Expect a Roaring Twenties for the Big Ten

Contrary to popular belief, relative to the rest of college baseball, the Big Ten before the 2010s was not a perpetually undersized, flea-ridden, runt of a dog. Yes, when the calendar turned over to Jan. 1, 2010, the Big Ten was entering a 34-year drought since its last national champion, Ohio State, in 1966. But the Atlantic Coast Conference had a longer drought, not fielding a conference member as the national champion since Wake Forest in 1955. Now, it had been more than a quarter of a century since a Big Ten team even appeared in Omaha, Michigan in 1984, and, yes, that was a black eye the conference donned. But the outside perspective that the Big Ten was a one-bid conference and nothing else overlooked or did not appreciate:

The Big Ten had three three-bid years in the 2000s (2000, 2007, 2009) and another three years of receiving two bids (2001, 2003, 2005).

Three Big Ten teams won a regional Penn State (2000 Montclair Regional), Ohio State (2003 Auburn Regional), Michigan (2007 Nashville Regional)

Three schools hosted a regional Minnesota (2000), Ohio State (2001), Michigan (2008)

Ohio State hosted a super regional in 2003.

For those that knew of those successes and followed baseball in the Big Ten, there was reason to be optimistic about what was to come for the conference over the next decade. In the last year of the aughts, the title race went down to the final day and the conference had four regional worthy clubs, where the one left out, Illinois, took a weekend series at LSU, the eventual national champions. In reaching a regional for the first time since 1996, it appeared Indiana was ready to join the upper tier of programs, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio State, teams who expected to be in a regional on a yearly basis. There was excitement for a new decade, that 2009’s success would lead to more such successes.

Then the 2010s happened.

And did they happen, that excitement of more conference success became a reality.

The decade begin with a seismic change, as conference realignment led to the Big Ten adding Nebraska joining in July of 2011. Then just three years later, the Big Ten welcomed Maryland and Rutgers, suddenly the conference’s roster of baseball team’s grew 30%. The TV-driven expansion led to an unprecedented windfall of money for Big Ten athletic departments. The cash infusion led to a facility boom that touched every corner of the Big Ten’s now expanded footprint.

Alongside the changes that were occurring away from the ballpark, on in some instances enhancing the ballpark, a new era was under way on the field. Indiana’s breakthrough season in 2013 ended the Big Ten’s College World Series drought. Big Ten program’s played host to regionals in four consecutive years (Purdue in 2012, Indiana in 2013 and 2014 and Illinois in 2015). The 2015 season produced two super regional participants, Maryland, who knocked off #1 national seed UCLA, and #6 National Seed Illinois. On three occasions, the Big Ten produced a record five NCAA Tournament clubs, 2015, 2017, and 2019. And in 2019, the decade’s final year providing the conference’s crescendo, with Michigan’s run to national runners-up, coming one game shy of ending the Big Ten’s national championship drought.

The 2010s were nothing short of a transformative decade for baseball in the Big Ten.

Now, what’s in store for the 2020s?

Before looking ahead, one final look back needs to occur. Well, two.

After the 2010 season, when longtime Ohio State head coach Bob Todd retired, Indiana’s Tracy Smith was a finalist for the vacant Buckeye position. He removed himself for consideration on a drive home to Bloomington, thinking through what he already had, what he will have and what might he have. In providing insight into why he made that decision, Smith addressed the landscape of the Big Ten, felt confident his goals could be achieved at IU and, with conviction, not merely optimistic coachspeak, predicted within five years a team would make it to the College World Series. It didn’t hurt that it was less than a month after a then no-name Kyle Schwarber had committed to IU and maybe Smith knew something the rest of the world would find out three years later, but to this day his words felt prophetic.

So too did words spoke by Erik Bakich. It was the summer of 2013 and Bakich was on the phone following a recruiting trip to New England, where he evaluated potential Wolverines during an Area Codes workout. After returning Michigan to the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2010, and with a year of Big Ten baseball under his belt, Bakich spoke to what he saw in the conference. Giving testament to the Big Ten’s academic prowess across the board, the great college towns and the nationally-recognized brand power athletic departments that litter the conference, Bakich felt it wouldn’t be long before the Big Ten was truly recognized as a Power Five conference on the diamond, rubbed shoulders and stood toe-to-toe with the Big XII and Pac 12 on a regular basis. Well, since 2015, the Big Ten has placed 22 teams in a regional, in near lockstep with the 23 of the Big XII and Pac 12. More words spoken into existence.

In looking ahead at what is to come, the past has showed us that even thoughts and beliefs that may seem outlandish, may not be so.

And now, on the precipice of a new decade of baseball, it’s time to time that same excitement and optimism that was present 10 years ago, and anticipate another step forward. No longer will it be only within one’s imagination where a weekend of multiple regionals are played on Big Ten campuses. There will be a day when Big Ten teams meet in Omaha, in June, not May. And yes, there will be a national champion from the Big Ten. (But please don’t envision a day of Wisconsin baseball, because that may mean the world will end the next day.)

The 2010s were a wonderful decade for the Big Ten. The conference grew. Legendary turned programs over to some of the finest coaches in the country. The Big Ten won, celebrated superstars, captured hearts and showed it is not to be scoffed at any longer, it can run with the pack.

