Spartans Square Off With Wolverines In Final B1G Weekend Series
Michigan State Hosts Michigan Thursday and Saturday, Friday at Ann Arbor; Saturday is MSU's Senior Day
|MICHIGAN STATE (28-21, 9-12 B1G) vs No. 15 MICHIGAN (40-12, 14-7 B1G)|
|Game 1||Thursday, May 18 - 4:02 p.m. - BTN|
|Location||McLane Stadium at Kobs Field | East Lansing, Mich.|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Michigan|
|Probable Pitching Matchup||MSU: LHP #32 Alex Troop (SO) (7-3, 2.62 ERA) vs.
UM: RHP #19 Alec Rennard (JR) (6-1, 3.92 ERA)
|Coverage||TV: BTN | Live Stats | Watch Live - BTN Plus | Listen Live - Spartan Sports Network|
|Game 2||Friday, May 19 - 6 p.m.|
|Location||Wilpon Complex | Ann Arbor, Mich.|
|Probable Pitching Matchup||MSU: #12 RHP Jake Lowery (JR) (2-3, 3.00 ERA) vs.
UM: LHP #36 Oliver Jaskie (JR) (7-2, 2.99 ERA)
|Coverage||Live Stats | Watch Live - BTN Plus | Listen Live - Spartan Sports Network|
|Game 3||Saturday, May 20 - 1:02 p.m. - BTN|
|Location||McLane Stadium at Kobs Field | East Lansing, Mich.|
|Probable Pitching Matchup||MSU: TBA (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs.
UM: LHP #30 Michael Hendrickson (JR) (6-2, 4.12 ERA)
|Coverage||TV: BTN | Live Stats | Watch Live - BTN Plus | Listen Live - Spartan Sports Network|
Michigan State baseball concludes regular season action with a three-game home-away-home series with in-state rival, No. 15 Michigan. The Spartans host the Wolverines at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field on Thursday, May 18 and Saturday, May 20, while playing at UM's Wilpon Complex in Ann Arbor on Friday, May 19. Saturday is MSU's Senior Day, as the Spartans will honor their seniors in a pre-game ceremony.
Fans can follow this weekend's games through "Live Stats," "Listen Live" and "Watch Live" links found at MSUSpartans.com. Thursday and Saturday's battle between the Wolverines and Spartans will be nationally televised on Big Ten Network, while all three games 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 calls the action alongside Jake Boss Sr.
Michigan State enters the weekend with a 29-21 overall record and have a 9-12 B1G mark, entering the final weekend of the regular season in ninth-place and fighting for a top eight spot in the conference standings to qualify for the B1G Tournament. The Spartans are coming off their second shutout of the season with a 7-0 victory for MSU at Central Michigan on Tuesday. MSU was edged in a three-game series over the weekend at No. 25 Nebraska, winning the opener, 6-3, Friday night before losing Saturday's game, 5-2 and getting nipped, 8-7, in Sunday's series finale. MSU won its two midweek games against in-state foes last week, edging Western Michigan, 7-6, on Tuesday at Comerica Park on a walk-off in the bottom of the ninth, then returning home to beat Eastern Michigan, 11-6, on Wednesday.
No. 15 Michigan is 40-12 overall and 14-7 in B1G play, entering the final weekend challenging for the regular-season title, currently sitting in third, but just a half-game out of the top spot. UM is coming off a 12-4 win over Eastern Michigan on Tuesday. In their last B1G action, the Wolverines swept a three-game series at Purdue, winning the opener 2-0 on Friday, then capturing the series with a 9-4 victory on Saturday before completing the sweep with a 5-1 win on Sunday.
New King In Spartan Lore
Junior center fielder Brandon Hughes became the MSU single-season stolen base record holder, swiping his 30th base of the season in Tuesday's 7-0 victory for MSU at Central Michigan. Hughes swiped three stolen bases in the game, giving him the record and passing the previous mark of 29 by Anthony Cheky in 2014. Hughes has nine stolen bases in his last eight games, rapidly climbing up the MSU stolen base list.
Battle Of The Brothers
Not only are two players on opposite sides of Tuesday's game from the same hometown of Bloomfield Hills, but they are both from the same house in the Salter brothers, Spartan junior catcher Will and Wolverine freshman catcher Harrison. The older Salter brother, Blaise, is a Spartan alum (2012-15) and currently playing for the West Michigan Whitecaps. Their grandfather is Bill Freehan, who is a Michigan alum and played catcher/first base for the Detroit Tigers, and later was head coach at Michigan.
