|MICHIGAN STATE (23-11, 6-3 B1G) at MICHIGAN (19-17, 7-5 B1G)|
|Location||Wilpon Complex, Ray Fisher Stadium || Ann Arbor, Mich.|
|Tickets||Michigan Ticket Office|
|Weather||High/Low — Fri: 54° / 41° | Sat: 54° / 32° | Sun: 48° / 29°|
|Game Notes||MICHIGAN STATE | MICHIGAN|
|Social Media||@MSUbaseball | MichiganStateBaseball @msu_baseball|
|Game 1||Friday, April 21 | 4 p.m. ET|
|Probable Pitching Matchup||UM: TBA (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
MSU: TBA (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
|Coverage||Live Stats | Listen Live | Watch Live|
|Game 2||Saturday, April 22 | 2 p.m. ET|
|Probable Pitching Matchup||UM: TBA (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
MSU: TBA (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
|Coverage||Live Stats | Listen Live | Watch Live|
|Game 3||Saturday, April 23 | 1 p.m. ET|
|Probable Pitching Matchup||UM: TBA (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
MSU: TBA (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
|Coverage||Live Stats | Listen Live | Watch Live|
• Michigan State resumes Big Ten Conference action by heading to Ann Arbor, Mich., for a three-game weekend series at Michigan at UM’s Wilpon Complex, home of Ray Fisher Stadium, Friday-Sunday, April 21-23 … the Spartans and Wolverines open their series in Ann Arbor on Friday with first pitch slated for 4 p.m., followed by Saturday’s middle game with a 2 p.m. start time, and the series finale on Sunday at 1 p.m.
• MSU’s schedule is subject to change, stay tuned to MSUSpartans.com and @MSUBaseball on Twitter for schedule updates.
• Fans can follow the weekend action with “Watch Live,” “Listen Live” and “Live Stats” links at MSUSpartans.com.
• This weekend’s series pits two of the eight active head coaches in the Big Ten with 400 career wins, with MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. (431 wins/16th year) and UM head coach Tracy Smith (824 wins/26th year).
• For the seventh-straight year, the Spartan Media Network will carry a live audio stream for all home and select road Spartan baseball games this season … The broadcast will be available exclusively at MSUSpartans.com by clicking on “Listen Live” on the baseball schedule … Broadcast veteran Scott Moore calls the action, with Spartan baseball alum Jim Cotter providing analysis.
• Wednesday wrapped up MSU’s season-long five-game homestand at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field, and Wednesday’s loss to Purdue Fort Wayne snapped the Spartans’ four-game home streak as well as their overall six-game win streak … before Wednesday’s loss, the Spartans had won the previous four home games, beating Oakland, 8-3, on April 12, then swept Western Illinois in a weekend series, winning the opener, 10-9, on Friday, April 14, rallying from down 8-3 in the sixth inning, then taking the twinbill on Saturday, April 15, in a pair of run-rule shortened games, winning game one, 12-2 in seven innings, and game two, 11-1 in eight innings, withstanding a 1-hour, 4-minute weather delay in the top of the eighth inning.
• The Spartans had matched their season-long win streak at six games, earlier winning six contests from March 10-22, before the April 8-15 win spurt … Wednesday’s loss denied MSU a seven-game win streak, which would have been its longest since an eight-game win streak in 2016 (March 5-18).
It has been just over two months since the mass shooting on the East Lansing campus on the night of Monday, Feb. 13, when three MSU students were killed and five were hospitalized. Michigan State University canceled classes the remainder of the week following the deaths of the three students – juniors Arielle Anderson and Alexandria Verner and sophomore Brian Fraser.
Michigan State players are wearing “Spartan Strong” stickers on their helmets in a tribute of the three lives lost and for the five students still hospitalized, and several players have personal tributes as well.
Classes resumed on Monday, Feb. 20.
MEDIA ADVISORY (when discussing the events of Monday, Feb. 13)
• Can describe the shooting that happened on Feb. 13 as “The violence the Michigan State community experienced.”
• Refrain from or be spare with the use of adjectives: Horrific, senseless, devastating, etc.
• Please use “students” instead of “victims.”
• Referring to this event as “a tragedy” is okay. Saying “tragic loss of life” is also okay.
WINNING LIKE ITS 2016
Michigan State won its 20th game of the season on April 12, with an 8-3 win over Oakland, reaching 20 wins the fastest since 2016, when MSU was 20-5 after a win on April 8 … the Spartans’ current 23-11 (.676) record is also their best winning percentage through 34 games since 2016’s 26-8 (.848) mark.
SPARTAN WINNING WAYS
Despite having its six-game win streak halted with Wednesday night’s loss, Michigan State has won six of its last seven, as part of going 7-3 in the last 10 games, winning 12 of its last 15 and 18 of the last 22 and is now 23-11 on the season.
ONE OF HOTTEST TEAMS IN B1G
Michigan State’s six-game win streak entering Wednesday was the longest active streak in the Big Ten at the time, and now Indiana and Purdue own the longest active win streak at four games … MSU’s 7-3 record in the last 10 is tied for the best in the B1G, matched by Indiana and Rutgers.
MSU IN GREAT LAKES STATE BATTLES
• This weekend’s three games at Michigan are games five, six and seven of nine scheduled games against six in-state foes … MSU has already beat Western Michigan twice (7-3 on March 22 in East Lansing; 8-6 on March 28 at Kalamazoo), and Oakland once (8-3, on April 12 in East Lansing) … after this weekend’s three games at Michigan, MSU will also host both Eastern Michigan (May 10) and Central Michigan (May 16), along with an exhibition against the Lansing Lugnuts in the Crosstown Showdown (April 4).
• The Spartans have 19 players on its 2023 roster from the state of Michigan … the Wolverines have 13 Michiganders on their roster.
This weekend’s series has several connections between Michigan State and Michigan:
• Current MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. was on the Michigan staff from 2004-07, before becoming head coach at Eastern Michigan for the 2008 season, prior to taking over at Michigan State in 2009 … Boss was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Michigan from 2004-07, as the Wolverines made NCAA Regional appearances all three seasons … Boss was a member of the staff that led the Wolverines to three straight 40-win campaigns, with a 42-19 record in 2005, a 43-21 mark in 2006 and a 42-19 finish in 2007 … Michigan won the 2006 and 2007 Big Ten regular-season titles, and claimed an NCAA Regional title in 2007 by upsetting top-seeded Vanderbilt to advance to the school’s first-ever Super Regional.
• Spartan director of player development Adam Eaton and Michigan head coach Tracy Smith are both alums of Miami (Ohio) … Eaton graduated in 2010, and during his collegiate career at Miami, Eaton was a two-time All-Mid-American Conference honoree, earning first-team accolades in 2009 and second-team honors in 2010 … Eaton also earned second-team All-Mideast Region recognition in both 2009 and 2010 … Eaton is still Miami’s single-season triples record holder with nine in 2010, along with the career record holder with 18 from 2008-10, in addition to several other career and single-season marks in the RedHawk record book … Eaton also holds the Miami single-game record for both hits and runs, with six of each in a game at Furman on Feb. 20, 2010 … Eaton played in MLB for 10 seasons (2012-21), before retiring prior to the 2022 season, including winning the World Series with the Washington Nationals in 2019.
