Four Spartans Named to All-Big Ten Teams
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."
"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
ALL-BIG TEN SECOND TEAM
ALL-BIG TEN THIRD TEAM
ALL-BIG TEN FRESHMAN TEAM
SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD HONOREES
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
PITCHER OF THE YEAR
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
COACH OF THE YEAR
Unanimous honorees in ALL CAPS
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