Boss Has Been On Both Sides
Michigan State head coach Jake Boss Jr., is in his ninth season at the helm of the Spartans. Boss was an assistant coach at Michigan from 2005-2007, before becoming head coach at Eastern Michigan for the 2008 season prior to becoming head coach of the Spartans.
Michigan State and Michigan enter this weekend having squared off 308 times in school history. The Wolverines lead the all-time series, 199-107-2, but the Spartans have won four of the last six, after Michigan's 12-4 win on April 18 in a non-conference midweek contest. Under head coach Jake Boss Jr., MSU is 11-8. Last season, MSU was 3-1 vs UM, including winning the non-conference midweek match-up on April 12 when the Spartans handed Michigan an 11-5 loss, highlighted by an eight-run sixth inning. Michigan State then won the conference series vs. No. 16 Michigan on April 29 - May 1. After dropping the opener, 4-3 in 11 innings on April 29 in Ann Arbor, MSU bounced back to win 7-6 on April 30 in East Lansing, fueled by a six-run eighth inning after being down 6-1. The Spartans then won the rubber match on May 1 in Ann Arbor, 7-4.
Michigan State vs. Michigan
Overall: 107-199-2 / Home: 63-93-1 / Away: 42-105-1 / Neutral: 2-1 / Series Streak: UM W1
First Met: June 14, 1884 - East Lansing, Mich. - UM W, 13-3
Last Met: April 18, 2017 - Ann Arbor, Mich. - UM W, 12-4
Michigan State has 24 players on its 2017 roster from the state of Michigan, while Michigan has 14 players who are natives of the Great Lakes State.
Not only are two players from opposite sides of Tuesday's game from the same hometown of Bloomfield Hills, but from the same house in the Salter brothers in Spartan junior catcher Will and Wolverine freshman catcher Harrison. The older Salter brother, Blaise, is a Spartan alum (2012-15) and currently playing for the West Michigan Whitecaps. The Salter's grandfather is Bill Freehan, who played at Michigan, where he was an All-American in 1961 and played for the Detroit Tigers from 1961-76, where he was an 11-time All-Star and was also head coach for the Wolverines from 1989-95.
There are two sets of a trio players involved in Tuesday's game that are from the same hometown. The first set are natives of Rockford, Michigan and Rockford High School alums in MSU junior infielder Kory Young and freshman outfielder Bryce Kelley along with UM freshman pitcher/outfielder Jack Weisenburger. The second set are natives of Portage, Michigan but different high schools in MSU freshman outfielder Joe Stewart, who went to Portage Central HS, and UM freshman pitcher Benjamin Keizer and freshman pitcher/outfielder Tommy Henry, who both went to Portage Northern HS.
Spartan freshman pitcher Mitchell Tryanski and Wolverine freshman pitcher Karl Kauffmann are both natives of Bloomfield Hills and went to Brother Rice HS
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 his ninth season as head coach of the Spartans and he now has an overall record of 317-235 (.574) in his 10 overall years as a collegiate head coach. He has a 292-201 (.592) record at the helm of the MSU program, closing in on reaching the 300-win plateau mark as the Spartan head coach.
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.
Spartans In The Stats Rankings
The Spartans enter this weekend leading the Big Ten in four different statistical categories, as well as ranking in the Top 30 of the NCAA in seven categories. Individually, MSU players have five Top 32 rankings in the NCAA stats.
MSU hit eight home runs against Illinois on March 26, which at the time were the most in the NCAA so far this season, topped only by Alabama State with nine on April 23 and the eight were matched by Western Kentucky on April 25 and by Morehead State on April 15. With 2.22 doubles per game, the Spartans are tops in the conference and 13th in the country, ranking first in the league and 19th in the nation with 109 total doubles. MSU is also first in the league with a .445 slugging percentage.
MSU is second in the conference and eighth in the country in stolen bases per game with 1.94, ranking second in the league and 11th in the nation in total stolen base with 95. The 95 stolen bases is the second-most in the Spartans' record books, just three shy of tying the school record of 98 in 2005.
Individually, junior center fielder Brandon Hughes leads the B1G and ranks third in the NCAA with 0.67 stolen bases per game, as well as tops in the conference and sixth in the country with 30 stolen bases. Junior pitcher Jake Lowery leads the B1G and is sixth in the NCAA with 12.35 strikeouts per nine innings. Sophomore right-handed closer Riley McCauley is averaging 17.03 Ks per nine, which would lead the nation by almost two Ks, but doesn't have enough innings pitched to qualify for the statistic rankings. Sophomore pitcher Alex Troop is tied for 20th with 13 games started and senior reliever Joe Mockbee is tied for 32nd in pitching appearances with 28.