Smith graduated in 1989 and earned his master’s from Miami (Ohio) in 1992 … he was a four-year letterwinner as a pitcher and infielder at Miami before playing three seasons in the Chicago Cubs organization … Smith served as an assistant coach with the RedHawks from 1993-94, before doing to Indiana to be the pitching coach from 1995-96, returning to Miami to become the head coach in 1997, coaching the RedHawks for nine season, posting a 317-220-1 record.
• UM junior catcher Gabe Sotres transferred to Michigan after four seasons at MSU, where he was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, playing in 35 games, making 29 starts at catcher … Sotres missed the entire 2022 season with an injury suffered in preseason, but played in 28 games with 23 starts in 2021, and in seven games with six starts in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
MSU-UM SERIES HISTORY
The Spartans and Wolverines have the longest history and most-played series history in program history for both teams, having played 328 games entering this weekend … UM and MSU first played in 1884 in East Lansing … The Wolverines lead the all-time series, 215-111-2 … MSU won this season’s first meeting, in the Spartans’ season-opener and the Wolverines’ second game of the season, on Feb. 17 in the MLB Desert Invitational in Phoenix, Ariz.
• Michigan State’s season-opener on Feb. 17 against Michigan was the first time that MSU opened against UM since 1943, and overall the seventh time that the Spartans have lifted the lid on a season by taking on the Wolverines:
• The Feb. 17 match-up between MSU and UM was also just the second-ever meeting outside the state of Michigan and first since 1959 when the Spartans and Wolverines played in Tallahassee, Florida, when Michigan State won, 1-0, and the Spartans won the Feb. 17 game, 15-8, moving MSU to 2-0 vs. UM outside the state of Michigan.
DOUBLE DIP SUCCESS
• Last Saturday’s doubleheader vs. Western Illinois was MSU’s sixth twinbill this season, including fourth in the last five weekends … the Spartans are now 10-2 in doubleheaders, winning the last three games after the loss in the first game vs. OSU on April 8 snapping a six-game win streak in double-dips, as MSU had swept its three previous doubleheaders.
BIG B1G BEGINNING TO LEAGUE PLAY
• Michigan State has opened Big Ten action with a 6-3 record, the best start to conference action since 2016 when MSU started 7-2 … the Spartans have won three-straight series in as many weekends to open B1G play, after only winning one conference series in 2022, and also marking the first time since 2016 that MSU has won its first three series of league play … Michigan State has six conference games already, which is only two shy of last year’s B1G win total, as MSU was 8-16 in conference competition last year.
A LOOK BACK AT LAST WEEKEND
• Michigan State swept the three-game non-conference series vs. Western Illinois, rallying from an 8-3 deficit in the sixth inning to win Friday’s opener, 10-9, overcoming a season-high six errors, then posted a pair of run-rule victories Saturday, winning 12-2 in seven innings and 11-1 in eight innings, that included a weather delay.
Before the clouds rolled in, it was a sun-shining bright day for MSU’s Military Appreciation Game in the second contest of the twinbwill, which included the dedication of the Military Honor Chair at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field, and a motorcycle ride-in by the Rolling Thunder group, and a special National Anthem singer and first-pitch ceremony. After wearing their traditional “throwback” uniforms for game one, the Spartans wore their new Military Appreciation Day jerseys for the Military Appreciation game.
Game two saw a 1-hour, 4-minute weather delay with two outs in the top of the eighth with MSU leading 10-1, resuming at 6:35 p.m., and Michigan State added a run in the bottom of the eighth to post its second run-rule win of the day, and third run-rule win in the last six games after a 16-3 seven-inning win over Ohio State on April 8.
MSU won game one Saturday with 12 runs on 12 hits, while winning the second game with 11 runs on 14 hits, along with getting solid pitching and defense all day.
In game one, sophomore Harrison Cook went 6.2 IP, scattering six hits, with two runs, one walk and three Ks, earning the win to improve to 4-2 on the season. In game two, junior Nick Powers went 7.2 innings of efficient baseball, and only Mother Nature could slow him down, as he did not return after the weather delay, following his three-hit, one-run, one-walk and four-strikeout outing, moving to 3-0 with the win after the career-long tying outing of 7.2 IP, matching an outing on April 11, 2021 vs. Purdue.
After six errors in Friday night’s wild, 10-9 win as MSU rallied from down 8-3 in the sixth, the Spartans had zero miscues in Saturday’s twinbill.
The two wins Saturday run MSU’s win streak to six in a row and improving to 23-10 on the season, having won 12 of the last 13, going 18-3 in the last 21 games.
The Spartans improved to 9-2 at home this season, boosted by 5-0 this week along, and were treated to another solid fan support, with 1,935 Green & White fans throughout the busy day on MSU’s campus that included the Izzo Legacy Run/Walk/Roll, Spartan Football Kickoff, a softball doubleheader, women’s tennis action and MSU Student Admitted Day.
Junior outfielder Jack Frank was 6-for-8 on the day with five RBI and five runs scored, knocking a double and a home run in each game, finishing the day with four of his six hits going for extra bases. Sophomore catcher/infielder Bryan Broecker went back-to-back home runs with Frank in the second, with Broecker bashing a 412-foot home run into the treetops beyond left field with a homer that was 102-mph off the bat. Frank followed with a 385-foot rocket over the wall in right and into the Red Cedar River, coming off the bat at 99 mph.
Broecker finished game two going 4-for-4 with three runs and two RBI, with three HRs on the weekend after bashing two in Friday night’s win.
In Friday’s game, WIU scored a pair of runs in its first at bat, adding a run in the second. After Michigan State closed to 3-2 in the fourth, Western Illinois added two in the fifth, then MSU got one back in the fifth for a 5-3 score after five complete. The Leathernecks took an 8-3 lead with three runs in the top of the sixth.
MSU rallied with two runs in the bottom of the sixth to close to 8-5, before erupting for a five-spot in the seventh for a 10-8 lead, only to hang on for the 10-9 win after WIU scored a run in the ninth on a home run, the lone Leatherneck round-tripper on the night. MSU overcame six errors in the game, while WIU had two miscues. The Leathernecks left eight runners on base, while the Spartans stranded six.
The Spartans won the game by bashing four home runs on the night, their second four homer game in the last three outings, also knocking four HR in Tuesday’s win at Notre Dame. Half of MSU’s four home runs were hit by sophomore catcher Bryan Broecker for his first multi-HR game as a Spartan, but his fifth and sixth of the season.
BROECKER AND FRANK EARN WEEKLY AWARD RECOGNITION
• Michigan State baseball players Bryan Broecker and Jack Frank collected weekly award recognition on April 17 for their performances in MSU’s 5-0 ledger this past week of action.
Broecker was tabbed to Collegiate Baseball’s Players of the Week list, while Frank garnered Big Ten Conference Player of the Week accolades.
A sophomore catcher/third baseman from Chicago, Ill., Broecker picked up his first weekly award of the season by being named to the 11-player Collegiate Baseball’s Players of the Week list. The accolade is his second national honor, accompanying being named to the Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Award Watch List earlier this season.
Frank, a junior outfielder from Strongsville, Ohio, collected the first Big Ten award of his career.
