|MICHIGAN STATE (29-16, 10-8 B1G) at IOWA (34-12, 10-7 B1G)|
|Location||Duane Banks Field || Iowa City, Iowa|
|Tickets||Iowa Ticket Office|
|Weather||High/Low — Fri: 81° / 61° | Sat: 83° / 58° | Sun: 69° / 49°|
|Game Notes||MICHIGAN STATE | IOWA|
|Social Media||@MSUbaseball | MichiganStateBaseball @msu_baseball|
|Game 1||Friday, May 12 – 7:05 p.m. ET / 6:05 p.m. CT|
|Probable Pitching Matchup||IOWA: #20 SO RHP Marcus Morgan (3-2, 5.08 ERA)
MSU: #16 FR LHP Joseph Dzierwa (5-2, 5.58 ERA)
|Coverage||Live Stats | Listen Live | Watch Live|
|Game 2||Saturday, May 13 – 3:05 p.m. ET / 2:05 p.m. CT|
|Probable Pitching Matchup||IOWA: #27 JR RHP Ty Langenberg (5-3, 4.42 ERA)
MSU: #41 FR RHP Nolan Higgins (4-2, 6.52 ERA)
|Coverage||Live Stats | Listen Live | Watch Live|
|Game 3||Sunday, May 14 – 2:05 p.m. ET / 1:05 p.m. CT|
|Probable Pitching Matchup||IOWA: #14 SO RHP RHP Brody Brecht (3-2, 4.39 ERA)
MSU: #46 JR LHP Nick Powers (5-1, 4.34 ERA)
|Coverage||Live Stats | Listen Live | Watch Live|
• Michigan State returns to both the road and to Big Ten Conference action, heading to Iowa City, Iowa for a three-game B1G weekend series at Iowa, Friday-Sunday, May 12-15 in MSU’s final road trip of the regular-season … the weekend series at UI’s Duane Banks Field gets going Friday night in a 7:05 p.m. ET / 6:05 p.m. CT start time … game two of the Spartans vs. Hawkeyes series is Saturday at 3:05 p.m. ET / 2:05 p.m. CT before Sunday’s series finale slated for a 2:05 p.m. ET / 1:05 p.m. CT first pitch.
• This weekend’s match-up features half of the Big Ten coaches who have 300+ wins leading their current B1G team with MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr., who enters the weekend with 412 wins with the Spartans and Iowa head coach Rick Heller, who has 310 wins with the Hawkeyes … Minnesota head coach John Anderson is the dean of B1G coaches with 1,361 wins, while Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb has 529 wins leading the Illini … Boss and Heller are also two of the eight current B1G coaches with 400+ career wins, as Heller won his 1,000th career game last weekend, while Boss has 437 wins, including 25 wins in his first season as a head coach, which came at Eastern Michigan in 2008.
• MSU’s schedule is subject to change, stay tuned to MSUSpartans.com and @MSUBaseball on Twitter for schedule updates.
• Fans can follow this weekend’s action with “Watch Live,” “Listen Live” and “Live Stats” links at MSUSpartans.com.
• 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.
It has been just shy of three 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.
SPARTANS FROM THE 29th STATE
• Michigan State has one player from the state of Iowa in junior pitcher Harrison Cook (Solon, Iowa/Cedar Rapids Prairie HS/Iowa Western CC).
• The Spartans have 19 players on its 2023 roster from the state of Michigan … Iowa has 23 players on its roster from the state of Iowa … the Spartans have the aforementioned one player from the state of Iowa … the Hawkeyes do not have any Michiganders on their roster … there will also be two Montana natives involved in this weekend’s games and both are Billings natives and both are Golden Bears alums from Billings West HS in MSU assistant athletic communications director Zach Fisher, and Iowa redshirt-junior catcher Ben Tallman.
SECOND LEG OF BACK-TO-BACK ROAD TRIPS
• This weekend at Iowa is the second half of back-to-back road weekends for B1G three-game series for the Spartans, as they played at Illinois last weekend (May 5-7).
