The Spartans played in Golden State for the second weekend in a row where they would face Pepperdine (for the first time since 2012) in a three game series.
After starting the season out 0-4 against Fresno State the Spartans were searching for their first win in 2018. They would answer the bell in that respect, beating Pepperdine and winning the series 2-1.
Leaving the Spartans with a 2-5 record heading into the DQ Baseball Classic Big Ten / Pac-12 challenge.
Friday the Spartans designated hitter Chad Roskelly, gave MSU an early 1-0 lead thanks to a solo home run in the second inning. Unfortunately, it would be all Waves from there in a not so close 5-1 victory for Pepperdine.
Michigan State would rally back during Saturday’s game for their first victory of the season. They were heavily aided by the bats of Adam Proctor and Marty Bechina. Both men finished 2-4 with a pair of RBI.
Their efforts gave MSU the boost they needed in order to stage a comeback during the sixth inning. The four runs batted in were enough to give the Spartans a 5-2 advantage.
During Sunday’s finale Michigan State fans saw the return of redshirt freshman Mason Erla (he was injured in February of last year which kept him sidelined). He pitched 5.0 innings, allowed two hits, and struck out four batters. Mason also retired the last 11 of 13 hitters to acquire his first win as a college baseball starting pitcher.
In a pitchers duel the Spartans won out with stellar performances coming from Erla and the bullpen. Once Mason was pulled Michigan State relied on Caleb Sleeman, Evan Flohr, and Jake Lowery. These three guys managed to completely shut down anything the Waves were hoping to achieve on offense, allowing 0 hits through the last four innings of play.
Ultimately giving Michigan State it’s second win in a row as they wrapped up the series Sunday afternoon.
Spartans Staying The Course
All of last year I reserved this part of our recaps for the offense. After giving it some thought I decided to switch it up week to week. So this time around we will give fans a chance to catch up with the Spartan pitchers.
As you can see from the photo above freshman pitcher Mason Erla was named the “Big Ten Freshman of the week” due to his outstanding performance this weekend. According to some Big Ten statistics Michigan State has the fourth best pitching staff in the conference through the first seven games of the year.
The Spartans also have two individual pitchers listed in the Big Ten’s top ten. They are Mitchell Tyranski and Ethan Landon.
To top it all off Riley McCauley was on fire during his first game as a starting pitcher (12 K’s). Making him the number one SP in the Big Ten for strikeouts (18).
Here’s how some of the guys are looking so far.
- Mitchell Tyranski: ERA - 0.00, 1-0, 7.0 IP, 2 Hits, 8 SO
- Ethan Landon: ERA - 2.38, 0-1, 11.1 IP, 12 Hits, 3 ER, 15 SO
- Mason Erla: ERA - 3.60, 1-0, 10.0 IP, 8 Hits, 4 ER, 8 SO
- Riley McCauley: ERA - 5.06, 0-1, 10.2 IP, 13 Hits, 6 ER, 18 SO
- Spartans grab their first two victories of the year but it isn’t going to get any easier.
- Michigan State is coming up on their first tournament of the season. This should give us a good indication as to what this team is capable of. UCLA, Arizona, and Washington are all teams that should pose a challenge to this MSU squad.
- If the pitching staff keeps playing at a high level the Spartans will hang around in every ball game.
The Spartans will travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota for the DQ Classic Big Ten/ Pac 12 challenge at US Bank Stadium. Michigan State will compete against UCLA, Arizona, and Washington.
The series will begin Friday, March 2nd, at 4 p.m.