Broecker posted a slash line of .467 / .556 / 1.267 and knocked four home runs on the week, including two in Friday’s comeback win for his first career two-HR game, helping MSU rally from down 8-3 in sixth inning for a 10-9 win over Western Illinois.
He was also 4-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored in Saturday’s second game of the DH, as the Spartans swept the twinbill and the weekend series over the Leathernecks, winning the doubleheader, 12-2 in seven innings and 11-1 in eight innings. The game included an hour and four-minute weather delay in the top of the eighth inning. The Spartan sophomore finished the weekend going 6-for-9 with half of his hits going for home runs, driving in five and scoring seven runs, drawing three walks. For the week, Broecker was 7-for-15 with six RBI and eight runs scored in playing in four of the five games.
Broecker played both catcher and third base last week, playing both in the Notre Dame game on Tuesday, while playing catcher in Friday’s contest, and game two of the DH vs. Western Illinois on Saturday, including throwing out a potential base stealer, adding to his Big Ten lead for runners caught stealing, now at 14, six more than the No. 2 position.
Frank tallied a slash line of .588 / .682 / 1.118, logging 10 total hits in the five games, helping MSU go 5-0 as part of a six-game winning streak, averaging 2.0 hits, 1.6 RBI and 1.6 runs per game, boosted by going 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored in game one of Saturday’s 12-2 seven-inning run-rule victory over Western Illinois, hitting a HR in each game of the twinbill.
The junior outfielder notched at least one hit in each game, including multiple hits in three of the five games, highlighted by three hits in both games of Saturday’s twin bill.
Frank started the week going 1-for-3 with two runs in MSU’s win at Notre Dame Tuesday night, then went 2-for-3 with two RBI vs. Oakland on Wednesday, followed by 1-for-3 with an RBI and run scored in Friday’s comeback win over Western Illinois, helping MSU rally from down 8-3 in the sixth for a 10-9 win. He then went 6-for-8 with five RBI and five runs scored, belting a HR and a double in each game of Saturday’s DH sweep of WIU. Frank was 3-for-4 with a HR and a double in each game with three RBI and two runs scored in game one’s 12-2 seven-inning win, followed by 3-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored in game two’s 11-1 eight-inning run-rule shortened game.
Broecker and Frank jacked back-to-back HRs in the second inning of game two of Saturday’s DH. Frank also drew two walks and was hit by a pitch three times, along with a stolen base.
• The Wolverines are 19-17 overall and 7-5 in B1G action … last time out, Michigan lost at home to Toledo, 10-7, Wednesday night after leading 6-1 from the third to the fifth innings, when the Rockets added two in the fifth and four in the sixth for a 7-6 lead … UM scored a run in the bottom of the sixth to tie it at 7-7, but then Toledo added three in the top of the seventh for the 10-7 final score.
Two Wolverines are hitting over .300, led by freshman outfelder Jonathan Kim at .386 with 22 RBI, adding six doubles, one triple and three HR, posting a team-high .580 slugging percentage to go with a .433 on-base percentage … graduate infielder Jack Van Remortel is hitting .305 with a team-leading nine doubles, adding one triple and two home runs to go with 17 RBI … junior infielder Ted Burton leads UM with 29 RBI and six HR, adding seven doubles, with a .280 average.
On the mound, junior lefty Connor O’Halloran has a staff-best 2.42 ERA with a 6-2 record in 10 appearances with nine starts, logging 71 strikeouts to just 14 walks in 63.1 IP, holding the opposition to a paltry .195 BAA … freshman pitcher/infielder Mitch Voit is UM’s top reliever with a 3.22 ERA with a 2-0 record in 12 appearances with three saves, tallying 15 K and eight BB in 22.1 IP and opponents are batting .244 against him.
Michigan head coach Tracy Smith is in his first year leading the Wolverines, but is familiar with the Big Ten, as he spent nine seasons at Indiana, posting a 287-237 mark with the Hoosiers … overall, Smith is in his 26th season as a collegiate head coach, amassing a 824-629-1 record.
BOSS EARNS 400TH VICTORY FOR MSU IN SPARTANS’ WIN FRIDAY
• Michigan State baseball head coach Jake Boss Jr. earned his 400th Victory for MSU in the Spartans’ 7-1 win over Ohio State on April 7 at Jackson Field.
Boss becomes just the third Michigan State baseball coach to reach 400 Victories for MSU.
Boss joins John H. Kobs (576 wins; 1935-63) and Danny Litwhiler (489 wins; 1964-82) as the only Spartan baseball head coaches with 400 wins at Michigan State.
400 FOR BOSS
• MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. earned his 400th win at Michigan State in the Spartans’ 7-1 win over Ohio State on April 7, 2023 at Jackson Field … Boss picked up career win No. 400 on April 24, 2022 with the Spartans’ 11-7 Victory for MSU at Northwestern … Boss now has 431 career wins with 406 in his 14th year at MSU (2009-pres.) after 25 wins in his lone season at Eastern Michigan (2008) … at the time of winning his 400th career win in 2022, Boss became the seventh active Big Ten head coach to reach 400 career wins and is now one of eight active B1G head coaches with 400+ career wins, becoming just the third B1G active head coach with 400 wins leading their current B1G team … Boss also became the second active NCAA Division I head coach in the state of Michigan, joining close friend and former assistant coach Billy Gernon at Western Michigan, now with 419 (262 in his 13th season at WMU (2011-pres.) and 157 in nine seasons at Purdue Fort Wayne (2000-08), and is now one of three in the state, joined by first-year Michigan head coach Tracy Smith … Boss also became the 103rd active Division I head coach to reach 400 career wins.
The 2023 season-opener vs. Michigan under Tracy Smith was the first of four B1G opponents this season under the leadership of a head coach with over 400 career wins, as MSU played at Rutgers and Steve Owens (March 31-April 2), at Michigan and Smith again (this weekend, April 21-23) … MSU will also play at Iowa and Rich Heller (May 12-14), at Illinois and Dan Hartleb (May 5-7) … Michigan State doesn’t play Minnesota and the Dean of the B1G coaches in John Anderson, nor playing Penn State and Rob Cooper.
Current Big Ten Head Coaches By Career Wins (as of 4/20/23)
John Anderson – Minnesota 1,357
Steve Owens – Rutgers 1,007
Rich Heller – Iowa 992
Tracy Smith – Michigan 824
Dan Hartleb – Illinois 522
Rob Cooper – Penn State 479
Jim Foster – Northwestern 436
Jake Boss Jr. – Michigan State 431
Current Big Ten Head Coaches By Wins At Current B1G Team (as of 4/20/23)
John Anderson – Minnesota 1,357
Dan Hartleb – Illinois 522
Jake Boss Jr. – Michigan State 406
Rich Heller – Iowa 302
Rob Cooper – Penn State 192
Rob Vaughn – Maryland 165
Jeff Mercer – Indiana 126
Steve Owens – Rutgers 93
Will Bolt – Nebraska 85
Greg Goff – Purdue 70
Tracy Smith – Michigan 19 (287 at Indiana (2006-14)
Bill Mosiello – Ohio State 20
Jim Foster – Northwestern 6
• With his 400th win at Michigan State, Boss became just the third Spartan head coach to reach 400 Victories for MSU.