Michigan State and Michigan are two of the top base stealing teams in not just the Big Ten but the NCAA as well, as the Wolverines lead the league and fourth in the nation with 111 while the Spartans are second in the conference and 11th in the country with 95. MSU is second in the B1G and eighth in the NCAA with 1.94 stolen bases per game, while UM is first in the league and sixth in the nation at 2.13. Both teams have been caught stealing an identical 26 times.
1-2-3 Outs At The Ol' Ball Game
Michigan State turned a triple play at Nebraska on Saturday, the Spartans' first triple play since 2012. It was also the first triple play in the Big Ten and just the 11th in NCAA this season. Nebraska loaded the bases without any outs in the bottom of the second, but MSU got out of the jam with a triple play. Jesse Wilkening hit a chopper to third, where Spartan sophomore third baseman Marty Bechina snared it, stepped on the bag at third, then fired to senior second baseman Dan Durkin at second, who turned and threw to McGuire at first to complete the triple play. It was MSU's first triple play since 2012 in the NCAA Tournament and was the first triple play in the B1G since 2014, when Penn State had three that season.
Defensively, the Spartans are fourth in the conference and 17th in the country in double plays per game at 1.00, as well as fourth in the league and 22nd in the nation with 49 total double plays, 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 31st in the NCAA in strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.57. MSU's pitchers combined to fire 19 strikeouts in the Spartans' 3-1 win over Campbell on March 17, which are tied for the sixth-most in a game in the NCAA this season. One of MSU's opponents earlier this season, Fresno State, has the most in the country with 29 vs. UC Riverside on Feb. 24 in an 18-inning contest.
Junior righty starter/reliever Jake Lowery leads the B1G and is sixth in the NCAA with 12.35 strikeouts per nine innings. Sophomore right-handed closer Riley McCauley is averaging 17.03 Ks per nine, which would lead the nation by almost two Ks, but doesn't have enough innings pitched to qualify for the statistic rankings.
MSU currently is second in the B1G and 11th in the NCAA in stolen bases per game with 1.94, as well as second in the league and 11th in the nation with 95 total stolen bases.
Spartans Swiping Up Season Steals List
MSU currently has 95 stolen bases this season, needing just three more to tie for the single-season school record, currently held by the 2005 squad with 98.
Stealing Bases Turned Up To 11
Michigan State swiped 11 stolen bases at Northwestern on April 29, which are the most by MSU since at least 2006, according to available records. The 11 stolen bases are the most by a Big Ten team this season and the third-most in the NCAA behind 15 by George Washington and 12 by Norfolk State. However, the Spartans' 11 is the most in the NCAA this season in a conference game, as both George Washington and Norfolk State posted their marks in non-conference action, as GW was against Coppin State and Norfolk State was against William & Mary.
Individually, three of MSU's outfielders rank in the top 20 of the conference in stolen bases. Junior outfielder Brandon Hughes leads the B1G and is sixth in the NCAA with 30 stolen bases. Hughes is also tops in the league and third in the nation with 0.67 stolen bases per game. Freshman outfielder Bryce Kelley is tied for 12th with 13 stolen bases, while sophomore outfielder Dan Chmielewski is tied for 15th in the B1G with 12 swipes.
Along with their outfielders amongst the leaders in the league's stolen base rankings, the Spartans also have two infielders ranked as sophomore third baseman Marty Bechina is tied for 18th with 11 stolen bases and sophomore shortstop Royce Ando is tied for 23rd with eight.
In B1G only stats, Hughes and Kelley are tied for seventh with six swipes, while Chmielewski, Ando and Bechina are all tied for 20th with four stolen bases. Chmielewski, Ando and Bechina swiped three of their four in the game against Northwestern on April 29, part of MSU's 11 stolen bases. Ando, Chmielewski and Bechina were the 6-7-8 hitters in the Spartan lineup that day.
Hughes Hurried Up Stolen Base Record Book
Junior outfielder Brandon Hughes not only ranks third in the NCAA in stolen bases per game with 0.67 and sixth in the NCAA in total stolen bases with 30, leading the B1G in both stolen bases per game and total stolen bases, Hughes also broke the MSU single-season stolen base record, rapidly climbing the Top 10 list. Hughes swiped three stolen bases on Tuesday at Central Michigan, giving him 30 for the season and breaking the school record of 29 by Anthony Cheky in 2014. Tuesday's three stolen bases was Hughes' sixth game with multiple stolen bases and his second outing with three swipes. Hughes has nine stolen bases in his last eight games, rapidly climbing up the MSU stolen base list.
