Spartans Open NCAA Tournament Against Pepperdine
May 31, 2012
The Spartans (37-21) earned an at-large bid as a No. 3 seed in the four-team regional and will play second-seeded Pepperdine on Friday at 4 p.m. EDT (1 p.m. PDT). The Waves won the West Coast Conference with a 16-8 league mark and are 34-21 overall.
This marks the fifth NCAA Tournament appearance for the Spartan baseball program and the first since 1979. MSU went to the College World Series in 1954 and also played in the NCAA Tournament in 1971 and 1978.
Stanford is the No. 1 seed in the regional with a 38-16 record and will play No. 4 Fresno State (30-26) at 9 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. PDT). Throughout its 128-year program history, Michigan State has never played either school.
On Saturday and Sunday, game times are also scheduled for 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., and if necessary, Monday at 6 p.m. All of the games will be broadcast on ESPN3.com, while audio of Michigan State's games will be available on SpartanSportsNetwork.com and the Spartan Sports Network mobile app.
The Spartans have played Pepperdine just once before in school history, and interestingly enough, it was MSU's opening game the last time it was in the NCAA Tournament in 1979. Michigan State hosted the Mideast Regional that year in East Lansing and fell to the Waves in the first game, 15-0, as Pepperdine went 3-0 in the regional and advanced to the College World Series.
MSU is coming off a 2-2 showing at the Big Ten Tournament in Columbus, Ohio. The Spartans won their first-round game over Nebraska, 10-9, before falling to Indiana in the second round, 6-4. In an elimination game, MSU bounced back to defeat Ohio State, 6-2, but fell in the semifinals to the Hoosiers for the second time in the tournament, 4-3 in 11 innings.
The Spartans have won 37 games this season, which ranks third in school history. Michigan State closed the regular season with an RPI of 45 and has posted RPI Top 50 wins over Baylor, Purdue and St. John's.
Senior co-captain Tony Bucciferro (6-3, 2.80 ERA), MSU's all-time leader in starts (54) and innings pitched (367.0), will get the call on the mound for the Spartans in game one, matching up against Pepperdine junior right-hander Jon Moscot (6-5, 2.97 ERA).
After starting the season 4-6, MSU has won 33 of its last 48 games (.688).
For the season, Michigan State has outscored its opponents by 131 runs (352-221).
Michigan State closed the regular season with an RPI of 45 and has posted Top 50 wins over Baylor, Purdue and St. John's.
The Spartans have played five Top 50 RPI teams: No. 4 Baylor, No. 8 Purdue, No. 13 Texas A&M, No. 42 Louisville and No. 46 St. John's.
MSU went 10-1 in midweek games this season.
Michigan State went 15-1 in its last 16 non-conference games.
Since the beginning of the 2010 season, Michigan State has won 107 games, second only to Purdue in the Big Ten Conference (114). The 107 wins are the most in a three-year span in Michigan State history.
CLASS OF 2012: THE WINNINGEST IN SCHOOL HISTORY
The 130 wins are tied for the most by any senior class in the history of Michigan State baseball (second: 128, Class of 1989 and Class of 1990).
SPARTANS POST THIRD STRAIGHT 30-WIN SEASON FOR FIRST TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY
Michigan State won 34 games in 2010 and 36 in 2011 while winning the Big Ten regular-season title.
The Spartans have posted 30-win seasons 13 times in program history.
Coach Boss ranks tied for second with Danny Litwhiler for the most 30-win seasons (3) in school history; Tom Smith is first with five.
WHO'S HOT FOR THE SPARTANS
Freshman center fielder Anthony Cheky hit a team-best .467 (7-for-15) at the Big Ten Tournament and also posted a .529 on-base percentage to earn all-tournament team honors.
Sophomore catcher Joel Fisher ranks first on the team with a .379 batting average (11-for-29) the past 10 games, including two home runs. Fisher went 6-for-14 (.429) at the Big Ten Tournament.
On the mound...
Sophomore right-hander David Garner is 5-0 with 46 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings since moving to the Big Ten rotation on April 16. For the season, he is averaging more than a strikeout per inning (75 strikeouts in 74 innings).
Senior right-hander reliever Bryce Jenney has not been charged with a run in his last 12 innings (spanning seven outings).
NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY
The Spartans went 5-3 in their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1954 and advanced to the College World Series, going 3-2 in Omaha. MSU reached the CWS after defeating Ohio in a best-of-three series in the District 4 Championship.
MSU hosted the District 4 Championship in 1971 after winning the Big Ten but went 0-2.
The Spartans earned an at-large berth in 1978 and lost both games in the Midwest Regional at Tulsa, Okla.
In MSU's last appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the 1979 Big Ten Champion Spartans hosted the Mideast Regional at Kobs Field, going 1-2.