Michigan State Baseball Coaches By Wins (as of 4/20/23)
John H. Kobs 576 1935-63 (39)
Daniel W. Litwhiler 489 1964-82 (19)
Jake Boss Jr. 406 2009-pres. (14th)
Thomas W. Smith 377 1983-95 (13)
Ted Mahan 256 1996-2005 (10)
NO STEALS FOR YOU
• Individually, sophomore catcher Bryan Broecker leads the B1G with 14 caught stealing by, six more than the No. 2 spot in the league, Thomas Bramley of Penn State and Riley Swenson of Minnesota, tied for second with eight apiece.
HOME RUNS AND RUNS GALORE
• Michigan State blasted five round-trippers on the way to a 19-10 Victory for MSU at Charleston Southern on March 4.
• The five Spartan home runs was their most since knocking eight round-trippers on March 26, 2017 at Illinois.
• The 19 runs at CSU was MSU’s most runs since scoring 22 vs. UNC Greensboro (W, 22-16) on Feb. 25, 2017.
• Michigan State bashed four home runs twice in a span of three games, doing so in the win at Notre Dame on April 11, including what proved to be the game-winner from junior infielder Brock Vradenburg in the top of the 11th, and again three days later with four against Western Illinois on April 14 in the rally from down 8-3 for the 10-9 win … the four home runs at Notre Dame and vs. Western Illinois marked MSU’s sixth and seventh games this season with multiple home runs, before adding two homers in each of Saturday’s DH games.
• Prior to the four homers vs. Western Illinois, the previous four marks were all away from home … the Spartans had a season-high five at Charleston Southern (March 4), four at Notre Dame (April 11), and three at Presbyterian (Feb. 26), vs. Wofford (March 8) in a neutral site game, and at Western Michigan (March 28), adding two at Rutgers on April 2, before the four round-trippers vs. Western Illinois (April 14)
• Junior outfielder Jack Frank leads all active Spartans with 16 career home runs, including 10 career solo home runs … twice Frank has been the second half of back-to-back home runs with teammates, first doing so at Western Michigan on March 28 with teammate Sam Busch, smacking a solo shot after Busch blasted a two-run HR, then doing so again vs. Western Illinois in the second inning of the second game of the DH on April 15, following Bryan Broecker’s solo homer with #FrankJack into the Red Cedar River over and beyond the right field wall … Frank also had a solo homer in the first game of the Western Illinois DH for a two-HR day … Frank had 11 home runs of the solo or two-run variety before the first three-run round-tripper of his career on March 4 at Charleston Southern.
• Junior infielder Brock Vradenburg knocked two homers in the Charleston weekend, vaulting him from fifth on the active HR list with six to temporarily tie for second with senior outfielder Casey Mayes with eight four-baggers, and Vradenburg now is three behind Frank with 13 after his solo HR at Notre Dame on April 11 … both of Vradenburg’s home runs in Charleston were of the two-run variety, and he now is tied with Mayes for the lead among active Spartans in two-run HRs each with five … on the season, Vradenburg now leads the team with eight HR, as part of 13 total career homers, blasting his team-leading seventh at Rutgers on April 2 before his eighth homer of the year on April 11 at Notre Dame.
• Sophomore catcher Bryan Broecker leap-frogged his way up the HR team list in one week, blasting four in a span of four games from April 11-15, going from three HR to second on the team list with seven homers … Broecker belted a solor homer at Notre Dame on April 11, before his first collegiate two-HR outing vs. Western Illinois on April 14, with a two-run homers in the fourth frame and a solo blast in the sixth, helping MSU rally from down 8-3 going into the bottom of the sixth for the 10-9 win … Broecker finished off the four-HR week with a solo homer vs. WIU on April 15 in the second inning, the first half of a back-to-back with teammate Jack Frank.
• Junior infielder Dillon Kark crushed his third round-tripper of the season on March 19 at Indiana State, and his sixth career, but it was his first two-run homer … Kark now has four homers, with a two-run round-tripper vs. Ohio State on April 8.
• Redshirt-sophomore designated hitter and East Lansing native Sam Busch bashed a two-run home run in the fourth inning of game two against Purdue on March 26, crushing a shot over the wall in right and into the Red Cedar River for his first home run at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field … Busch now has four home runs on the season, with three of them going for the two-run variety, before knocking a solo homer at Rutgers on April 2.
• Senior catcher Sam Thompson belted his first HR as a Spartan and just his second collegiate home run with a solo shot at Western Michigan on March 28 … Thompson is the eighth different Spartan with a round-tripper this season … Thompson added a solo homer vs. Western Illinois on April 15.
• Junior outfielder Greg Ziegler cracked the first HR of his Spartan career in the Spartan win at Notre Dame on April 11 … Ziegler added a solo homer to lead off seventh stanza vs. Western Illinois on April 14.
• Junior infielder Trent Farquhar knocked his first HR of the season and the eighth of his Spartan career, leading off the top of the eighth.
• With Ziegler and Farquhar’s first HRs of the season, a total of 10 different Spartans now have at least one HR this season, as MSU has 31 home runs.
DOUBLE-DIGITS IN HITS AND RUNS AND HIIIIIIITTTS AND RUUUUUNNNNNSSSS COLUMNS
• MSU has posted double-digit runs in 11 games this season, having a season-long streak of three games in a row halted with single-digit hits in Wednesday’s loss to Purdue Fort Wayne.
–15 runs vs. Michigan on Feb. 17 in season-opener
–13 runs at USC Upstate on Feb. 24
–Season-high 19 runs at Charleston Southern on March 4
–10 runs vs. Kansas on March 11
–10 runs at Indiana State in G2 of DH on March 19
–12 runs vs. Purdue in G2 of DH on March 26
–10 runs at Rutgers on April 1
–16 runs vs. Ohio State in G2 of DH on April 8
–10, 12 and 11 runs vs. Western Illinois in three-game series April 14-15.
–Michigan State is 11-0 when scoring double-digit runs.
• The Spartans had a streak of double-digits hits halted at seven-straight games with only seven in the game vs. Western Michigan on March 22 and then had their first back-to-back game with single-digit hits with only nine in game one of the series vs. Purdue, but then got back on track with 10 and 13 hits in games two and three, respectively, and added 11 hits at Western Michigan on March 28, before coming up one hit shy in each of the three contests at Rutgers March 31-April 2 … after five games with single-digit hits, the Spartans got back to their double-figure hit ways and are currently on a six-game streak with double-digits in the hit column with 16 vs. Ohio State in G2 of the DH on April 8, 14 at Notre Dame on April 11, 10 vs. Oakland a day later, then 10, 12 and 14 hits in the three games vs. Western Illinois April 14-15 … overall, MSU has had 10+ hits a total of 22 total times in the 33 games this season:
–Season-high 19 hits at Charleston Southern on March 4
–18 hits vs. Michigan on Feb. 17
–16 hits vs. Ohio State in G2 of DH on April 8
–15 hits (three times): vs. Fresno State on Feb. 19, at Grand Canyon on Feb. 20 and vs. Wofford on March 8
–14 hits (four times): both games of DH at Indiana State on March 19; at Notre Dame on April 11; vs. Western Illinois on April 15
–13 hits vs. Purdue in G2 of DH on March 26
–12 hits at USC Upstate on Feb. 24; vs. Western Illinois on April 15
–11 hits (four times): at Presbyterian on Feb. 26; vs. Air Force on March 6 and vs. Kansas on March 11; at Western Michigan on March 28.
