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Spartan Baseball Series Preview: Western Michigan

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Michigan State looks for redemption against the Broncos

The Spartans are ready to start their only five game week of the season later tonight against the Western Michigan Broncos in the annual Clash at Comerica. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m.

This will be Michigan State’s ninth appearance in the ballpark and their first against the Broncos. The last time these two teams met the Broncos put a stop to a four game win streak for the Spartans when they handed MSU a 3-2 loss at McLane Stadium.

Fans can rest easy knowing Michigan State is looking to pay them back for the loss earlier in the season.


The Basics

The Numbers

  • Record: 19-22 (8-10 conference, 4-1 Neutral)
  • Best Win: vs UCONN (RPI: 66), W 4-3
  • Worst Loss: vs Ohio Bobcats (RPI: 233), L 13-17

Last Five Games

  • 5/7 — Southeast Missouri State, W 8-6
  • 5/6 — Southeast Missouri State, L 5-8
  • 5/6 — Southeast Missouri State, L 6-12
  • 4/29 — Ohio Bobcats, W 9-0
  • 4/28 — Ohio Bobcats, L 13-17

The Broncos have a 19-22 overall record with a 8-10 MAC mark. Like the Spartans, Western Michigan also lost their weekend series two games to one. The Southeast Missouri State Redhawks happened to be too much for them to overcome.

The Spartans and Broncos are meeting for the second time this season and the 175th all-time. The Broncos lead the all-time series against MSU with a 93-81 record. But the Spartans are 11-5 vs Western under the regime of Jake Boss Jr and Western’s win earlier in the year snapped a eight game winning streak in the series by Michigan State.

Broncos To Know

The Bronco offense has been tough for opposing teams to handle all season long. They rank No. 19 nationally in batting average (.307) and are a top team in on base percentage (.388) as well. Both statistics are good enough for first in the MAC.

The last time fans read a Western Michigan preview on this site I was very high on the Bronco junior Tanner Allison and he’s lived up to the praise as a prolific run producer.

Allison is a top two player nationally for RBI per game (1.44) and a top ten for total RBI (59). He’s also just five RBI away from setting a new single season record for his school, something that hasn’t been done since 1999.

If Michigan State is going to beat this Broncos team they are going to need to do it with their offense, as Western gives up an average of 5.60 runs per game.

How The Spartans Match Up

I hate to harp on this team but they are average at best. Being below .500 in the conference was not part of the vision this year and frankly will end up a huge disappointment. Sure, Western isn’t in the B1G so this is a non-conference game but it is certainly worth bringing up.

The remaining games on the schedule have the potential to make or break them. Even being 8-10 in B1G play they are still in contention for a spot in the conference tournament. That being said MSU could very easily end up below .500 overall if they are not careful, with Nebraska and Michigan still on the schedule its not a stretch by any means.

But Western Michigan is very much the same team from March 28th, when they beat the Spartans last: very explosive on the offensive end but can fizzle out in terms of pitching and defense.

MSU is more than capable of beating this squad, just as they were the first time but it all comes down to execution and playing their brand of baseball.

Prediction

I won’t drag this prediction out for you guys. Once again I have the Spartans winning against the Broncos (hopefully I’m actually right this time).

As stated earlier this is Michigan State’s ninth game at Comerica Park where they are 6-2 all-time. Their only losses coming at the hands of Central Michigan.

The Spartans are also 4-2 this year when playing at neutral sites. In 2016, MSU was 17-3 in such games.

MSU 5 WMU 4