The Spartans enter this weekend's series with 18 triples which is best in the Big Ten. At the beginning of the week their 17 triples ranked sixth in the nation, and their average of 0.61 triples per game ranked fourth nationally.
The Spartans' hot start has begun to attract some national attention. For consecutive weeks now MSU received votes in both the USA Today/ESPN Coaches and NCBWA polls.
Frymier Saving the Day
Senior reliever Kurtis Frymier currently ranks in a tie for second in the Big Ten with five saves. Its the most saves by a Spartan pitcher since Mike Monterey's seven saves in 2007. With one more save, Frymier will move into the MSU single-season top 10.