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 … MSU’s 25 wins on April 25 are its most wins at that point of the season since 2016, when MSU was 27-10 … the Spartans’ current 29-16 (.644) record is also their most wins since 2017, matching that season’s win total, and also the best winning percentage through 45 games since 2016’s 32-13 (.711) mark … MSU is in pursuit of its first 30-win since season 2016.
SPARTAN WINNING WAYS
• Michigan State had a five-game winning streak snapped with a loss at Illinois last Friday night … that was the Spartans’ fourth winning streak of at least five games this season … despite the series loss at Illinois, with Wednesday’s win over Eastern Michigan, MSU has won 12 of its last 18 and 24 of the last 33, going 24-9 since March 8 when MSU was 5-7 … the Spartans’ 29 wins this season already topped last season’s 24 wins and is their most since winning 29 in 2017.
BIG B1G BEGINNING TO LEAGUE PLAY
• Michigan State enters this weekend’s Big Ten action with a 10-8 record, the best start to conference action since 2016 when MSU was 11-7 … the Spartans 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 … overall, MSU has won four of its six B1G series, dropping the series at Michigan, then sweeping Northwestern before losing the Illinois series … Michigan State has won 10 conference games already, topping last year’s B1G win total, as MSU was 8-16 in conference competition last year … the Spartans’ 10 B1G wins is also the their first double-digit league win total since 2021 when MSU won 17 in the B1G-only season due to COVID … the 10 B1G wins is the first time in double-digit league wins in a non-COVID impacted schedule since 2018, when MSU was 11-12 in B1G action … the Spartans are pursuing their best B1G record since 2016 when the Green & White posted a 13-11 B1G mark.
DOUBLE DIP SUCCESS
• MSU’s doubleheader against Northwestern on April 29-30 was MSU’s seventh twinbill this season, including all four home weekend series, in addition to a stretch of the fifth in the last seven weekends … with the sweep over Northwestern last weekend, the Spartans are now 12-2 in their seven doubleheaders, winning the last five games after the loss in the first game vs. OSU on April 8 snapped a six-game win streak in double-dips, as MSU had swept its three previous doubleheaders.
B1G SWEEPS A YEAR APART
• Michigan State swept Northwestern on April 29-30 for its first three-game B1G series sweep of the season and was nearly a year to the date of the Spartans’ last league sweep, taking three from Minnesota, April 29-May 1 last season.
A LOOK BACK WEDNESDAY’S MIDWEEK WIN OVER EASTERN MICHIGAN
• Junior infielder Brock Vradenburg‘s walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th inning gave Michigan State baseball an 11-10 Victory for MSU over Eastern Michigan Wednesday night, on Educator Apprecation Night at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field … Vradenburg, who is leading the Big Ten in average, and among the league leaders in almost every batting category, came to the plate with one out and the bases loaded … He lofted a ball to deep right center field, that was caught by EMU right fielder Logan Hugo, and redshirt-sophomore catcher Bryan Broecker darted in from third base after tagging up and scampered home to spark the Victory for MSU celebration with flashing lights at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field and Vradenburg’s teammates swarming him in jubilation at midfield.
Some notes from Wednesday’s win:
• The win snapped MSU’s three-game losing skein overall, moving to 29-16 overall.
• Wednesday’s win was the Spartans’ fourth in a row over the Eagles, winning 10 of the last 13 meetings, and was MSU’s 100th all-time win over EMU, now 100-61-1, including 67-32-1 in East Lansing.
• Under head coach Jake Boss Jr., MSU is 16-6 against EMU, including 9-4 in East Lansing. Boss is in his 15th year at Michigan State, after coaching one season at Eastern Michigan.
• The Spartans scored their 11 runs on 11 hits, improving to 13-0 this season when posting double-digit hits and runs in the same game.
