It is still early in the 2017 race for the Big Ten Title but things are off to an interesting start. The conference schedule has yet to begin, but a Spartan team that most people picked to finish middle of the pack this year sits atop the conference with a record of 6-1, while the favorite to win the Big Ten, Maryland, sits last in the Big Ten at 1-5.
It’s doubtful any fans are, but there is absolutely no reason to hang your heads about Sunday’s loss (unless you’re me who emphatically picked the Spartans to sweep this team). UNC-Greensboro is a very good ball club, and they showed why they have been picked to win their conference this year all weekend long.
Michigan State suffers its first loss of the season, falling to UNCG in the finale 4-1.— Michigan St Baseball (@statebaseball) February 26, 2017
MSU back in action against Furman on March 3
After these teams had a combined 38 runs and 39 hits in Saturday’s contest, Sunday was a surprisingly low scoring game. There were only five total runs and 15 hits in the finale.
It is no surprise that Michigan State’s first loss of the season came against Matt Frisbee, who also won Greensboro a game against South Carolina. It was Frisbee’s second straight Sunday where he pitched 7.0 innings. He gave up six hits to Michigan State and struck out five batters. The Spartans did manage to score the only run he has given up so far this year.
Regardless of how the Spartans played in Sunday’s match-up, Frisbee is an excellent pitcher who has earned both his wins this year. The numbers are absolutely ridiculous through his first two starts in 2017.
- Matt Frisbee: 2-0, 0.64 ERA, 14.0 IP, 9 H, 1 ER, 9 SO
The 6’5 Sophomore out of Candler, North Carolina simply has the weapons to dominate a game with his arm.
Here's our starting lineup in the series finale with Michigan State! First pitch at 1:00. #letsgoG pic.twitter.com/lm11i5NooJ— UNCG Baseball (@UNCGBaseball) February 26, 2017
Even though Frisbee had himself a game on Sunday, the Spartans still managed to win two of three and clinch the series.
Over the weekend, specifically Saturday, Michigan State played extremely well. Seven players had multiple hits. Nine different players had at least one RBI and seven others ended with multiple RBIs.
Saturday was by far the most impressive game of the series that quickly turned into a shootout. It all started in the fourth inning, where Michigan State almost batted around twice and ran up 13 runs. The Spartans had 21 hits on the day and 37 total for the weekend.
Spartans Staying The Course
Lots of numbers in today's game, but in the end, it's a 22-16 Victory for MSU over UNCG, improving to 6-0 on the season! #V4MSU #673 pic.twitter.com/Dt4QTpEKEW— Michigan St Baseball (@statebaseball) February 26, 2017
There are nine players on Michigan State that are hitting .300 from the plate or better. Of the nine, four guys are averaging .400 or better.
- Dan Durkin: .452 (14-31), 5 2B, 13 RBIs, 1 HR
- Marty Bechina: .429 (12-28), 3 2B, 9 RBIs, 4 HR
- Zach McGuire: .406 (13-32), 5 2B, 9 RBIs, 1 HR
- Danny Gleaves: .400 (14-35), 3 2B, 7 RBIs, SLG% .486
- Despite losing their first game of the season, the Spartans offense is still very high-powered. Michigan State keeps their Top five spot in the country when it comes to team batting average at .368
- Cleaning up their defense is still a priority. The Spartans committed five errors throughout the series, bringing their total to 12 for the year.
- Michigan State currently has a great mix of success going on. Underclassmen and upperclassmen alike are far exceeding expectations on the offensive side of the ball, which will pay dividends for the Spartans in the long run.
Michigan State will now travel to the First Pitch Invitational in Greenville, South Carolina. The Spartans open the Invitational against Furman on Friday, March 3rd at 5 p.m.