Roskelly-ing The Ball Lately
MSU junior designated hitter Chad Roskelly enters the weekend on a 12-game hitting streak, hitting .434 (20-for-46) with 14 RBI over that 12-game span. Roskelly's average has climbed from .260 to .344 over that 12-game span. In those 12 games, Roskelly has had multiple hits in six of them, including going 3-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored vs. Eastern Michigan on May 10 and 3-for-5 with two RBI at Nebraska on May 12. Roskelly also had the game-winning RBI in MSU win over Western Michigan at Comerica for the walk-off win last Tuesday.
That's Called A Hitting Streak
MSU has three players who bring a hitting streak of 10 games or more into the weeked, led by junior center fielder Brandon Hughes, who is currently on a 13-game hitting streak, trying freshman outfielder Bryce Kelley for the Spartans' longest of the season. Junior designated hitter Chad Roskelly has a hit in 12 games in a row. Freshman left fielder Bryce Kelley is currently on a 10-game hit streak. Kelley's season-long 13-game hit streak was halted on April 28 at Northwestern, prior to his current hit streak starting, so he has a hit in 23 of his last 24 games.
Racking Up The Runs
MSU is second in the B1G and ranks 54th in the NCAA with 6.6 runs scored per game, plating 322 runs through 49 games, ranking second in the conference and 66th in the country in total runs scored. Michigan leads the B1G with 6.8 runs per game, plating 356 total runs.
MSU's 22 runs against UNC Greensboro is ninth-most in game in the NCAA this season. The Citadel has the most with 34 runs against Winthrop on March 14. Michigan State's 22 runs were the most scored in a game by a Big Ten team this season until Rutgers' 28 against Lafayette on April 11.
Lighting Up The Scoreboard With Double Digits
The Spartans have scored double-digits in 13 of the 49 games, most recently with 11 runs against Eastern Michigan on May 10. The 13 games with 10+ runs is the most since 17 in 2010.
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.
Michigan State 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.
Now Pitching For The Spartans...
Michigan State has utilized 14 different pitchers, with 12 of them with five or more appearances, including 11 with 10 or more, and five with 20+ appearances. Leading the way is senior relievers left-hander Joe Mockbee and right-hander Walter Borkovich with 28 and 26 appearances, respectively, ranking first and third in the B1G, respectively.
Sophomore right-hander closer Riley McCauley has 23 appearances, good for fifth-most in the B1G and tied for 11th overall, while junior right-handed reliever/starter Jake Lowery and sophomore righty reliever Nathan Witt have 21 appearances apiece. Junior righty starter/reliever Ethan Landon has 17 appearances, while freshman lefty Mitchell Tyranski has pitched in 16 games, junior righty starter/reliever Andrew Gonzalez has 13, junior right-handed reliever Keegan Baar has 12 and freshman righty starter/reliever Mike Mokma has 10. Sophomore lefty starter Alex Troop has 13 appearances as the only Spartan pitcher with double-digit appearances to have all of them be starts.
Mockbee And Borkovich Among National Career Active Stats
Senior lefty reliever Joe Mockbee and fellow senior reliever, right-handed Walter Borkovich are among the top 25 in the country among active pitchers for appearances. Mockbee is tied for No. 17 with 92 career appearances, while Borkovich is tied for No. 24 with 88 career appearances.
Lots Of Ks On Scorecard, Not Many BBs
MSU is third in the B1G and 39th in the NCAA in strikeout-to-walk ratio with 2.57. The Spartan pitchers have six games that they have struck out at least seven and only allowed one or few walks, including four of the double-digit strikeouts with one or less walk, highlighted by 19 Ks with only one walk vs. Campbell on March 17, as well as 12 punchouts with only one walk against Iowa on May 6.
Lowery-ing The Boom
Spartan junior right-hander reliever/starter Jake Lowery leads the B1G and is ninth in the NCAA in strikeouts per nine innings at 12.35. Lowery's numbers are boosted by a combined 24 strikeouts to just one walk over his three starts. In his first start of the season on April 28 at Northwestern, Lowery fired a career-high 11 Ks with only one walk in 5.2 innings. His second start of the season was last week against Iowa on May 6, registering nine punchouts without walking any in his career-long 7.2 IP outing. Lowery also chalked up eight Ks without any walks in 3.0 IP of a relief appearance against Campbell on March 17. The Spartan hurler is also fourth in the B1G in opposing batting average, as the opposition is hitting just .217 off him.
MSU senior righty reliever Walter Borkovich is second in the conference and 48th in the country with a 2.19 ERA, allowing just six earned runs in his last 36.1 innings of work, spanning 18 appearances. Borkovich tops the conference in fewest runs allowed with only 12, and is also ninth in the league with a .240 BAA, and is tied for second in the conference with 26 appearances.