–10 hits (four times): vs. Western Carolina in both meetings on March 10 and March 11; vs Purdue in G1 of DH on March 26; vs. Oakland on April 12; vs. Western Illinois on April 14
–MSU is 19-3 when posting double-digit hits.
• Michigan State has posted both double-digit hits and runs in 10 games:
–15 runs on 18 hits vs. Michigan on Feb. 17 in season-opener
–13 runs on 12 hits at USC Upstate on Feb. 24
–Season-high 19 runs on season-high 19 hits at Charleston Southern on March 4
–10 runs on 10 hits vs. Kansas on March 11
–10 runs on 14 hits in G2 of DH at Indiana State on March 19
–12 runs on 13 hits in G2 of DH vs. Purdue on March 26
–16 runs on 16 hits in G2 of DH vs. Ohio State on April 8
–10 runs on 10 hits vs. Western Illinois on April 14
–12 runs on 12 hits of G1 of DH vs. Western Illinois on April 15
–11 runs on 14 hits of G2 of DH vs. Western Illinois on April 15
–Michigan State is 10-0 when posting double-digit runs and double-digit hits in same game.
MSU TEAM NOTES
• Michigan State is hitting .313 as a team, which is second in the Big Ten and ranks 21st in the NCAA … MSU is also third in the conference and 48th in the country in slugging percentage (.497).
• The Spartans are also fourth in the B1G and rank 59th in the NCAA in hits with 368.
• MSU tops the B1G and ranks third in the NCAA in total triples (19), while also leading the league and ranking third in the nation in triples per game (0.56).
• The Spartans are third in the B1G and 62nd in the country in stolen bases (55) and also third in the league and 52nd in the nation in stolen bases per game (1.62).
• Michigan State ranks seventh in the league in total runs (261) and eighth in doubles (64).
• Michigan State is averaging 10.8 hits and 7.7 runs per game.
• MSU’s pitching staff is fourth in the B1G in walks allowed per nine innings (4.38), while ranking sixth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (1.84) and 10th in strikeouts per nine innings (8.1).
SPARTAN PLAYER NOTES
• MSU’s bats are led by their infield, as first baseman Brock Vradenburg tops the team with a .418 average, while second baseman/shortstop Trent Farquhar is second at .390.
• Infielders also make up three of the top five leaders in runs scored in Vradenburg (1st-44) Farquhar (2nd-41) and junior shortstop Mitch Jebb (5th-25) … Spartan infielders also have three of top five team marks for RBI, in Vradenburg (1st-43), back-up first baseman/DH Sam Busch (3rd-29) and Farquhar (5th-24) … infielders also have three spots for total bases in Vradenburg (1st-103), Farquhar (2nd-72) and Busch (5th-55).
• Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List member, junior first baseman Brock Vradenburg leads the B1G and ranks 20th in the NCAA in batting average (.418) … Vradenburg also ranks second in the B1G and 12th in the NCAA in hits per game (1.74), while also ranking tops in the conference and 17th in the country overall in hits (59) … the Spartan first baseman also is fourth in the B1G in on-base + slugging pct (OPS) at 1.230 … Vradenburg also is third the B1G and 48th in the NCAA in on-base percentage (.500), along with ranking fourth in the league and 55th in the nation in slugging percentage (.730), as well as tied for 11th in the conference in home runs (8) … he also ranks fourth in the league and 36th in the nation in total bases (103) … he is also sixth in the B1G and 60th in the NCAA in RBI (43), while ranking fourth in the league and 50th in the country in RBI/game (1.26) … he also is third in the B1G and 47th in the NCAA, leading the team in runs (44), just ahead of teammate Trent Farquhar (41) … Vradenburg is also 11th in the B1G in toughest to strikeout (8.0 AB per K) … he also is tied for the league lead and 18th in the nation in triples with teammate Mitch Jebb (4), just ahead of teammates Sam Busch and Casey Mayes (3).
• Junior second baseman Trent Farquhar is second in the B1G and 43rd in the NCAA in doubles (14), along with second in the league and ranking 45th in the nation in doubles per game (0.41) … Farquhar also is fourth in the league and 56th in the nation in batting average (.390), and also third in the B1G and 48th in the NCAA in on-base percentage (.488) … additionally, he ranks sixth in the conference in runs (41), just behind teammate Brock Vradenburg (44), and also ranking sixth in the league in runs per game (1.21) … Farquhar is also third in the B1G in toughest to strikeout (9.4 AB per K), with just 15 strikeouts in 141 ABs … the Spartan second baseman is also fifth in the conference and 53rd in the country in hits (55), while ranking third in the B1G and 29th in the NCAA in hits per game (1.62).
• Junior infielder Mitch Jebb is tied for the B1G-lead and tied for 18th in the NCAA in triples with four, matching teammate Brock Vradenburg, and just ahead of teammates Sam Busch/Casey Mayes (3) and Jacob Anderson (2) … Jebb also leads the league and ranks 18th in the nation in triples per game (0.14) … Jebb is also fourth in the B1G and 84th in the NCAA in toughest to strikeout (9.4 AB per K) … the Spartan shortstop is also tied for 11th in the league in stolen bases per game (0.36), with 10 swipes in 29 games played, ranking 11th in the B1G in total stolen bases (10).
• Senior outfielder Casey Mayes is tied with teammate Sam Busch for second on the team and third in the B1G in triples (3), while ranking tied for sixth in the league in triples per game (0.09) … Mayes also is eighth in the conference in stolen bases (12) and tied for 11th in stolen bases per game (0.36).
• Behind the plate, Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Award Watch List honoree sophomore catcher Bryan Broecker tops the B1G in caught stealing by (14), six more than the No. 2 spot … at the plate, Broecker is now 10th in on-base percentage (.472), ninth in on-base + slugging pct (OPS) at 1.098, and 11th in slugging percentage (.626) … the Spartan catcher is also 12th in the league in home runs (7).
• Junior outfielder Jack Frank is fourth in the B1G in stolen bases (15) and fifth in stolen bases per game (0.44) … Frank also is tied for ninth in the league in getting hit by a pitch (9) … additionally, he is tied for 11th in RBI (31) and tied for 20th in home runs (6).
• Freshman pitcher Joseph Dzierwa, last week’s B1G Freshman of the Week, is tied for sixth in the B1G in wins with four … he also is 11th in the B1G in walks allowed per nine innings (2.49), along with 12th in the conference in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.92) … he also is tied for sixth in the league in innings pitched (47.0), and is just outside the top 10 in the conference in strikeouts, leading the Spartan staff with 38.
• Senior pitcher Andrew Carson is also tied for ninth in the league in batters SO looking (14) … redshirt-sophomore pitcher Harrison Cook is tied for sixth in the B1G in wins (4).
• Senior relief pitcher Wyatt Rush is second in the B1G and ranks tied for 15th in the NCAA in saves (7).
