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The Only Recap: Michigan State Sweeps the First Pitch Invitational

The Spartans are quickly becoming one of the hottest teams in the nation

Michigan State swept the eighth annual First Pitch Invitational, making it the second series sweep of the 2017 season. On top of that the Spartans are 9-1 for the second straight year and tying themselves for the second best start to a season.

In a weekend that was filled with fantastic arms the Spartans offense prevailed and their pitching put them over the top. Their run-to-run ratio was lopsided once again as they outscored their opponents 19-7. The most runs the Spartans ever allowed was two.

Michigan State had their best game Saturday against Presbyterian when they posted 10 runs, for the fourth game of the year they’ve hung at least that many.

Michigan State was also speedy on the base paths this time out as they stole seven bases alone versus Presbyterian.

Pitching Takes Over

Not to bring up old and tired cliches, but “Defense Wins Championships” right? While offense puts bottoms in the seats, it’s your defense that will bring home the chip and that’s what Michigan State’s pitchers showed us during this series.

The Spartans offense deserves a ton of credit, they had another great series from the plate and in no way do they plan on slowing down anytime soon. Michigan State had 26 hits and 19 runs during their route of the First Pitch Invitational but this time their pitching really stepped up.

Here are all of Michigan State’s numbers from the mound over the weekend.

Game 1 - Furman

  • Alex Troop: 1.80 ERA, 6.0 IP, 7 Hits, 2 R, 1 ER, 6 SO
  • Jake Lowery: 0.00 ERA, IP 2.0, 0 Hits, 0 Runs, 2 SO
  • Riley McCauley: 0.00 ERA, 1.0 IP, 2 Hits, 0 Runs, 2 SO

Game 2 - Presbyterian

  • Ethan Landon: 1.00 ERA, 4.1 IP, 3 Hits, 1 ER, 3 SO
  • Joe Mockbee: 0.00 ERA, 1.2 IP, 2 Hits, 0 ER, 4 SO
  • Walter Borkovich: 1.00 ERA, 1.0 IP, 2 Hits, 0 SO
  • Mitchell Tyranski: 0.00 ERA, 1.0 IP, 0 Hits, 0 ER, 1 SO

Game 3 - UT Martin

  • Andrew Gonzalez: 1.00 ERA, 5.2 IP, 4 Hits, 1 ER, 3 SO
  • Keegan Baar: 0.00 ERA, 0.2 IP, 1 Hit, 0 ER, 1 SO
  • Jake Lowery: 0.00 ERA, 1.0 IP, 1 Hit, 0 ER, 2 SO

Spartans Staying The Course

Michigan State’s bats keep it up as they stay in the top 10 for team batting average and scoring in the nation. Through three series in 2017 the Spartans have made it a point to remain at the top in these two categories. They exit the First Pitch Invitational now averaging 9.8 runs per game, and .340 as a team from the plate.

The Spartans have seven guys averaging .308 or better in the box. Four of which are averaging .381 or higher and have played/started in all 10 games.

  • Marty Bechina: .400 (16-40), 3 2B, 9 RBIs, 4 HR, SLG% .775
  • Danny Gleaves: .396 (19-48), 4 2B, 12 RBIs, 1 HR, SLG% .542
  • Zach McGuire: .395 (17-43), 6 2B, 12 RBIs, 2 HR, SLG% .674
  • Dan Durkin: .381 (16-42), 5 2B, 15 RBIs, 2 HR, SLG% .643

Quick Takeaways

  • Michigan State settled in at the mound this weekend, only ever allowing a max of two runs per game. Great pitching will take this team to new heights so it’s nice to see it finally coming around.
  • Their offense remains elite, Michigan State showed the ability to get hits at the right time and win a close game vs Furman. While also reiterating the fact that they have the ability to explode and bat around at a moments notice.
  • Michigan State finished the 2016 season 17-3 when playing on neutral sites, they continue that dominance in 2017 as they finish the First Pitch Invitational 3-0.

Next Series

The Spartans remain in South Carolina as they prepare for a one game series vs No. 14 Clemson on Wednesday, March 8th at 7 p.m.