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Michigan State Baseball: Sam Benschoter Earns Player of the Week Honors

MSU’s pitcher earned both Big Ten and National honors following his standout performance against Nebraska

Sam Benschoter, senior pitcher for Michigan State
MSU Athletics Communications

While the Michigan State Spartans ended up with a loss Sunday to drop the series two games to one against Nebraska, senior pitcher Sam Benschoter garnered plenty of well-deserved praise, thanks to his performance in the final game of the series. Benschoter earned both co-Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honors and was named to Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s National Player of the Week list.

Benschoter, from Tecumseh, Michigan, threw a career-high 17 strikeouts in 9.1 innings of relief on Sunday vs. the Cornhuskers, who currently sit atop the Big Ten standings. Benschoter entered the game at the start of the third inning and promptly struck out the side in the third and fifth innings on the the way to stymieing Nebraska’s bats. Notably, the Huskers entered the game leading the Big Ten in batting average, and Benschoter did not allow a single hit until the eighth inning.

The 17 strikeouts by Benschoter is the most in modern day school history, bettering Mark Mulder’s 16 Ks against Campbell on March 7, 1998. Benschoter now has three double-digit strikeout performances on the season. His previous career-best was 10 strikeouts, which he achieved twice this season, first against Indiana also in a relief role on March 27, and before that against Maryland on March 5 in the first game of the season.

In the fourth and sixth innings Sunday, Benschoter racked up two strikeouts, and after giving up a leadoff single in the ninth, got three strikeouts.

Benschoter’s 17 strikeouts matches the most in the league this season and is tied for the second-most in a game in the NCAA this season. His 9.1 inning pitched is the most in the Big Ten and second-most in NCAA.

Benschoter was named the Big Ten Conference Baseball Co-Pitcher of the Week along with Illinois starting pitcher Riley Gowens. Gowens went the first seven innings as part of a combined no-hitter versus Purdue on Sunday.

This is Benschoter’s first B1G Pitcher of the Week honor, and also marks his fourth career honor from the conference. He is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.

As for the Spartans this season, this marks the third weekly honor for Michigan State’s roster. Previously, sophomore outfielder Zaid Walker was named the Player of the Week on March 10 following the opening weekend of the season, and freshman pitcher Nick Powers was tabbed as the Co-Freshman of the Week on March 30.

Benschoter is MSU’s first Big Ten Pitcher of the Week award recipient since teammate Mason Erla earned the honor last season on March 10, 2020, though the rest of the 2020 season was cancelled following that week.