RUSH-ING UP RECORD LISTS
Senior relief pitcher Wyatt Rush currently has seven saves, which is second in the Big Ten and ranks tied for 15th in the NCAA.
Rush posted just two saves in 21 appearances in all of 2022 as part of only two total saves in 38 previous appearances through his first three years on the Spartan staff … Rush registered five saves in eight appearances in March of 2023 season alone, and now with seven saves on the year, has cracked MSU’s single-season top 10 list … the five saves would’ve led the Big Ten in saves overall and the five saves in the month would lead the Big Ten overall on its own at that point of the season.
Now with nine career saves, Rush has also moved into MSU’s career top 10 saves list, joining former teammate Indigo Diaz as part of a seven-way tie for the No. 10 spot … Diaz is currently in the NY Yankees minor league program and pitched for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic.
SOMETHING HAD TO GIVE AND IT GAVE IN THE SPARTANS’ FAVOR
• Michigan State entered the opening weekend of B1G play leading the league with 12 caught stealing by, while Purdue led the league in stolen bases, with 50 (2.6 per game) … when the dust settled, the Spartan pitchers, catchers and defense didn’t allow a stolen base to Purdue, with zero in three games … meanwhile, the Spartans were 6-of-7 swiping bases, including two each by junior infielder Mitch Jebb, senior outfielder Casey Mayes and junior outfielder Jack Frank.
DOUBLE THE WALK-OFFS FOR KARK
Junior infielder Dillon Kark has a walk-off inside-the-park home run to complete Michigan State’s comeback in a 6-5 Victory for MSU over Western Carolina on March 10 in the opening game of the 2023 First Pitch Invitational at Fluor Field in Greenville.
• Kark smacked his second walk-off home run in as many seasons, with a walk-off over-the-fence home run variety on March 18, 2022 for a 4-3 win over Houston Baptist, and Kark was also the last Spartan with a walk-off home run, and the last walk-off Victory for MSU was two days later, also over Houston Baptist, and matching Friday’s score of 6-5.
MAYES TRIPLING WAY UP RECORD LIST
Senior outfielder Casey Mayes has three triples on the season, with his second of the season coming in Greenville and his third of the year coming in the Western Illinois game on April 14 … Mayes now has 12 triples for his career, tying for the No. 3 spot with Dave Veres (1991-94).
VRADENBURG ON 2023 GOLDEN SPIKES AWARD MIDSEASON WATCH LIST
• Michigan State baseball’s Brock Vradenburg has been named to the 2023 Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List, announced April 5 by USA Baseball, continuing the process of identifying the top amateur baseball player in the country … The list features 45 of the nation’s best athletes from both college and high school baseball … Vradenburg is one of only two players from Big Ten Conference teams on the 45-player list, joined by Iowa pitcher Brody Brecht.
Twenty-four athletes have played their way onto the list since the announcement of the Preseason Watch List on February 10. The Golden Spikes Award Advisory Board will continue maintaining a rolling list of athletes throughout the season, allowing players to play themselves into consideration for the award before the announcement of the semifinalists on May 22.
Vradenburg, a junior infielder from Pasadena, Calif., leads the B1G and ranks 12th in the NCAA in batting average (.442) … Vradenburg also leads the B1G and ranks fifth in the NCAA in hits per game (1.84), while also leading the conference and 23rd in the country overall in hits (46) … the Spartan first baseman also leads the B1G in on-base + slugging pct (OPS) at 1.294 … Vradenburg also tops the B1G and ranks 29th in the NCAA in on-base percentage (.525) along with ranking second in the league and 37th in the nation in slugging percentage (.769), as well as tied for sixth in the conference in home runs (7) … he also ranks fourth in the league and 39th in the nation in total bases (80).
He is also fourth in the B1G and 62nd in the NCAA in RBI (34), while ranking fourth in the league and 39th in the country in RBI/game (1.36) … he also is third in the B1G and leads the team in runs (33), just ahead of teammate Trent Farquhar (29) … Vradenburg is also third in the B1G in toughest to strikeout (10.4 AB per K) … he also is tied for fifth in the league in triples (2), matching teammate Casey Mayes and trailing co-league leaders teammates Sam Busch and Mitch Jebb (3).
DZIERWA TABBED B1G FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
• Michigan State’s Joseph Dzierwa collected the Big Ten Freshman of the Week Award, the league office announced on April 10.
A native of Haskins, Ohio, Dzierwa picked up the first B1G weekly honor of his MSU career. The Spartan southpaw went 6.0 solid innings, yielding just three hits while allowing just one run, with four walks and four strikeouts to earn the win in Michigan State’s 7-1 triumph over Ohio State on April 7 at Jackson Field. With the win, Dzierwa improved to 4-1 on the season, and helped lead the Spartans to head coach Jake Boss Jr. winning his 400th Victory for MSU.
Dzierwa was boosted by a pair of three-up, three-down frames, working a non-conventional 1-2-3 opening inning, yielding a one-out single, before inducing a 5-4-3, two-outs, one-play to end the opening frame. Dzierwa then book-ended the fourth inning with strikeouts, sandwiched around a flyout to Dresselhouse in center, who made a nice running shoe-top catch.
With the four wins, Dzierwa leads the MSU pitching staff in victories, as well as tied for fifth in the B1G in wins with four. He also is seventh in the league in innings pitched (42.2), and is just outside the top 10 in the conference in strikeouts, leading the Spartan staff with 35.
MSU’S BROECKER ON BUSTER POSEY NATIONAL COLLEGIATE CATCHER OF THE YEAR AWARD WATCH LIST
• Michigan State catcher Bryan Broecker was tabbed to the Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Award Watch List, announced by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission.
Broecker, a sophomore from Chicago, Ill., is one of four Big Ten catchers on the 65-player list, joined by Ohio State senior Cole Andrews, Nebraska sophomore Josh Caron, Indiana senior Matthew Ellis, as well as only one of 10 sophomores on the list.
“Bryan is an outstanding leader, and he is an extremely hard worker, who just continues to get better and better,” MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “Last season, he led the Big Ten by throwing out 22 potential base-stealers, and had a very good year behind the plate for us last year and we expect that to continue into the 2023 season.”
Last season, Broecker was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team, and was the Spartans’ primary catcher all season, leading the B1G in caught stealing by nabbing 22 stolen base attempts, six more than the second spot. In B1G only action, Broecker threw out 11 base stealing attempts, also leading the league and posting three more than the number two spot.
At the plate, Broecker hit .271 overall, ranking tied for fifth on the team, as well as fourth on the team in runs scored (31) and fifth in hits (48), along with third in hit by pitch (7).
This season, Broecker already leads the B1G with nine caught stealing, including two at Charleston Southern on March 4 and three more vs. Air Force on March 6. The nine caught stealing by is four more than the next-best mark in the B1G. Broecker is also hitting .302 at the plate with two HR, one triple and one double, logging eight RBI.
PROFESSIONAL STADIUM EXPERIENCE
• The Spartans played in their fourth different professional stadium on the night April 4 at Jackson® Field™ home of the Lansing Lugnuts, the High-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s in the 2023 Crosstown Showdown, and were topped in a seven-inning exhibition by a 12-3 final score.
