April 30, 2009
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Spartans Host Penn State on Stadium Dedication Weekend
Michigan State enters its weekend series with Penn State in sole possession of fifth place in the Big Ten and a 4-1 record in its last five games. The Nittany Lions come to East Lansing with a 1-4 record in their last five games and currently sit in eighth place in the conference standings.
McLane Baseball Stadium
The Michigan State baseball program added one of the biggest highlights to its illustrious 125-year history with the opening of McLane Baseball Stadium at Kobs Field this season. The 2,500-seat stadium enhances one of the most pristine settings in college athletics and was made possible with the generous gift of Elizabeth and Drayton McLane who committed $4 million toward the project. Drayton McLane earned his masters in food marketing management in 1959 from MSU and is currently Chairman and CEO of the Houston Astros.
McLane Baseball Stadium is part of the "New Life for Old College Field" project which began in 2006 with one of the chief purposes of the project to enhance historic Kobs Field. The first step in the project was the replacement of the field in 2006 and the addition of a new indoor hitting and pitching facility in the fall of 2007. The ballpark's brick accents will architecturally match historic Jenison Field House and MSU's newly constructed hitting and pitching facility. The MSU Board of Trustees approved the naming of the stadium in September 2008 and construction began in early December.
125 Years of Spartan Baseball
The 2009 season marks the 125th anniversary of MSU baseball as it was the school's first intercollegiate sport. Old College Field has been home to Spartan baseball since 1884 and this year the Michigan Historical Commission approved a state historical marker for the property that the university purchased in 1900 for $1,137.50. An official state historical marker will be unveiled prior to Saturday's game.
Offense Picking Up Steam
MSU enters Friday's game 7-3 in its last 10 games and 16-11 since its spring trip. The Spartans' run has been largely keyed by six players that have hit at least .300 during the last 10 games, including: A.J. Shindler (.404), Eric Roof (.368), Jeff Holm (.368), Bo Felt (.342), Chris Roberts (.326) and Eli Boike (.300). As a team, the Spartans are hitting .321 ,which is .044 points better than their overall season average of .277. MSU has out-scored its opponents by a count of 76-54 over the last 10 games.
Inside the Matchup - Pitching
The Spartans and Nittany Lions enter this weekend's series with similar offensive and defensive numbers. Opponents are hitting nearly identical off the two teams as PSU's pitching staff is holding opponents to a .291 average while the MSU staff is at .292.
Penn State ranks seventh in the Big Ten in ERA at 5.67 while the Spartan staff's 5.07 ERA is fourth best in the confernce. However the spread between the two teams' ERA's in league games differs by 3.00 runs (MSU 4.44 v. PSU 7.44 ERA).
Bullpen Picks It Up, Too
The Spartans haven't gone 7-3 over their last 10 games due to offense alone as several relief pitchers have stepped up to keep opponents off the board. Relievers A.J. Dunn and Kurt Wunderlich each have ERAs under 1.00 over the last 10 games and have combined to give up just one earned run in a total of 22 innings between the two.
Dunn hasn't allowed a run in his last five appearances and has given up just five hits in 11.1 innings of work over that time. He has struck out nine while issuing just three walks in his last five appearances as well.
Wunderlich enters Friday's game with a 4.74 ERA but has allowed just one run in his last 10.2 innings. He has gone 2-0 in his last four appearances and given up a total of nine hits.
Kurtis Frymier done his part as well out of the bullpen as he has reduced his ERA by 1.16 over his last three outings. He has thrown a total of 5.0 innings in his last three outings, raking up five strikeouts and just one walk while surrendering no runs off six hits.
Spartans Pile On Hawkeyes
In last weekend's three-game sweep of Iowa, the Spartans outscored Iowa 44-19, putting up their highest three-game run total since the 2006 season when they also scored 44 in a three-game stretch. Jeff Holm went 4-for-5 in Friday's 15-10 win and drove in four runs. Chris Roberts notched a career-high six RBIs and was a home run short of hitting for the cycle in Saturday's 15-4 victory. Eric Roof hit a grand slam and Johnny Lee had a two-out, three-run double to key Sunday's 14-5 win and series sweep.
Booch Rolls Again
Freshman Tony Bucciferro won got his first Big Ten win in his first conference start, going 7.1 innings in MSU's 14-5 win over Iowa on Sunday (April 26). The Joliet, Ill., native is now 4-1 on the year and has 37 Ks while just 7 walks. His 2.77 ERA ranks fifth-best in the conference.
Streaking Into the Series
Jeff Holm (seven games) and Bo Felt (six games) enter this weekend's series with the longest Spartan hitting streaks. Holm has hit .368 over his last 10 games and has at least one RBI in five of his last six games.
Felt is hitting .342 in his last 10 games and his picked up a hit in nine of the last 10.
Eric Roof and Shindler Catch Fire
A pair of seniors, Eric Roof and A.J. Shindler, have been large part of the Spartans success over their last 10 games. Shindler has appeared in nine of MSU's last 10 and has hit .414 over that time. This season, MSU is 9-1 when Shindler gets at least two hits.
Catcher Eric Roof has hit .368 over the last 10 games and collected 10 RBIs, including a grand slam, in last weekend in MSU's sweep of Iowa.