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Spartan Baseball Series Preview: Central Michigan

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Due to some typical Michigan weather fans get to enjoy some Spartan baseball in East Lansing one day sooner

Michigan State finished this past weekend with some much needed wins, the Richmond Spider Invitational happened to be the perfect place for this team to get back on track. While they did leave Sunday with a bad taste in their mouths (loading the bases twice against Cornell, failing to score and losing the game 2-1) they plan to hit the bounce back button later on today vs Central Michigan. First pitch is marked for 4 p.m.

Oh and did I mention it’s their first home game of the season? The Spartans finally get a very small home stint after playing 16 games out of state so please fans take the day off or ask your boss to leave work early and get your butts over to McLane stadium and support these boys.

In the meantime, let’s dive in and get ready for opening day in East Lansing.


The Basics

The Numbers

  • Record: 8-11 (0-0 conference, 6-8 Away)
  • Best Win: vs Georgetown (RPI: 158), 9-7
  • Worst Loss: @ Northwestern (RPI: 293), 1-5

Last Five Games

  • 3/19 - @ Northwestern, W 7-5
  • 3/18 - @ Northwestern, W 5-1
  • 3/18 - @ Northwestern, L 1-5
  • 3/17 - @ Northwestern, W 5-3
  • 3/11 - @ UCF L 4-5

This marks the third year in a row that the Spartans will face Central Michigan in their home opener. Michigan State has won the two previous games.

Not to be overbearingly obvious but Central Michigan has struggled up to this point in 2017 (8-11). The Chips are just now coming off a series victory for the first time this season where they took 3 of 4 games from Northwestern whose RPI is listed above and not very good. That being said ,Central should be confident coming into East Lansing, there’s no better feeling than coming out on top in a series.

Zach Kohn, a freshman for CMU is expected to get the start, he is currently 0-1 on the year with a 9.95 ERA in just three pitching appearances. It should be noted this will be his second career start.

Michigan State shouldn’t allow the Chips record to sway them in any way because this team can flat out hit the ball, as a group they average .296. Central has six guys averaging .329 or better in the box. The biggest problem CMU has is stopping other teams from lighting them up for hits. Opposing teams are hitting .307 when facing the Chippewas. If they let the Spartans get on a roll offensively it could end up being a long day for Central fans out there.

Chippewas To Know

Michigan State will need to worry about Central’s hitters in this one, but if the Spartans pitching shows up like they did this past weekend then fans can rest easy.

While Central has a few guys on the mound that can be revered as a group they are letting up 6.64 runs per game. Like the Spartans, they rely on their offense to keep them in games. Michigan State’s in-state foe is nothing to joke about when it comes to their teams batting average.

Here’s a snapshot of some their best guys:

  • Grant Frazer (INF): .438 (7-16), 1 2B, 3 RBIs
  • David Cole (OF): .400 (12-30), 7 RBIs
  • Alex Borglin (INF): .385 (30-78), 5 2B, 3 3B, 15 RBIs
  • Reed Adams (INF): .353 (12-34), 1 2B, 1 3B, 5 RBIs
  • Daniel Robinson (OF): .345 (29-84), 4 2B, 2 3B, 20 RBIs

The Spartans defense will need to be on their toes if these guys get in the box Tuesday.

How The Spartans Match Up

Michigan State looks to have all the advantages in this one, their pitching has turned a corner after playing to their potential in the Richmond Spider Invitational this past weekend. They opened up their last series combining for 19 strikeouts and just 1 run allowed.

On top of that the Spartans still know how to rack up runs with ease, they lead the Big Ten in runs scored per game and are ranked 33rd in the country with 7.6. This team has managed to score 121 runs in just 16 games.

Fans most likely won’t see the Spartans star pupil Alex Troop on the mound today at any point but that doesn’t matter much considering he is an amazing two way player. The sophomore may as well get some at bats since he is hitting .389 (7-18), with 2 doubles, and 2 RBIs. Boss has mostly been utilizing his arm to start the year but if there was ever a time to get this kid 4 or 5 at bats it’s now.

To put it simply Michigan State should be fine in this game, barring any problems driving runs in again they likely won’t have much to worry about.

Prediction

It’s time Michigan State puts it all together for the people of East Lansing, it’s their first home game of the year and I do not foresee them disappointing any of us.

Opponents are tearing up Central’s pitching staff and while the Chips strength is offense I just don’t see that being enough for them to beat this Michigan State team.

Early on the game will be close but eventually the Spartans will begin to expose Central’s pitching staff and when that does look out because Michigan State won’t plan on slowing down.

In the end Michigan State will grab their sixth double digit game and win of the season in a 10-5 victory over Central Michigan.