• The walk-off win was Michigan State’s second walk-off win of the season, walking-off Western Carolina on March 10 at Greenville, winning 6-5 on Dillon Kark‘s inside-the-park walk-off home run.
• MSU also moved to 2-0 in extra-inning games this season, winning 7-6 in 11 innings at Notre Dame on April 11.
• Wednesday was the Spartans’ first 10-inning game since April 3, 2022 at Evansville, falling 5-4.
A LOOK BACK AT LAST WEEKEND
• Michigan State was defeated in a three-game series at Illinois, Friday-Sunday, May 5-7, as MSU dropped just its second Big Ten series of the year, and was swept in a three-game series of any kind for the first time this season and also lost three games in a row away from home for just the first time since early March … the sweep by Illinois was the first sweep by either team in the all-time series between the Spartans and Illini since 2017, when MSU took all three games in Champaign.
A breakdown of last weekend:
• Spartan senior outfielder Casey Mayes tied MSU’s career triples record in Saturday’s game, knocking his 14th career three-bagger to lead off the sixth inning … the 14 triples ties Mike Davidson’s 14 three-bagger from 1985-88.
• Mayes led MSU in average for the weekend, posting a .462 mark, going 6-for-13 with one double and the record-tying triple, knocking three RBI and scoring three runs.
• Junior infielder Brock Vradenburg hit .455 (5-of-11) with four RBI and a run scored, with a double … fellow junior infielder Dillon Kark hit .308 (4-for-13) with two RBI and three runs scored … another junior infielder, Mitch Jebb, knocked his first home run of the season, and was joined in the home run column by redshirt-sophomore designated hitter Sam Busch with a solo homer to lead off the second inning of Saturday’s game, while Jebb knocked a two-run HR in the eighth also of Saturday’s ballgame … Jebb finished the weekend with a team-best .700 slugging percentage, going 3-for-10, with a double and a homer.
• Illinois hit 14 HR on the weekend, including six on Sunday.
HIGH-SCORING STREAK STOPPED
• After entering the weekend with just two losses when scoring six or more runs and winning 21-straight games when scoring 6+ runs, MSU lost both of last weekend’s games when scoring nine Friday night and seven on Saturday … with Wednesday’s 11-10 10-inning win, the Spartans are now 27-4 when scoring six or more runs in a game.
• The Hawkeyes have won nine of their last 11 and are 34-12 overall and 10-7 in B1G action, entering the week among others receiving votes in the national rankings … Iowa is coming off winning the series with Ohio State, taking two of three, winning the opener on Friday, 16-9, then taking game two on Saturday, 15-3, before getting edged 5-2 in Sunday’s series finale, a loss that snapped the Hawkeyes’ three-game win streak overall … Iowa is 19-3 at home at Duane Banks Field this season, as Sunday’s loss snapped a seven-game home winning streak.
Iowa is hitting .298 as team with 55 HR, averaging 10.0 hits and 8.4 runs per game.
Redshirt-sophomore utility player Keaton Anthony leads Iowa slashing .389 / .505 / .701, while also leading the team in doubles (22) and total bases (110), while sharing the team-leading in hits (61) and second in runs (51) … fifth-year utility player Brennen Dorighi is hitting .357, leading the team with 52 RBI and sharing the team HR lead with 10, while matching Anthony with 61 hits … junior infielder Michael Seegers had 15 stolen bases, while sophomore utility player Sam Peterson adds 14 swipes and redshirt-junior outfielder Kyle Huckstorf has 12 stolen bases.