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.
MSU Striking Them Out, Moving On Up
The Spartan pitching staff enters the week with 390 strikeouts this season, good for tied for the No. 3 spot on the single-season strikeouts list. Last year's squad posted the school record of 466 Ks.
Double Digit Strikeouts
MSU's pitchers have combined to post double-digit strikeouts in 16 games this season, doing so twice last weekend at Nebraska with 12 on Friday and 10 on Sunday, boosted by seven from Alex Troop on Friday and five each by relievers Joe Mockbee and Riley McCauley on Sunday.
The Spartan hurlers have chalked up double-digit strikeouts in back-to-back games a total of four times. The only occurrence in B1G action was 12 and 14 against Ohio State on April 14 and 15, respectively, for the first in B1G action, also doing so at UNC Greensboro on Feb. 24 (10 Ks) and Feb. 25 (11 Ks) along with 10 strikeouts against both Furman on March 3 and Presbyterian on March 4.
Individual Double Figure Ks In Less Then 6.0 IP
Sophomore lefty Alex Troop and junior righty Jake Lowery both have 10+ strikeout outings, and both have been less than 6.0 innings pitched, as Troop struck out 10 vs. Campbell on March 17 in 5.0 IP while Lowery's 11 Ks at Northwestern on April 28 was in a 5.2 IP outing.
The MSU pitchers have 20 games this season in which they've held opponents to two or fewer earned runs, and have a 13-3 mark when keeping the opposition to two or fewer runs. Because of the shutdown staff, Michigan State is 26-7 this season when scoring more than three runs in a game, including 22-2 when scoring six or more runs.
Pickin' `Em Off
Michigan State pitchers now have eight pickoffs this season, topping last year's season total of seven. Senior reliever Walter Borkovich leads the staff with three pickoffs, including two against Ohio State on April 15. Junior reliever Jake Lowery has two pickoffs, while sophomore starter Alex Troop, junior starter/reliever Ethan Landon and freshman starter Mike Mokma have one each.
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 six games, most recently on May 9 at Comerica Park against Western Michigan. The Spartans have also had everyone in the batting order get a hit 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 five other games: at South Carolina on March 8, at Richmond on March 18, vs. Fresno State (G2) on April 8 and at Nebraska on both May 12 and May 14.
McCauley-ing It Over
Sophomore reliever Riley McCauley ranks tied for third in the B1G and 44th in the NCAA with nine 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 nine saves, McCauley has climbed up to tie for No. 3 on the MSU single season saves list, and the nine are the most since Jeff Kinley's school-record 13 saves in 2014.
The Scoop On Troop
MSU sophomore left-hander Alex Troop is fifth in the Big Ten in ERA at 2.62, allowing 22 earned runs in 75.2 IP in 13 starts. Troop also has a 2.6 strikeout-to-walk ratio with 73 strikeouts and 28 walks. With 13 starts, Troop is also tied for second in the league and tied for 20th 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 eight pitchers in the Big Ten with a complete game. Gavin Wallace of Fairfield leads the nation with seven CGs.
Sophomore Alex Troop is hitting .321 (26-for-81). Troop also has three HRs, one triple, six doubles and 12 RBI, along with a .531 slugging percentage and a .444 on base percentage, which rank eighth and third, respectively, in the B1G if Troop had enough at bats to reach the minimum requirement.
Multiple Spartans Have Multiple HR Games
Four Michigan State players have multiple home run games, led by junior outfielder Brandon Hughes with three against Illinois on March 26, part of the Spartans' NCAA-leading eight home runs in that game. Sophomore third baseman Marty Bechina also had two in that game, one of his two multi-homer games, also belting two against Abilene Christian on Feb. 18. Junior first baseman Zack McGuire belted two round-trippers against Illinois on March 24. Senior second baseman Dan Durkin joined the club with two home runs on April 16 against Ohio State.
MSU has lugged the lumber to the plate, hitting .291 this season, ranking second in the B1G and 59th in the NCAA.
Five Spartans Of .300
Individually, four Spartans are hitting .300 or better, led by freshman outfielder Bryce Kelley at .352, followed by junior designated hitter Chad Roskelly hitting .344. Junior center fielder Brandon Hughes has a .337 average, while sophomore first baseman/designated hitter/pitcher Alex Troop is swinging the bat at a .321 clip.
