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Spartan Baseball Series Preview: Pepperdine

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The Spartans will seek redemption against the Waves

Hey Spartan fans! In case you missed it Michigan State is back for another fantastic season of baseball.

Most recently the Spartans faced Fresno State in a four game series where they were unfortunately swept.

Three out of the four games were decided by a single run.

That being said it’s still very early in the season and the Spartans are going to have plenty of chances to recover. Starting with this weekend when they hit the field for a three game series against the Pepperdine Waves.

Spartan and Wave fans alike please feel free to tune in for the game at 2:00 p.m. PT. You may go to your school’s website and use Game-Tracker (essentially Game-Cast).


The Basics

The Numbers

  • Record: 2-3 (2-2 Home, 0-1 Away)
  • Best Win: vs Louisiana Tech (RPI: 136), W 2-1 (11 innings)
  • Worst Loss: vs Louisiana Tech (RPI: 136), L 2-3

Last Five Games

  • 2/20 — UCLA, L 1-2
  • 2/18 — Louisiana Tech, L 3-9
  • 2/17 — Louisiana Tech, W 1-0
  • 2/17 — Louisiana Tech, L 2-3
  • 2/16 — Louisiana Tech, W 2-1 (11 innings)

Last year the Pepperdine Waves finished 20-32 (8-19 Conf). The Waves play in the WCC, which is short for the West Coast Conference.

In 2017 they were the third worst team within that conference, only winning 29.6% of their league games. The only teams worse were Pacific (6 wins) and Portland (5 wins).

They played their best baseball at home, finishing the year 11-15 in front of their fans.

To start the 2018 college baseball season the Waves played a four game series against Louisiana Tech. They ended up splitting the series 2-2. A few days later Pepperdine traveled to Los Angeles, California to play No. 11 UCLA. They would ultimately lose their only game against the Bruins in a close 2-1 battle.

Waves To Know

Through the first five games of the year Pepperdine has a total of 34 hits, 8 doubles, 9 RBI, and a team batting average of .205.

These aren’t the flashiest numbers in the world but like Michigan State the Waves find a way to keep things close. This should tell fans the Spartans are preparing to face a team that gives maximum effort (even when losing), wants to win at all costs, and will do anything they can to make it happen.

That being said here are the hitters you need to watch out for as a Spartan fan this weekend.

If you will kindly turn your attention over to the pitching side of things fans will see that Pepperdine has given up 42 hits, 13 earned runs, struck out 21 batters, and has a 2.51 team ERA.

There are two guys I’d keep an eye on as a Spartan this weekend. They include Junior pitcher Jonathan Pendergast, he threw 5.2 innings while striking out six batters in their series against Louisiana Tech. Then there’s Christian Stoutland who started and pitched 6.1 innings (during the double header Saturday), giving up 0 runs, allowing three hits, and finishing with three strikeouts.

Here’s how the rest of their pitching staff looks through five games.

The Spartans will need to bring their “A” game if they want to get back on track in this series.

How The Spartans Match Up

Michigan State will enter today’s game with 26 hits, 3 doubles, 3 home runs, 10 RBI, and a team batting average of .203.

Their cumulative offense has started out much slower than last year’s team did but there are some bright spots. So far in 2018 these guys are leading the way for the Spartans.

  • Justin Antoncic (DH): .500 (4-8), 3 Runs, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 SB
  • Ryan King (SS): .500 (4-8), 1 Run, 1 2B
  • Zack McGuire (1B): .250 (3-12), 1 Run, 1 HR, 2 RBI

On the other side of the ball Spartan fans saw two incredible pitching performances by the Big Ten Conference Preseason Player to Watch, Riley McCauley and Ethan Landon.

In McCauley’s first start ever he pitched 6.0 complete innings, allowed one run off of two hits, and struck out a career high 12 batters. Making him the first MSU pitcher to strikeout 12 or more hitters since Cam Vieaux did it back in 2015.

Unfortunately the Spartans were unable to get the victory and lost 5-4, spoiling Riley’s big day. The next guy I mentioned, Ethan Landon, pitched in the night game on Saturday (the latter half of their double-header). The senior struck out nine batters, another career high, and pitched 6.2 innings. During that time he surrendered six hits and one earned run.

Once again the Spartans are loaded with guys on the mound and here’s how everyone else is looking through four games this year.

Prediction

It’s only the second series of the season and the Spartans are 0-4. But I think MSU gets things back on track this weekend, the pitching staff keeps doing their thing, and Boss kicks the offense into gear.

If everything is clicking for this team at the right time I think they could become a formidable force in the Big Ten. Michigan State has a number of pitchers to choose from on a daily basis. Including Riley McCauley and Jake Lowery (both were B1G Preseason Players to Watch).

Offensively the Spartans returned multiple guys from last years team. So it’s only a matter of time before they really take off and show the college baseball world what they are made of. Give it time and I see this team coming together nicely.

The Pepperdine Waves have some nice players on both sides of the ball but I’m not sure it’ll be enough to beat a hungry Michigan State team.

MSU wins the series 3-0.