Four Spartans Named to All-Big Ten Teams
 
 
 
Joel Fisher
 
Joel Fisher
 
 

May 20, 2014

OMAHA, Nebraska - Four members of the Michigan State baseball team earned All-Big Ten honors, as announced by the conference on Tuesday, May 20.

Junior outfielder Jimmy Pickens was named to the All-Big Ten First Team, while junior designated hitter Blaise Salter was selected to the All-Big Ten Second Team. Senior catcher Joel Fisher and junior starting pitcher Mick VanVossen were both voted to the third team.

"All four players are certainly deserving of All-Big Ten honors," said MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. "For Jimmy to be named to the first team is quite a statement because there are a lot of great outfielders in our conference. He is certainly deserving of that honor and we're happy for him.

"Blaise has had a great year and is obviously deserving of this recognition. There is a lot of strong starting pitching in our conference and it's good to see Mick rewarded for his efforts this season. As for Joel, I don't think you'll find a better defensive catcher in the country, but I'm obviously a little biased. He does a great job of running our pitching staff and when you combine that with all the little things he does defensively, he's certainly very deserving of All-Big Ten accolades."

MSU was also represented on the All-Big Ten Freshman Team, with both second baseman Johnny Nate and starting pitcher Cam Vieaux being selected to the squad.

"Cam started the year in the bullpen and worked his way up to being the Sunday starter, so he's very deserving of this award," said Boss. "Johnny has played well for us at second base, so it's nice to see him honored as well."

 

 

Pickens led MSU in Big Ten games with a .375 batting average. He currently ranks fifth in the league in both slugging percentage (.489) and on-base percentage (.428). The junior has proven to be just as much of a threat on the bases, ranking third in the league with a career-high 21 stolen bases.

The native of West Bloomfield had an MSU season-long 13-game hitting streak from March 7 - April 2 where he hit .404. Pickens' best performance of the season came in a win over Eastern Illinois on March 2 where he went 4-for-4, including a double and home run, and drove in six runs. The six RBIs tied for the highest-single game total by a player in the Big Ten this season.

Salter finished the regular season ranked in the top 10 in the league in five offensive categories, including: first in doubles (20), third in RBIs (48), fourth in total bases (102), fourth in slugging percentage (.498) and tied for eighth in hits (67).

Salter has had a hit in 42 of 53 games this season, including each of the last five games. He had a career-long 12-game hitting streak that came to an end March 9 vs. TCU. The day prior, Salter belted a go-ahead, two-run homer in the ninth inning of the first game of the series to lift MSU to a 2-1 victory over No. 21 TCU.

With a team-high 67 hits, Salter has recorded his second consecutive 60-plus hit season (62 in 2013). He is the sixth player in the Jake Boss-era to record at least 60 hits in two consecutive seasons.

Salter's 21 multi-hit games are the most by a Spartan since Jordan Keur had 31 in 2012, while is 15 multi-RBI games are the most since Torsten Boss' 19 in 2011.

Fisher has thrown out a Big Ten-leading 29 runners this season. The four-year starter is hitting .246 and is tied for the team lead in home runs with five. Fisher's most memorable home run of the 2014 campaign came on Feb. 22 as his grand slam helped MSU defeat top-ranked Oregon State, 8-7.

The Farmington Hills native had a season-high nine-game hitting streak from April 22 - May 7 where he hit .421.

In four years wearing the Green and White, Fisher has appeared in 183 games, making 174 starts.

Nate has started 34 of the 36 games in which he has appeared this season. The Stevensville native brings a .234 batting average and 12 RBIs into play this week at the Big Ten Tournament.

Nate had a pair of three-hit games this season, going 3-for-3 in a win over Northwestern on April 26 and then 3-for-4 in a win over EMU on May 7.

After making eight appearances out of the bullpen to begin the year, Vieaux made his first collegiate start on March 23 at Ohio State. The walk-on went on to start all nine of the Spartans' Big Ten series finales, posting a 4-2 record as a starter and a 6-3 overall mark. He was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week on March 31 after earning his first Big Ten win by tossing six innings of shutout ball at Minnesota.

He threw his first-career complete game on April 12 in a Spartan win over Purdue.

The Big Ten also announced the Sportsmanship Award honorees from each institution with Fisher being selected from MSU. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These student-athletes must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.

ALL-BIG TEN FIRST TEAM
C - KYLE SCHWARBER, IND
1B - SAM TRAVIS, IND
2B - Pat Kelly, NEB
SS - Jake Yacinich, IOWA
3B - DUSTIN DEMUTH, IND
OF - Brad Hartong, IND
OF - Jimmy Pickens, MSU
OF - Michael Pritchard, NEB
DH - Scott Donley, IND
SP - JOEY DENATO, IND
SP - CHANCE SINCLAIR, NEB
SP - Christian Morris, IND
RP - Luke Harrison, IND

ALL-BIG TEN SECOND TEAM
C - Jason Goldstein, ILL
1B - Blake Headley, NEB
2B - Jake Mangler, IOWA
SS - Adam Walton, ILL
3B - Nick Day, IOWA
OF - Will Krug, ILL
OF - Jackson Glines, MICH
OF - Ronnie Dawson, OSU
DH - Blaise Salter, MSU
SP - John Kravetz, ILL
SP - Christian DeLeon, NEB
SP - Tanner Tully, OSU
RP - Tyler Jay, ILL

ALL-BIG TEN THIRD TEAM
C - Joel Fisher, MSU
1B - Josh Dezse, OSU
2B - Scott Heelan, NU
SS - Travis Maezes, MICH
3B - Troy Kuhn, OSU
OF - Casey Fletcher, ILL
OF - Will Nolden, IND
OF - Eric Toole, IOWA
DH - Dan Potempa, IOWA
SP - Mick VanVossen, MSU
SP - Alec Crawford, MINN
SP - Greg Greve, OSU
RP - Zach Hirsch, NEB

ALL-BIG TEN FRESHMAN TEAM
C - AUSTIN ATHMANN, MINN
1B - MATT HOPFNER, NU
2B - Johnny Nate, MSU
SS - Adam Walton, ILL
3B - Ryne Roper, ILL
OF - Ryan Boldt, NEB
OF - JOE HOSCHEIT, NU
OF - RONNIE DAWSON, OSU
DH - Carmen Benedetti, MICH
SP - Brett Adcock, MICH
SP - Cam Vieaux, MSU
SP - TANNER TULLY, OSU
RP - Jake Kelzer, IND

SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD HONOREES
Will Krug, ILL
Dustin DeMuth, IND
Jared Mandel, IOWA
Dominic Jamett, MICH
Joel Fisher, MSU
Alec Crawford, MINN
Ty Kildow, NEB
Jack Quigley, NU
Greg Greve, OSU
Tyler Kendall, PSU
Sean McHugh, PUR

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
SAM TRAVIS, IND

PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Joey DeNato, IND

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Tanner Tully, OSU

COACH OF THE YEAR
Tracy Smith, IND

Unanimous honorees in ALL CAPS