The 2023 season opened with three games of the MLB Desert Invitational for MSU’s first games played in two different professional stadiums … overall, MSU is slated to now play seven official games and one exhibition contest in four different professional stadiums.
The Spartans also played four games at their home-away-from-home, Fluor Field, in Greenville, S.C., home of the Greenville Drive, taking on Wofford (March 8), then hosting the 2023 First Pitch Invitational on March 10-12 against Western Carolina and Kansas, having the final game vs. Kansas on March 12 rained out.
Last season, MSU played in five different professional stadiums, and playing 15 official games, along with one exhibition contest.
The Spartans played at US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings, for the Minnesota Cambria Classic, for the first meeting with Notre Dame on March 5, along with Kansas (March 4) and West Virginia (March 6), going 2-1 … MSU also played at its home-away-from-home, Fluor Field, in Greenville, S.C., home of the Greenville Drive, March 9 & 10-13, going 2-2.
The Spartans played the Lansing Lugnuts in the Crosstown Showdown on April 6 at Jackson Field (L, 3-2 in exhibition), and then Michigan State returned to Jackson Field on April 15 to take on Michigan in the Capital Clash, losing the in-state battle … MSU also played No. 12 Notre Dame at Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers on April 26, winning 6-2.
Michigan State played at Penn State at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, home of the State College Spikes minor league team, losing all three ballgames with the Nittany Lions May 8-9 … MSU then played Nebraska at Hawks Field at Haymarket Park in Lincoln, home of the Lincoln Saltdogs of the American Association of Professional Baseball.
DANNY LITWHILER ELECTED TO MICHIGAN BASEBALL HALL OF FAME
• Legendary Michigan State baseball head coach Danny Litwhiler, the all-time winningest head coach in Spartan baseball history, will be joined by the all-time winningest head coach in Western Michigan baseball history, Fred Decker as the Class of 2023 for the Michigan Baseball Hall of Fame, the Hall of Fame announced Wednesday.
Decker and Litwhiler will be inducted into the Michigan Baseball Hall of Fame at Jackson® Field™ on Friday, July 7, during the Lansing Lugnuts’ game against the Lake County Captains.
The Class of 2023 was determined by vote of a nine-member committee comprising Joe Block, Mark Ditsworth, Fred Heumann, Mario Impemba, Bill Killian, Rich Maloney, Tim Staudt, Mark Uyl and Clyde Weir.
Originally founded on January 28, 2015, and housed at Jackson® Field™, the Michigan Baseball Hall of Fame’s mission is to honor the state’s baseball heroes of yesterday, celebrate the national pastime today, and inspire the baseball fans and ballplayers of tomorrow. The Hall of Fame celebrates all levels of baseball, from youth to high school to college to the Major Leagues.
A special pre-game ceremony will see Decker’s and Litwhiler’s Hall of Fame plaques revealed beyond the left field wall. The full Western Michigan and Michigan State baseball families are invited to attend.
A native of Colon, Mich., Fred Decker first made his name at Western Michigan University as a two-time All-American outfielder, taking the Broncos to the 1963 College World Series. After coaching for two seasons at Portage Central, Decker returned to Kalamazoo to join the WMU staff. He was named Western Michigan head baseball coach in 1976, going on to win 791 games, 401 in the Mid-American Conference – both marks set MAC records. Over the course of his 29 years steering the Broncos, Decker’s teams produced 95 MLB draftees. He led the Broncos to the 1982 and 1983 MAC West Division titles and the 1989 MAC championship, when he was named the MAC Coach of the Year and the Mideast Regional Coach of the Year.
Danny “Skip” Litwhiler made a name for himself through both success and invention during his 29 seasons at MSU. Following the end of his playing career, he turned to coaching, arriving in East Lansing from Florida State in 1964. Litwhiler went on to win 489 games and two Big Ten titles, making three NCAA Tournament appearances and producing 13 Major Leaguers, including Kirk Gibson, Rick Miller and Steve Garvey. He further impacted baseball by conducting clinics in over 10 countries and introducing the radar gun to gauge pitching velocity, Diamond Grit to dry wet fields and a special bat to hone bunting technique among more than 100 innovations. His coaching theory resonates to this day: Teach baseball, and then win.
For more information, visit michiganbaseballhall.org or call (517) 485-4500.
EARLY HOME OPENER
• Michigan State’s March 22 home opener date was among the earliest home-openers in program history, as the fourth-earliest date for the first home game … March 22 trails 2018’s first home game of March 15, last season’s March 18 date, and the 2009 season’s March 20 opener, which was also the scheduled start date for the 2019 opener, but was postponed due to weather.
HOME OPENER SUCCESS
• With MSU’s 8-3 win over Western Michigan on March 22, Michigan State has now won 10 of its last 11 home openers and the Spartans improved to 13-2 in their first game of the year played at McLane Stadium under head coach Jake Boss Jr. … The 2021 season’s home opening loss to Indiana snapped MSU’s eight-game home opener winning streak.
OPENING WEEK IN THE DESERT
• MSU started the season at the 2023 MLB Desert Invitational in the Phoenix, Arizona area, beginning with a 15-8 win over Michigan in the season-opener on Feb. 17, then split a day-night doubleheader with Fresno State, winning 7-4, and Arizona, losing 7-1, to wrap up the Desert Invite action … the Spartans then wrapped up the extended weekend with a 7-1 win at Grand Canyon on Monday, the same GCU team that upset No. 2 Tennessee on Saturday night … MSU playing its third game in 24 hours, after playing a day-night doubleheader on Sunday that started at 1 p.m. MT / 3 p.m. ET, beating Fresno State, 7-4, Sunday afternoon before losing to Arizona, 7-1, in the night cap, then taking on Grand Canyon in an 11 a.m. MT / 1 p.m. ET start time, before MSU flew home to East Lansing Monday evening.
CAROLINA IN MY MIND AND TRAVEL ITINERARY
• MSU’s travel theme music for three-straight weeks from Feb. 24-March 12 was James Taylor’s “Carolina In My Mind” as the Spartans played three-straight weekends in the Palmetto State.
Michigan State started its South Carolina trips in Spartanburg, S.C. area, playing in the OneSpartanburg, Inc. Baseball Classic, facing three different teams in three days, rotating with fellow visiting teams Northwestern and Toledo in playing at USC Upstate, Gardner-Webb and Presbyterian … MSU opened the weekend in an all-Spartans clash vs. USC Upstate, winning, 13-6, followed by heading to Boiling Springs, N.C. to take on Gardner-Webb on Feb. 25, dropping a 7-3 contest in the first-ever meeting between MSU and GWU … Michigan State concluded the weekend in the Spartanburg area with an 8-6 loss at Presbyterian on Feb. 26, in MSU’s first visit to Clinton since 1948.
The Spartans opened their Spring Break week in South Carolina in Charleston, S.C., losing at College of Charleston, 11-3, on Friday, March 3, before sinking the Buccaneers of Charleston Southern, 19-10, on Saturday, March 4, then losing, 10-3, back at College of Charleston on Sunday, March 5 … Air Force played those two teams on the other days that MSU was playing them, and the Spartans and Falcons met at scenic Shipyard Park on Monday, March 6 with AF winning, 7-4.