SPARTAN PITCHING STAFF LEADS THE WAY
Entering the week, the Spartans ranked among the Top 40 nationally in ERA (26th), walks allowed (32nd at 2.82 pg) and hits allowed (34th at 8.22).
If the season ended today, MSU's team ERA of 3.17 would rank 10th best in school history, and it would be the lowest team ERA for the Spartans since 1972 (2.63).
Michigan State held Big Ten leader and nationally ranked Purdue - which entered the series against the Spartans No. 3 in the nation in hitting and 15th in scoring - to just 10 runs all weekend, a season low for the Boilermakers in a weekend series. Purdue hit just .221 and MSU posted a 1.50 team ERA.
All three of Michigan State's Big Ten starters - Tony Bucciferro, Andrew Waszak and David Garner - have been named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week this season, a first in school history. Bucciferro has won the award twice (Feb. 20 and May 14), while Waszak (April 16) and Garner (April 30) have each earned it once. The four Spartan selections for Big Ten Pitcher of the Week is also a school record (previous: three in 2011).
THERE'S A FIRST FOR EVERYTHING>
In addition, MSU has not played a game during the month of June since 1960.
BIG TEN HONORS
First Team: Jordan Keur (OF)
The Spartans are 10-12 in one-run games and 2-4 in two-run games.
Seven of MSU's 11 losses in the Big Ten were by just one run.
BIG INNINGS THE KEY
The Spartans have scored four or more runs in an inning 27 times this season.
When MSU has not put together a big inning (four or more runs), the Spartans' winning percentage dips below .500 (17-18).
MSU has allowed just nine big innings all season.
SCOUTING THE STANFORD REGIONAL
No. 1 seed Stanford Cardinal
No. 2 seed Pepperdine Waves
No. 4 seed Fresno State Bulldogs
SOLID AT SECOND
The Haslett, Mich., native ranks second on the team and eighth in the Big Ten with his .356 batting average.
Is the first Spartan second baseman to earn All-Big Ten honors three times (second team in 2010; first team in 2011; second team in 2012).
Ranks among the Big Ten Top 10 leaders in eight categories: hits (first with 90), at-bats (first with 253), sacrifice flies (tied for second with six), total bases (fourth with 121), runs (fifth with 50), doubles (fifth with 16), walks (tied for sixth with 34), batting average (eighth at .356) and on-base percentage (eighth at .425).
Tied for team lead with 18 two-out RBIs and is batting .380 in the seventh inning or later (30-for-79).
Ranks tied for third in MSU history with 238 career hits.
Jones is also second at MSU with 46 career doubles, just one away from tying the school record (Scott Ayotte, 47 from 1992-95).
After batting in all four spots in the order for half of the season, Jones has batted leadoff the past 26 games (MSU: 17-9).
An excellent defensive player, Jones ranks second in the Big Ten with a school-recrord 184 assists.
Last season, Jones became the first Spartan to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors at second base in 36 years as he hit .344 and led the team with a .442 on-base percentage.
Last summer, Jones was named to the Cape Cod League All-Star Team while playing for the Brewster Whitecaps. He finished 17th in the CCL with a .283 average during the 44-game regular season, and had a hit and a run in the CCL All-Star Game at Fenway Park on July 29.
During his All-Big Ten campaign as a sophomore, Jones collected a school-record 33-game hitting streak from March 6 to May 8. It tied for the longest hitting streak in the nation in 2011.
KEUR RANKS AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS IN HITTING
Keur also is second in the league in hits (88), which is tied for fourth most in an MSU season.
In addition, Keur ranks fourth in the Big Ten with a team-high .439 on-base percentage.
Among Big Ten outfielders, Keur ranks first in batting, hits and on-base percentage.
Leads team with 31 multi-hit games and is batting .342 with runners in scoring position.
BUCCIFERRO CAPPING HIS RECORD-SETTING SPARTAN CAREER
A third-team All-Big Ten selection, Bucciferro ranks first in the Big Ten in strikeouts (90) and innings pitched (106.0), and eighth in opposing batting average (.240) and ERA (2.80).
Bucciferro also led the Big Ten in conference games with 53 strikeouts.
Bucciferro has already set a school record with 106.0 innings pitched this season and ranks sixth in strikeouts with 90.
Was one of only three conference pitchers to win Big Ten Pitcher of the Week at least twice this season (Joe Haase, Purdue, twice; Lance Breedlove, Purdue, three times)
Garnered Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honors after allowing only one hit in six shutout innings in the win over No. 11 St. John's on Opening Day.
In the 4-3 victory over Cincinnati on March 16, Bucciferro won his third game of the season and struck out a career-high 10 batters.
Although he took a no decision vs. Ohio State on March 31 in the Big Ten opener, he threw eight scoreless innings, scattered just two hits, and took a no-hitter into the seventh inning.
Bucciferro garnered Big Ten Co-Pitcher of the Week accolades for the third time in his career after throwing a five-hit, complete game shutout in the 6-0 win over Iowa on May 11. It marked his fourth career complete game shutout.