Three With Six Or More Four-Baggers
Michigan State has three players with six or more home runs, as senior second baseman Dan Durkin just took sole possession of the team lead with his seventh round-tripper in MSU's win over Eastern Michigan last Wednesday and his eighth homer in the Spartans' loss at Nebraska on Sunday. Durkin is now tied for 10th in the B1G. Junior first baseman Zack McGuire and sophomore third baseman Marty Bechina have six HR each, tying for 16th in the league. Durkin has topped his career-high of six HRs from last season, while McGuire and Bechina have also both surpassed their career-bests. McGuire's previous career best was two from last season, and he has doubled his career total coming into this season as he had just one round-tripper in his freshman season. Bechina has tripled his season output of two homers last season as a freshman.
Team captain, senior second baseman Dan Durkin has a .278 average (52-for-187). Durkin also leads MSU and ranks tied for 11th in the B1G with 40 RBI. The Spartan captain additionally leads the team and ranks tied for 10th in the league with eight home runs and is also tied for tops on the team with 15 doubles, ranking tied for third in the conference. With 52 hits, Durkin is second on the team, and has also swiped five stolen bases.
Earning The Ice Bags
Senior second baseman Dan Durkin has been hit by pitch a team-leading 13 times, which is sixth in the B1G and 52nd in the NCAA. The 12 HBP's is also the most by a Spartan since 15 in 2015 by Ryan Richardson, former Spartan shortstop and current Toledo volunteer assistant coach.
Sophomore third baseman Marty Bechina is seventh in the B1G in being hit by a pitch with 11.
The 15th-ranked Wolverines are 40-12 overall and 14-7 in B1G play, entering the final weekend challenging for the regular-season title, currently sitting in third, but just a half-game out of the top spot. UM is coming off a 12-4 win over Eastern Michigan on Tuesday. In their last B1G action, the Wolverines swept a three-game series at Purdue, winning the opener 2-0 on Friday, then capturing the series with a 9-4 victory on Saturday before completing the sweep with a 5-1 win on Sunday.
UM has four players hitting over .300, led by sophomore infielder Ako Thomas, who leads the B1G with a .371 average, also topping the conference and ranking 19th in the country with a .483 on-base percentage. Thomas adds 20 RBI and matches that with 20 stolen bases, ranking fifth in the league. Senior outfielder Johnny Slater is hitting .313 with 44 RBI, good for sixth in the conference. Junior catcher/infielder Drew Lugbauer has 54 RBI, ranking second in the conference, and adds 11 HR, the fifth-most in the B1G.
Thursday's probable starter is junior right-hander Alec Rennard, who has a 6-1 mark with a 3.92 ERA, tallying 56 strikeouts with 11 walks in 57.1 IP. Friday's probable starter is junior lefty Oliver Jaskie, who has a 7-2 mark with a 2.99 ERA, chalking up 98 strikeouts, which leads the B1G and ranks 23rd in the nation, with 26 walks in 75.1 IP. Saturday's starter is junior lefty Michael Hendrickson, who has a 6-2 record with a 4.12 ERA, tallying 60 Ks with 25 BB in 63.1 IP. Junior right-handed reliever Jackson Lamb has 11 saves, good for second in the conference and tying for 24th in the country.
Michigan head coach Erik Bakich is in his fifth season leading the Wolverines. Bakich has a 174-114-1 record at Michigan, and is in eighth season as a head coach with an overall ledger of 244-212-1.
MSU enters the final weekend of regular-season action in ninth in the Big Ten Conference standings, fighting for a spot in the B1G Tournament. The top eight teams in the regular season will advance to the Big Ten Tournament, held May 24-28 at Bart Kaufman Field in Bloomington, Indiana.
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. This season, Chmielewski is currently hitting .295 with 22 RBI, with nine doubles, one triple and four home runs. Chmielewski is currently tied for 10th in the Big Ten Conference with 12 stolen bases.
McGuire, a junior first baseman from Sterling Heights, Michigan, owns a 3.85 GPA as a packaging major. He is currently hitting .265 with 25 RBI, including 11 doubles and shares the team-lead with six home runs. McGuire is tied for 13th in the B1G in both doubles and home runs. Defensively, McGuire is fifth in the league with 340 putouts and tied for eighth in fielding double plays.
District 5 consists of schools in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. The Spartan duo are 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.
First-team Academic All-DistrictTM honorees advance to the CoSIDA Academic All-America® Team ballot, where first-, second- and third-team All-America® honorees will be selected later this month.
For more information about the Academic All-DistrictTM and Academic All-America® Teams program, please visit www.cosida.com.
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
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.
Hughes Collects Pair of National Honors
Michigan State baseball's Brandon Hughes was recognized on March 27 with a pair of national awards for his performance in the previous week in MSU's four wins, which including smacking three home runs in a game.