Friday’s series opener probable starter is sophomore right-hander Marcus Morgan, who has a 3-2 record with a 5.08 ERA in 12 appearances with 10 starts, logging 51 strikeouts to 35 walks in 44.1 IP, holding the opposition to a paltry .194 BAA … Saturday’s game two starter is junior righty Ty Langenberg, with a 5-3 mark and a 4.42 ERA in 13 appearances with 11 starts, chalking up 65 strikeouts to just 25 walks in 55.0 IP with a .295 BAA … the series finale is slated to be started by sophomore right-hander Brody Brecht, who has a 4.39 ERA with a 3-2 record in 13 appearances, making 12 starts, amassing a team-high 79 strikeouts to 48 walks, in 53.1 IP, stymieing the opposition’s bats to the tune of .159 … six different Hawkeye pitchers have at least one save, including former Spartan, redshirt-junior Will Christophersen, who has a staff-leading 22 appearances with a 3.48 ERA and a 2-1 record with one save and one share of a shutout, with 42 Ks and 12 BB in 20.2 IP, holding the opposition to a .162 average.
Iowa head coach Rick Heller is his 10th year at Iowa, posting a 310-187 ledger, while amassing a 1,000-752-4 overall record in his 36th year as a head coach, becoming the 10th active coach in NCAA baseball to reach 1,000 career wins
MAKING A-MAYES-ING TRIPLES MARKS IN RECORD BOOK
• Spartan senior outfielder Casey Mayes tied MSU’s career triples record in Saturday’s game, knocking his 14th career three-bagger to lead off the sixth inning … the 14 triples ties Mike Davidson’s 14 three-bagger from 1985-88. It was also the fifth triple of the season for Mayes, moving up to tie for No. 13 on MSU’s single-season triples list, as he also has a share for the single-season triples record with seven three-baggers last season, tying for the top mark in school history, part of a now seven-way tie for the lead, joined this season by teammate junior infielder Mitch Jebb.
Mayes will leave his mark in the MSU record book, and not just as a legacy Spartan as his father Craig, was a Spartan baseball player from 1989-1992, and was team captain in 1992, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors in 1992, ending MSU career fourth on career hits list with 194 and getting drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 28th round of the 1992 MLB Draft, playing eight seasons in the minor leagues before retiring in 1999 … his mother, Tracy, was on the Spartan track & field team.
COOK NAMED BIG TEN CO-PITCHER OF THE WEEK
• Michigan State baseball’s Harrison Cook was named the Big Ten Conference Co-Pitcher of the Week, announced by the conference office on May 1.
Cook, a junior from Solon, Iowa registered his first collegiate save as part of 7.1 IP in two appearances without a run and only three hits, last week, in helping MSU win both games he appeared in.
He started the week going 4.1 IP in a relief appearance on April 25 against Notre Dame, coming on in the first inning after the Irish jumped out to a 3-0 lead on just two hits and taking advantage of one MSU error, chasing the Spartans’ starter. Cook came on and closed the door on the ND rally, getting a lineout to third to end the frame with the bases loaded, but MSU trailing 3-0. Cook worked a three-up, three-down inning in the second and third frames, only yielding one extra batter in the fourth, then after yielding a single, induced a double play by final batter faced.
In game one of the April 30 doubleheader in the 8-3 Victory for MSU over Northwestern, Cook pitched the final 3.0 IP with one hit, no runs, two BB and one K to earn his first save of his collegiate career.
This is Cook’s first B1G weekly award of his career.
B1G AWARD SUCCESS
• After earning only two B1G weekly awards last season, Michigan State now has five so far this season after Harrison Cook’s honor on May 1, the most since 2013 when MSU collected six weekly award honors.
Cook is the second Spartan to earn Pitcher of the Week honors this season, as sophomore teammate Dominic Pianto was also named Co-Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 21 for the opening week of the season. Freshman pitcher Joseph Dzierwa was also the Freshman of the Week on April 10, while junior infielder Brock Vradenburg (Feb. 21) and junior outfielder Jack Frank (April 17) have earned B1G Player of the Week accolades.
RUSH NAMED TO NCBWA STOPPER OF THE YEAR MIDSEASON WATCH LIST
• Michigan State baseball senior reliever Wyatt Rush was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Stopper of the Year Midseason Watch List, announced by the NCBWA on April 27.
Rush is the lone player from the Big Ten Conference on the 56-player list for the 18th annual NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award.