After the game on March 6, the Spartans bussed from Charleston to Greenville, arriving there Monday night at their home-away-from-home, Fluor Field, home of the Greenville Drive, the A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox … MSU played Wofford and lost in 12-9 thriller on Wednesday, March 8, as MSU rallied from being down 9-1 in the third, including a 5-run ninth inning and had the tying run in the on-deck circle when the game ended.
The Spartans hosted the 2023 First Pitch Invitational Friday-Sunday, March 10-12 at Fluor Field, opening action with a 6-5 Victory for MSU over Western Carolina on junior infielder Dillon Kark’s walk-off inside-the-park home run to lead off the bottom of the ninth, as MSU rallied from down 5-3 after the seventh inning with two runs in the eighth to tie it before Kark’s heroics for the win … the Spartans then played a split twinbill on Saturday, March 11, beating Kansas, 10-6, in the opener, knocking three triples in the first inning as part of a 5-run first frame adding a run in the second for a 6-0 lead, only to see Kansas come back and tie it with six runs in the fourth, before pulling away with a 3-run seventh and a run in the eighth … in the nightcap, MSU got a gem from sophomore pitcher Adam Berghorst with a career-high 11 Ks in 6.0 IP, more than doubling his previous career-best of five Ks, most recently done in his last outing on March 6 vs. Air Force, and first done on March 27, 2021 vs. Indiana … the 11 strikeouts by Berghorst was the first MSU pitcher with 10 or more Ks since Nick Powers rang up 10 strikeouts against the same Western Carolina and almost a year to the day on March 12, 2022 … Sunday’s finale vs. Kansas was rained out and won’t be made up.
• The 15-8 Victory for MSU over Michigan in the season-opener marked the fourth time in the last five seasons that the Spartans were victorious in their season-opener, getting back on the winning track after dropping last year’s lid-lifter at UNLV following winning the previous three openers … overall, MSU is 12-3 in the 15 season-openers under Coach Boss, only losing in 2013 vs. Furman, 2018 at Fresno State and 2022 at UNLV.
TWO MSU BASEBALL PLAYERS EARN BIG TEN WEEKLY HONORS
• Michigan State baseball players Brock Vradenburg and Dominic Pianto both collected weekly award honors from the Big Ten Conference, the league office announced on Feb. 21 for the opening week of the season. Vradenburg garnered Player of the Week accolades, while Pianto was tabbed Co-Pitcher of the Week.
Both Vradenburg and Pianto collected their first career weekly B1G honors for their performances over the weekend in Phoenix, helping MSU to a 3-1 record, marking the third-straight season that the Spartans have opened 3-1 or better. Vradenburg is MSU’s first B1G Player of the Week Award since Mitch Jebb collected the honor on March 16 of last season, while Pianto is the first Spartan to earn B1G Pitcher of the Week since Sam Benschoter on April 27, 2021.
Vradenburg, a junior from Pasadena, Calif., hit .556 (10-for-18) for the weekend with four RBI, seven runs scored, with a double and triple, and also drawing two walks. He posted a .600 on-base percentage for the weekend, along with a .722 slugging percentage, logging three hits in three of the four games and had two RBI each in a pair of games, along with scoring at least two runs in three of the four games, adding three runs in the win over Fresno State.
The Spartans’ first baseman started the season and the weekend going 3-for-5 with two ribbies and two runs scored in MSU’s emotional win over Michigan, the Spartans’ first game after the shooting on campus at MSU, as the Spartans rallied from down 5-1. He knocked in MSU first run of game with an RBI single in the first inning, then after drawing a walk in the third frame, roped a triple to the right-center gap in the fifth to spark the Spartan comeback, later scoring a run as well. In the eighth, he again sparked the rally leading off the inning with a single to center and two batters later scored the Spartans’ first run of the inning, and later batted again in the inning, reaching on an RBI fielder’s choice, part of a seven-run stanza.
Vradenburg went 3-for-4 with three runs scored in the 7-1 Victory for MSU over Fresno State, including giving MSU the 3-2 lead when he scored in the third after a walk. He also sparked a Spartan rally in the fifth with a single to lead off the frame, coming around to score from first on a double by Jack Frank, then knocked a ground-rule double in the seventh into the bullpen down the right-field line. In the ninth, he laced a single and later came around to score MSU’s final run of the game to secure the 7-4 win.
In the loss to Arizona, Vradenburg knocked his lone hit in the game with a single in the sixth.
He wrapped up the weekend going 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored in the 7-1 win over Grand Canyon, the same team that beat No. 2 Tennessee on Saturday. Vradenburg got MSU’s scoring going with an RBI single in the third inning for the Spartans’ first run of the day, and came around to score the second and last run of the inning as the Spartans took a 2-0 lead. He started the Spartan rally in the seventh by leading off with a single and came around to score on a sac fly, and capped weekend with an RBI single in the eighth.
Pianto, a redshirt-sophomore relief pitcher from Hendersonville, Tenn., came on with two on and two outs in the first inning with MSU already down 2-0 to Fresno State in Sunday’s game. He then went the remaining 8.1 innings of relief for a new career-long outing, ringing up a career-high tying four strikeouts, with just three hits and only yielding one earned run without a walk, as MSU rallied for a 7-4 triumph
The Spartan hurler rang up a total of five 3-up, 3-down innings in the eight innings he started the frame, starting with opening the second with back-to-back strikeouts, then worked around a one-out single in the fourth, another in-order inning in the fourth and fifth, ending with another K, before some defensive miscues led to Bulldog base runners in the sixth and scoring two runs, one earned, before getting out of the jam by fielding position on a comebacker and starting a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning. After retiring Fresno State in order in the seventh and eighth, he worked around a one-out single in the ninth, getting a popup and flyout to end the game and seal the Victory for MSU.
DOUBLE THE SPARTAN B1G AWARDS
• With Brock Vradenburg winning B1G Player of the Week and Dominic Pianto winning B1G Pitcher of the Week, it marked the first time since April 29, 2013 that two Spartan players collected weekly honors in the same week, when Blaise Salter collected Freshman of the Week accolades and Andrew Waszak was tabbed Pitcher of the Week … it was the first time since Feb. 28, 2011 that two Spartans won both the Player and Pitcher awards in the same week, when Brandon Ecklerle was named the Player of the Week, while Kurt Wunderlich was the Pitcher of the Week.
MICHIGAN STATE ONE OF 10 SCHOOLS WITH A CFP, MF4 AND CWS APPEARANCE
• Michigan State is one of 10 schools in the country with a College Football Playoff, Men’s Basketball Final Four appearance and a College World Series appearance, including one of three Big Ten Conference schools:
• Michigan State returns home to the McLane Stadium at Kobs Field to host Notre Dame on Tuesday, April 25 in a 6:05 p.m. first pitch.
MSU then hosts Northwestern in a three-game B1G weekend series, Friday-Sunday, April 28-30 … the series between the Spartans and Wildcats opens on Friday at 6:05 p.m., followed by Saturday’s middle game of the series at 3:35 p.m., before Sunday’s series finale at 1:05 p.m.
Michigan State’s schedule is subject to change, stay tuned to MSUSpartans.com and @MSUBaseball on Twitter for schedule updates.