Hughes was named one of Collegiate Baseball's National Players Of The Week as well as a USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Gold Standard Performance of the Week.
Hughes, a junior outfielder from Sterling Heights, Michigan (Stevenson High School) entered last weekend without any home runs and just 12 RBI for the season, then proceeded to smash three home runs in the March 26 game alone as part of his four home runs in two games.
The Spartan outfielder belted three home runs in consecutive at bats in the first five innings of MSU's 17-6 win at Illinois on March 26, hitting two of them left-handed and one right-handed. He finished the weekend with 12 RBI, including seven on Sunday. After a fly out to lead off the game, Hughes smashed a three-run home run to right center in the second inning batting left handed. Again batting left handed in the fourth, Hughes hit a two-run round-tripper to right. In the fifth, Hughes batted right handed and smashed a two-run shot to left field that bounced once and then into the street behind Illinois Field. Hughes walked on four pitches in the seventh and grounded out in the ninth. He finished the game 3-for-5 with seven RBI and three runs scored.
In the doubleheader on March 24, Hughes was a combined 4-for-11, going 1-for-5 with two RBI, one run scored and one walk in the opener and then going 3-for-6 with three RBI and one run scored, belting his first home run of the season.
Hughes started the week going 2-for-4 with a double and sac bunt with three runs scored in MSU's 11-2 win over Central Michigan on March 21 in MSU's home opener. For the week, Hughes hit .450 (9-for-20) with 12 RBI, four HR, two doubles, two walks and one sac bunt, as well as making 16 putouts in the outfield.
Kelley Tabbed B1G Baseball Freshman of the Week
Michigan State baseball's Bryce Kelley was named the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Week for his performance last week in MSU's four wins.
Kelley, a freshman outfielder from Rockford, Michigan (Rockford High School) had a smashing Big Ten Conference debut, hitting .400 (4-for-10) in MSU's three games at Illinois over the weekend to open B1G action. For the week, Kelley hit .462 (6-for-13) for the week.
This is MSU's second B1G award this season as senior second baseman Dan Durkin was the B1G Player of the Week on Feb. 20. Kelley is MSU's first Freshman of the Week accolade recipient since third baseman Marty Bechina earned the honor last season on Feb. 22, 2016.
In the second game of the doubleheader at Illinois on March 24, Kelley was 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored with a two-run double, adding a stolen base in the Spartans' 12-1 win at Illinois.
He started the week 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI in MSU's 11-2 win over Central Michigan on March 21.
Kelley and the Spartans won all four games last week, scoring double-digits in all four, out-scoring the opposition 53-13, an average of 13-4.
Durkin Earns Big Ten Conference Player of the Week Plaudits
Michigan State baseball's Dan Durkin was named the Big Ten Conference Baseball Player of the Week, announced by the conference office on Monday, Feb. 20.
A senior second baseman from Tinley Park, Illinois, Durkin helped the Spartans to a 4-0 mark with a four-game series sweep at Abilene Christian.
The B1G Player of the Week is Durkin's first weekly conference honor of his career. He is the first Spartan to earn B1G Player of the Week accolades since Zack McGuire earned the weekly plaudits last season on May 2, 2016. It also marks the second year in a row that MSU has earned a league honor in the opening weekend, as Marty Bechina earned Freshman of the Week honors last season in the first weekend.
Durkin had a smashing debut as the Spartans' captain, going 9-for-18, hitting .500, with 11 RBI with four extra-base hits, and scoring six runs in the four-game series. With the 11 RBI and six runs scored, Durkin accounted for 33.3 percent of MSU's scoring as Michigan State plated 51 runs with 63 hits on the weekend, including 22 extra-base hits.
He opened by going 3-for-6 in season-opener, driving in two on a single in the sixth and later scored as part of MSU's six-run inning to break open a 1-1 game and make it a 6-1 lead. In the eighth, laced a double and later came around to score insurance run.
Durkin hit 2-for-3 with two RBI in the first game of the doubleheader, driving in both runs on a single in the fourth for MSU's first two of three runs in the frame as they turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead, a lead they never relinquished. In the nightcap, he went 3-for-5 with five RBI and two runs scored. Durkin drove in MSU's first run of the night with a double and scored the second run, both in the first inning. In the second inning, Durkin blasted a three-run home run to right as MSU broke open a 4-1 lead with five runs. In the fifth, he had a sac fly to center for an RBI, his fifth of the day.
Sunday's series finale saw Durkin go 1-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. He started his day by drawing a walk in the first inning, later coming around to score as part of MSU's four-run first inning. In the fifth, he drew another walk and scored again, before belting a two-run double in the ninth as the Spartans blew the game open with a six runs, turning an 8-5 close game into a 14-5 rout.
