As our own McLain Moberg has chronicled so far this season, Michigan State baseball is off to a very hot start. Jake Boss’ team sits at 15-5 and is coming off a 4-0 week that included a sweep of Illinois in the Big Ten opening series.
Two players, Brandon Hughes and Bryce Kelley, were both recognized for their massive weeks with some impressive individual awards.
Like his basketball counterparts Miles Bridges and Nick Ward did so many times, Kelley brought home Big Ten Freshman of the week. The outfielder hit .462 (6-for-13), had six hits and scored five runs on the week. This is his first Big Ten Award, but MSU’s second as a team, with senior Dan Durkin brining home B1G Player of the Week earlier this season.
Kelley was, however, overshadowed by junior outfielder Brandon Hughes who brought home two awards — Collegiate Baseball’s National Player of the Week and USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Gold Standard Performance of the Week.
His week was, in a word, bonkers. Just look at this blurb from MSUSpartans.com...
The Spartan outfielder belted three home runs in consecutive at bats in the first five innings of MSU's 17-6 win at Illinois Sunday, hitting two of them left-handed and one right-handed. He finished the weekend with 12 RBI, including seven on Sunday. After a fly out to lead off the game, Hughes smashed a three-run home run to right center in the second inning batting left handed. Again batting left handed in the fourth, Hughes hit a two-run round-tripper to right. In the fifth, Hughes batted right handed and smashed a two-run shot to left field that bounced once and then into the street behind Illinois Field. Hughes walked on four pitches in the seventh and grounded out in the ninth. He finished the game 3-for-5 with seven RBI and three runs scored.
And that was just one game. He finished the week hitting .450 (9-for-20) with four homers and 12 RBI.
The Spartans have been lighting up the scoreboard and, if they keep it up, might just be able to get to the promised land they so narrowly missed on a year ago.