A native of Grand Ledge, Mich., Rush currently has seven saves, which leads the Big Ten and ranks tied for 21st in the NCAA.
Rush currently leads MSU with 18 relief appearances, ranking seventh in the B1G. He also tops the staff with a 2.70 ERA and a 3-0 record. The Spartan closer has 30 strikeouts to just five walks for a 6.00 strikeout-walk ratio, which would lead the B1G and rank tied for 23rd in the NCAA, but just misses the NCAA minimum requirement.
In his last three outings, Rush has not allowed a run, his second scoreless streak of three or more games, with a season-long six-game streak (March 11-31). Overall, Rush has not yielded a run in 12 of his 19 total appearances. Additionally, Rush has not allowed a hit in seven appearances.
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. He 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, currently tied for No. 10.
With nine career saves, Rush 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.
NO STEALS FOR YOU
• Individually, sophomore catcher Bryan Broecker leads the B1G with 16 caught stealing by, seven more than the No. 2 spot in the league, held by Luke Shliger of Maryland, Peter Serruto and Thomas Bramley of Penn State, all with nine each.
SPARTAN HOME RUNS AND RUNS GALORE
• Michigan State has hit multiple home runs in 12 games this season, including in seven of the last 17 games, after knocking three homers in the 14-2 Spartan victory at Michigan on April 23, MSU’s largest win over UM since 1969.
• The Spartans now have 49 home runs on the season through 45 games, surpassing last year’s 39 homers … the 49 round-trippers this season is MSU’s most since 2004 when the Spartans bashed 75 … additionally, the 49 HR this season is now No. 8 on MSU’s single-season Top 10 for the team records, taking over sole possession of the No. 8 spot pulling away from a tie with 47 in 1987 and 2017 with a pair of HR on May 10 vs. EMU.
• 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 the DH games on April 15.
• 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 infielder Brock Vradenburg has taken over the team lead for not just this season, but also shares the lead for all active Spartans, as he now has 12 home runs this season and 17 for his MSU career … Vradenburg entered the home weekend against Northwestern on April 29-30 with a team-leading 10 HR, yet none of them were at home, but he changed that in dramatic fashion with two HR in game two of the twinbill on April 29, with a solo homer in the first inning and a three-run blast into the Red Cedar River in the sixth … with the two HRs over the weekend, Vradenburg overtook teammate Jack Frank for the active Spartan list, passing Frank’s 16 career HR … Vradenburg leads the team this season in two-run HR (4) and three-run HR (5), while ranked tied for second in solo homer (3) … among the active Spartans, Vradenburg tops the team in two-run blasts (6) and three-run homers (5), while ranking tied for the team-lead in grand slams (1) and tied for second in solos (5)… Vradenburg hit two HRs in a game in a span of twice in four games, doing so at Michigan on April 23 and vs. Northwestern on April 29 … Vradenburg’s 12 HR make him the first Spartan with double-digit homers since Ryan Krill with 13 round-trippers in 2015.
• Junior outfielder Jack Frank is now tied with Vradenburg among all active Spartans with 17 career home runs, including 10 career solo home runs … Frank bashed his seventh of the season with a two-run homer to straight-away center field Wednesday night vs. Eastern Michigan, a 406-foot blast … 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 career 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.
• 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 solo 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 added a two-run round-tripper vs. Ohio State on April 8 and adding a home run on April 30 in the win over Northwestern, part of his three extra-base hit day adding a pair of triples … the Spartan third baseman now has six HR this season and nine for his career, recently adding to that total with a solo homer vs. Eastern Michigan on May 10.
• Redshirt-sophomore designated hitter and East Lansing native Sam Busch also has seven homers on the season, knocking one home run at Illinois on May 5 … 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 bashed a round-tripper vs. Notre Dame on April 25, knocking a three-run home run down the right field line and into the Red Cedar River, for his sixth homer of the season, including third into the Red Cedar River … it was also Busch’s first career three-run homer.