Standout Debuts In Green & White
Gleaves wasn't the only Spartan newcomer to have a standout debut, as freshman outfielder Bryce Kelley blasted an RBI triple in his first collegiate at bat. On the mound, freshman right-handed reliever Sam Benschoter threw two scoreless innings of work, chalking up his first two strikeouts as a collegiate pitcher. Redshirt-sophomore Nathan Witt made his debut on the mound after missing the first two seasons due to injury, and made two appearances on the weekend with an inning and a third worth of work without allowing any hits. Freshman righty Mike Mokma threw one complete inning without a hit and right-handed starter Mason Erla was MSU's starter on Feb. 19, spraying eight hits in four innings of work.
MSU was tabbed fifth in the 2017 Big Ten Preseason Poll released by the conference office on Wednesday, Feb. 15. 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's Preseason Honorees included senior catcher Matt Byars, junior outfielder Brandon Hughes and sophomore pitcher/first baseman/outfielder Alex Troop.
Byars was selected in the 24th round and No. 723 overall by the Minnesota Twins in the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft, but opted to return to Michigan State for his senior season. Behind the plate defensively, Byars threw out 12 potential base stealers and picked off two more. At the plate offensively, Byars hit .284 with 26 RBI with 16 doubles, which tied for 11th in the league, adding two triples and four home runs, and was a perfect 3-for-3 swiping bases. He appeared in 55 of the 56 games last season.
Hughes is one of two returning All-Big Ten honorees, as the center fielder earned third team accolades last season. He is one of three returning Spartans to hit over .300 as he hit .303 with 31 RBI, 11 doubles and two round-trippers. Hughes also led the team and was 11th in the Big Ten with 17 stolen bases.
Troop had a stellar first 12 games of the season a year ago before suffering a season-ending injury. At the plate he hit .372 with 13 RBI (1.1 pg), six doubles and one home run, to go with two stolen bases. Troop is also a weapon on the mound for the Spartans. Last season the southpaw posted a 3-0 mark with a 1.64 ERA with 14 strikeouts in just four appearances with 11.0 IP (11.5 strikeouts per nine innings) before his injury.
Returning All-Big Ten Honorees
Infielder Dan Durkin played in all 56 games last season as a junior and hit .324 with 32 RBIs and a .402 on-base percentage to earn First Team All-Big Ten honors. Brandon Hughes was a member of the Third Team, hitting .303 with 31 RBI, 11 doubles and two round-trippers. Hughes also led the team and was 11th in the Big Ten with 17 stolen bases. Marty Bechina started in all but one game during his first season in the Green and White and was selected to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
Spartan Roster Breakdown
Michigan State's roster consists of seven seniors, 10 juniors, seven sophomores and 11 freshmen. The senior class includes Preseason B1G Honoree catcher Matt Byars, who was drafted in the MLB Draft last season (Minnesota, 24th round), but opted to return to Michigan State, as well as infielder Dan Durkin, who was named team captain. Senior relief pitchers Joe Mockbee and Walter Borkovich will anchor the Spartans' bullpen.
Highlighting the juniors is starting pitchers Ethan Landon and Andrew Gonzalez, who will make up two-thirds of MSU's weekend rotation on the mound. Another junior standout is outfielder Brandon Hughes, who is a Preseason B1G Honoree.
The sophomore group includes Preseason B1G Honoree P/1B/OF Alex Troop, who played in only 12 games last season before a season-ending injury. It also includes Marty Bechina, who split time between outfield and infield last season, but will be the Spartans' starter at third base, and was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team last season.
Michigan State opened the season with its first 17 games away from home, including 11 true road games to go with six neutral games.
MSU returns six starters and three starting pitchers from last season's squad that advanced to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament, posting a 36-20 overall record and was 13-11 in Big Ten action.
Immediate Impact In Big Ten
In Ethan Landon's first season at MSU, the right-hander picked up six wins in Big Ten play as a redshirt sophomore, which is the most by any pitcher in school history.
Notes From 2016
Michigan State wrapped up the 2016 season with a 36-20 overall record and 13-11 mark in Big Ten play to finish tied for sixth before advancing to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament. The 36 wins tied the fourth most victories in school history with the 1971, 1992 and 2011 clubs.
MSU got off to a hot start and its 14-1 record was the best start in school history through 15 games.
Michigan State pitchers combined for a school record 466 strikeouts - 57 more than the 2015 club, which previously held the record.
All season long, the Spartans' ERA ranked among the top five in the country and finished at a 2.75 mark, that is the fifth lowest ever by an MSU pitching staff.
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