Named to the Big Ten All-Tournament Team after yielding just two runs, one earned, in eight innings against Nebraska. The Huskers entered the game ranked in the top 10 in four offensive categories, including scoring.
Bucciferro was named a Cape Cod League All-Star last summer and also was a 2011 first-team All-Big Ten selection.
Has thrown eight career complete games, including four career complete game shutouts.
Cleanup batter leads team with 43 RBIs and is second in homers (5) and third in doubles (12).
Had a career-high 15 game hitting streak this season; also reached base in 24 straight games during one stretch.
Tied for team lead with 18 two-out RBIs and 10 multiple RBI games.
Ranks third on the team with 21 multi-hit games.
Tied for first on the team with five game-winning RBIs; had two walk-off RBIs in the series win over Minnesota; in the first game of the series, walked with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th; in the series finale, hit the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded.
Batting .333 in the seventh inning or later (25-for-75).
Named a third-team preseason Louisville Slugger All-American, Boss has a career average of .338 with 18 homers and 143 RBIs.
Boss ranks tied for sixth in MSU history in RBIs (143) and tied for seventh in doubles (39).
Boss is one of just 16 Spartans in school history to record at least 200 hits (currently 11th with 207).
He began the season by starting 10 games in center field, but moved back to third base to solidify the Spartan infield defensively.
Ranked the No. 10 third baseman in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft according to Baseball America, Boss has hit two of his five home runs this season against preseason All-Americans. In front of numerous scouts against St. John's, Boss delivered a solo homer in his first at-bat of 2012 off of preseason All-American Kyle Hansen, hitting a 94-mph fastball over the left-center field wall. In his first at-bat in College Station, Texas, Boss hit another solo blast, this time against preseason Big 12 Pitcher of the Year and projected first-rounder Michael Wacha.
WIEBER BECOMES MSU'S ALL-TIME SAVES LEADER
He currently has 18 career saves and ranks second in the Big Ten with nine saves (9-for-11 in save opportunities) this season. He owns a 1.37 ERA and opponents are hitting just .211 against him.
Wieber's career-high nine saves in 2012 are tied for second most in an MSU season.
Not only does Wieber own the all-time saves record at Michigan State with 18, he has collected an 11-2 career record on the mound.
In the 13-inning win over Michigan on April 8, Wieber finished the game by pitching 3 2/3 shutout innings to earn his first win of the season.
Wieber has also seen time in right field (10 starts), left field (two starts), and as a designated hitter (seven starts) for the Spartans this season. He enters the week with a .282 average with 10 RBIs.
A third-team All-Big Ten selection as a relief pitcher in 2011, Wieber led the team and ranked fourth in the Big Ten with eight saves last season.
Voted a captain by his teammates prior to the season, Scanlon was named the Big Ten's "best defensive fielder" in a survery of conference coaches conducted by College Baseball Insider.
Scanlon played for the Madison Mallards in the Northwoods League last summer.
Fisher entered the year as the starter after earning All-Big Ten Freshman Team honors in 2011, but he injured his leg in the second game of the season Feb. 18 vs. South Florida. He returned to the starting lineup at catcher against Bowling Green in late March and started 19 of MSU's 24 Big Ten games.
Fisher leads the team the past 10 games with a .379 batting average (11-for-29).
Martinez, who was the primary catcher in Fisher's absence, has started a career-high 25 games at catcher this season. He is batting .309 with 31 RBIs, including two game-winning RBIs in the sweep over Cincinnati. Martinez also has started nine games in left field, six games in right field, three games at first base and three games as a designated hitter.
YOUTH IS SERVED
Pickens, who has started 42 games in right field this season and leads the team with six homers, earned Big Ten All-Freshman Team honors. He was named the Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week on May 7 after batting .500 (6-for-12) with a homer and seven RBIs in the series win at Illinois.
Krill has started 43 games at first base and is batting .290 with three homers, eight doubles and 28 RBIs. He was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on April 16 after hitting .619 (13-for-21) in MSU's five games during the week (vs. Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan, Indiana). Krill batted .364 (4-for-11) with four RBIs in his first Big Ten Tournament and was named to the all-tournament team.
A Big Ten All-Freshman Team selection, Salter has seen time in the starting lineup as a designated hitter and is batting .281 with three homers and 12 RBIs.
VanVossen is 4-0 with a 3.47 ERA; MSU is 6-1 in games he has started.
Anthony Cheky has started 37 games in center field and owns a .305 batting average and a perfect fielding percentage. He leads the team with 15 stolen bases. Cheky garnered Big Ten All-Tournament Team honors after leading MSU with a .467 batting average (7-for-15).
Three freshmen made their first career starts on Opening Day against St. John's: Krill at first base, Pickens in right field, and Kevin Goergen at third base.
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