• 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 and another at Michigan on April 23 for three HR in the last nine games.
• 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 at Notre Dame on April 11.
• Junior infielder Mitch Jebb hit his first homer of the season on May 6 at Illinois, with a two-run opposite field homer to left center … Jebb now has eight career home runs.
• Jebb’s first HR of the season bumps the team total up to 11 different Spartans now have at least one HR this season, as MSU has 47 home runs on the year.
DOUBLE-DIGITS IN HITS AND RUNS AND HIIIIIIITTTS AND RUUUUUNNNNNSSSS COLUMNS
• MSU has posted double-digit runs in 14 games this season, having a season-long streak of three games in a row halted with single-digit runs in the loss to Purdue Fort Wayne on April 19 … two of the Spartans’ top four runs totals have come against Michigan in either a neutral or away contest.
•Michigan State is 13-0 when scoring double-digit runs.
Double Digit Runs In Order Of Occurrence:
–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
–14 runs at Michigan on April 23
–12 runs vs. Notre Dame on April 25
–11 runs vs. Eastern Michigan on May 10
Double Digit Runs By Total
–Season-high 19 runs at Charleston Southern on March 4
–16 runs vs. Ohio State in G2 of DH on April 8
–15 runs vs. Michigan on Feb. 17 in season-opener
–14 runs at Michigan on April 23
–13 runs at USC Upstate on Feb. 24
–12 runs vs. Purdue in G2 of DH on March 26
–12 runs vs. Notre Dame on April 25
–11 runs vs. Eastern Michigan on May 10
–10, 12 and 11 runs vs. Western Illinois in three-game series April 14-15
–10 runs vs. Kansas on March 11
–10 runs at Indiana State in G2 of DH on March 19
–10 runs at Rutgers on April 1
• The Spartans had a streak of double-digits hits halted at seven-straight games with only seven hits 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 had 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 28 total times in the 45 games this season (62 percent).
Spartans’ Double Digit Hits Log:
–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 (four times): vs. Fresno State on Feb. 19; at Grand Canyon on Feb. 20; vs. Wofford on March 8; at Michigan on April 23
–14 hits (six times): both games of DH at Indiana State on March 19; at Notre Dame on April 11; vs. Western Illinois on April 15; vs. Northwestern on April 30; at Illinois May 5
–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 (six times): at Presbyterian on Feb. 26; vs. Air Force on March 6 and vs. Kansas on March 11; at Western Michigan on March 28; vs. Notre Dame on April 25; vs. Eastern Michigan on May 10
–10 hits (five 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; at Illinois May 6
–MSU is 20-3 when posting double-digit hits.
• Michigan State has posted both double-digit hits and runs in 13 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
–14 runs on 15 hits at Michigan on April 23
–12 runs on 11 hits vs. Notre Dame on April 25
–11 runs on 11 hits vs. Eastern Michigan on May 10
–Michigan State is 13-0 when posting double-digit runs and double-digit hits in same game.
MSU TEAM NOTES
• Michigan State tops the B1G and leads the NCAA in total triples (28), while also leading the league and the nation in triples per game (0.62).
• MSU is hitting .312 as a team, which ranks tops in the Big Ten and ranks 15th in the NCAA … the Spartans are also third in the league and 24th in the nation in on-base percentage (.415) … MSU is also third in the conference and 45th in the country in slugging percentage (.502).
• The Spartans are also fifth in the B1G and rank 54th in the NCAA in hits with 484.
• MSU is also fourth in the B1G and 84th in the country in stolen bases (65) and also third in the league and 70th in the nation in stolen bases per game (1.44).
• Michigan State ranks seventh in the conference in home runs (49) and also seventh in HR per game (1.09), along with sixth in the league in total runs (346) and also sixth in doubles (90).
• 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 (4.25), while ranking seventh in strikeout-to-walk ratio (1.80) and 12th in strikeouts per nine innings (7.7).
SPARTAN PLAYER NOTES
• MSU’s bats are led by their infield, as first baseman Brock Vradenburg tops the team with a .438 average, while second baseman/shortstop Trent Farquhar is second at .365 and junior shortstop Mitch Jebb is third at .335.
• Infielders also make up three of the top five leaders in runs scored in Vradenburg (1st-57) Farquhar (2nd-53) and Jebb (4th-37) … Spartan infielders also have four of top six team marks for RBI, in Vradenburg (1st-62), back-up first baseman/DH Sam Busch (3rd-37) and Farquhar (5th-30) and junior third baseman Dillon Kark (6th-27) … infielders also have four spots for total bases in Vradenburg (1st-141), Jebb (2nd-82), Farquhar (3rd-83) and Busch (T-5th-75).
• Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List member, junior first baseman Brock Vradenburg leads the B1G and ranks fifth in the NCAA in batting average (.438) … Vradenburg also ranks tops in the B1G and sixth in the NCAA in hits per game (1.73), while also ranking second in the conference and 14th in the country overall in hits (78) … the Spartan first baseman also leads the B1G in on-base + slugging pct (OPS) at 1.313 … Vradenburg also is first in the B1G and 14th in the NCAA in on-base percentage (.521), along with ranking first in the league and 14th in the nation in slugging percentage (.792), as well as tied for 11th in the conference in home runs (12) … he also ranks fifth in the league and 14th in the nation in total bases (141) … he is also third in the B1G and 23rd in the NCAA in RBI (62), while ranking second in the league and 21st in the country in RBI/game (1.38) … he also is fourth in the B1G and 38th in the NCAA in runs (57), just ahead of teammate Trent Farquhar (53) … Vradenburg is also second in the B1G and 24th in the NCAA in doubles (19), along with second in the league and 25th in the nation in doubles per game (0.42) … Vradenburg is also 12th in the B1G in toughest to strikeout (7.6 AB per K on just 23 Ks in 178 AB) … he also is third in the league and on the team in triples with four, ranking tied for 65th in the nation, trailing teammates Mitch Jebb (7) and Casey Mayes (5), and just ahead of teammates Sam Busch and Dillon Kark (3).
• Junior second baseman Trent Farquhar is sixth in the B1G and 58th in the NCAA in doubles (17), along with fourth in the league and 71st in the nation in doubles per game (0.38) … Farquhar also is seventh in the league in batting average (.365), and also fifth in the B1G and 79th in the NCAA in on-base percentage (.485) … additionally, he ranks seventh in the conference in runs (53), just behind teammate Brock Vradenburg (57), and also ranking 11th in the league and 93rd in the nation in runs per game (1.18) … Farquhar is also fourth in the B1G in toughest to strikeout (9.4 AB per K), with just 19 strikeouts in 178 ABs … the Spartan second baseman is also 10th in the conference in hits (65), while ranking seventh in the B1G in hits per game (1.44).
• Junior infielder Mitch Jebb leads the B1G and tied for third in the NCAA in triples with seven, ahead of teammates Casey Mayes (5), Brock Vradenburg (4), and Sam Busch and Dillon Kark (3) … Jebb also leads the league and ranks fourth in the nation in triples per game (0.18) … Jebb is also fifth in the B1G and 87th in the NCAA in toughest to strikeout (9.3 AB per K on 18 K in 167 AB) … the Spartan shortstop is also tied for 12th in the league in stolen bases per game (0.33), with 13 swipes in 40 games played, ranking 13th in the B1G in total stolen bases (13).
• Senior outfielder Casey Mayes is tied for second in the B1G and tied for 15th in the NCAA in triples (5), as well as tied for third in the league and tied for 31st in the nation in triples per game (0.11) … Mayes also is tied for 12th in the conference in stolen bases (13) and tied for 14th in stolen bases per game (0.29).
• Redshirt-sophomore designated hitter/infielder Sam Busch is tied for ninth in the B1G in triples (3) … Busch is also 21st in the conference in slugging percentage (.556) and tied for 30th in the B1G in home runs (7).
• 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 (16), seven more than the No. 2 spot … at the plate, Broecker is also just outside the top 10 in the league in several offensive categories, including tied for 21st in on-base percentage (.442), 20th in on-base + slugging pct (OPS) at 0.989, and 23rd in slugging percentage (.547) … the Spartan catcher is also tied for 30th in the league in home runs (7).
• Junior outfielder Jack Frank is tied for fifth in the B1G in stolen bases (16) and seventh in stolen bases per game (0.36) … Frank also is tied for 13th in the league in getting hit by a pitch (10) … additionally, he is tied for 21st in on-base percentage (.442) and tied for 30th in the league in home runs (7), logging 51 hits with a .317 average.
• Freshman pitcher Joseph Dzierwa and junior Nick Powers are tied for eighth in the B1G in wins with five.
• Powers is also tied for third in the B1G in fewest earned runs allowed (23), as well as tied for eighth in the B1G in opposing batting average (.225) and tied for 10th in the league in ERA (4.34).
• Dzierwa, who was the B1G Freshman of the Week on April 10, is also ninth in the B1G in walks allowed per nine innings (2.49), along with 12th in the conference in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.82) and 23rd in BAA (.261) … he also is 11st in the league in innings pitched (61.1), and is tied for 19th in the conference in strikeouts, leading the Spartan staff with 49.
• Senior pitcher Andrew Carson is also tied for 10th in the league in batters SO looking (17).
• Senior relief pitcher Wyatt Rush leads the B1G and ranks tied for 24th in the NCAA in saves (8).
JEBB TRIPLES WAY TO TYING SCHOOL RECORD
Junior infielder Mitch Jebb is also tripling his way into the Spartan record books, and tied Mayes for the school-record for single-season triples, now with seven, and is climbing up the MSU career triples list right behind Mayes.
Jebb knocked two triples in the first game of the DH vs. Northwestern on April 29, giving him seven for the season, tying Mayes and five other Spartans for the school record.
Jebb also now has 12 career triples, tying Dave Veres (1991-94) for the No. 4 spot on the Spartans’ career triples list, just one behind Mayes and Steve Marod (1982-85) with 13 and behind the school-record holder Mike Davidson (1985-88) with 14.
RUSH-ING UP RECORD LISTS
Senior relief pitcher Wyatt Rush currently has eight saves, which leads the Big Ten and ranks tied for 24th 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 eight saves this season, Rush has also moved up MSU’s single-season top 10 saves list, passing former teammate Indigo Diaz as part of a seven-way tie for the No. 10 spot and now in a four-way tie for No. 7 … Diaz is currently in the NY Yankees minor league program and pitched for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic.
Rush also has 10 career saves, moving up to tied for No. 8 on MSU’s career saves list, joining Chris Yens (1997-99) and Kurtis Frymier (2009-10).
BOSS EARNS 400TH VICTORY FOR MSU IN SPARTANS’ WIN ON APRIL 7
• 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 437 career wins with 412 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 425 (268 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.
• 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 5/4/23)
John H. Kobs 576 1935-63 (39)
Daniel W. Litwhiler 489 1964-82 (19)
Jake Boss Jr. 412 2009-pres. (14th)
Thomas W. Smith 377 1983-95 (13)
Ted Mahan 256 1996-2005 (10)
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).
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.”
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.
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.
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 in the 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 the comeback win on April 14 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 second game of the DH on April 15, 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.
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.
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:
• The Spartans return home for the remainder of the regular-season, hosting its final non-conference contest, welcoming Central Michigan to East Lansing and McLane Stadium at Kobs File on Tuesday, May 16, before the regular-season finale, hosting Indiana, Thursday-Saturday, May 18-20 … MSU’s Senior Day is Saturday, May 20.
Michigan State’s schedule is subject to change, stay tuned to MSUSpartans.com and @MSUBaseball on Twitter for schedule updates