Now it’s time to take it all and leave no doubt there is bite with this bark.


Michigan State’s McLane Stadium Getting Lights

East Lansing, Mich. — Thanks in large part to an anonymous contribution of near $1.4 million from a Spartan alum, Michigan State University announced that lights will be installed at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field, the home of MSU baseball and Secchia Stadium, the home of MSU softball, in preparation for the upcoming 2019 season.

“This is an exciting enhancement to McLane Stadium at Kobs Field and Secchia Stadium, and will improve what are already excellent venues for college baseball and softball,” MSU Athletic Director Bill Beekman said. “Having lights will not only bolster the student-athlete experience, but will allow our baseball and softball student-athletes to still attend their classes during the day and then play games at night. We are excited about the opportunity to improve the atmospheres at Spartan baseball and softball games.”

The LED lights will be identical to the lighting system currently at Spartan Stadium, home of Spartan football, and DeMartin Stadium, home of Spartan men and women’s soccer, as well the Breslin Center, home of MSU men and women’s basketball, Munn Ice Arena, home of Spartan hockey, and the Duffy Daugherty Indoor Practice Facility, utilized by MSU football and a majority of MSU athletics teams. Michigan State will be the first baseball and softball teams in the Big Ten Conference with this type of lighting system by Musco Lighting.

“This is a game-changer for our program and it’s something that we’ve wanted to do for a while now, and fortunately, we now have the opportunity to get that done,” MSU baseball head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “Special thanks to our Board of Trustees, Bill Beekman, Greg Ianni, Chuck Sleeper and their staffs for all their hard word in making night baseball at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field a reality starting this spring. We’ve seen the exciting environments that our soccer programs have had from the lights and the atmosphere for the student-athletes and the fans, and we’re looking forward to showcasing a beautiful facility and a great atmosphere after the sun goes down this spring. Playing at night and having the option to play later in the day gives us a lot more flexibility with regard to class time and with regard to weather. It enables us the assurance of finishing a game, and in a very competitive conference where every game is extremely important, the ability to finish a game and not have it stopped or halted because of daylight is extremely important.”

MSU baseball will host nine games starting at 5 p.m. or later, while Spartan softball will host seven.

“This is unbelievably exciting for Michigan State softball. Lights at Secchia Stadium will be a game-changer for our program,” MSU softball head coach Jacquie Joseph said. “Our players deserve the opportunity to play and finish every scheduled game. This affords us the flexibility to schedule when our fans can watch; both on TV and in person. I am beyond grateful to the Board of Trustees for approving the plan, Bill Beekman and Greg Ianni for their work on this project, the Spartan Fund and the lead donor who made this project possible. We’re extremely excited to play under the lights this spring and can’t wait for the outstanding atmosphere it’s going to create for our fans in making games at Secchia Stadium even more exciting.”

Joseph and the Spartan softball team open the 2019 campaign on Feb. 8 in Florida, with their home-opener slated for Thursday, March 14 vs. Western Michigan
at 4 p.m. The first night game at Secchia Stadium is scheduled for Friday, March 22 vs. Penn State at 6 p.m.

Boss and the MSU baseball team begin the 2019 season on Friday, Feb. 15 in New Orleans, before opening the home portion of the schedule on Wednesday, March 20 vs. Central Michigan at 4:05 p.m. The first night game at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field is slated for Friday, April 5 vs. Indiana State at 6:35 p.m.

Tickets On Sale for MSU Baseball First Pitch Dinner

East Lansing, Mich. — Michigan State baseball will hold its 14th Annual First Pitch Dinner on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. Tickets are now on sale for the event, which will begin at 6 p.m. with a silent auction and player autographs. Dinner and a formal program will follow at 7 p.m.

This year’s event will feature Major League Baseball 1997 World Series Champion manager Jim Leyland as the keynote speaker, while honoring Jay Gooding as the Alumnus of the Year.

Leyland was an MLB manager for 21 years, winning the World Series in 1997 with the Florida Marlins. He won four division titles, including three-straight with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1990, 1991 and 1992). In 2006, Leyland led the Detroit Tigers to the American League Championship Series, becoming the seventh manager in MLB history to win pennants in both the National and American Leagues. Leyland was a three-time recipient of the Manager of the Year Award, twice in the National League with the Pirates in 1990 and 1992, and once in the American League with the Tigers in 2006.

A native of Perrysburg, Ohio, Leyland played seven seasons in the Tigers’ minor leagues from 1964-70, before beginning his coaching career. After serving as an assistant and minor league manager in the Tigers organization, Leyland was named the Pirates manager from 1986 to 1996. Leyland then took over the Florida Marlins from 1997 to 1998, winning the 1997 World Series. After resigning from the Marlins after the 1998 season, Leyland took over the Colorado Rockies for the 1999 season. He later was named manager of the Detroit Tigers from 2006 to 2013, leading the Tigers to three consecutive division titles, joining Tony La Russa as the only managers to lead two different MLB franchises to three-straight division titles. Leyland retired from the Tigers after the 2013 season.

Leyland currently serves as a special assistant to the Detroit Tigers and managed the United States national baseball team to the 2017 World Baseball Classic title. He became the only manager to win a World Series and a World Baseball Classic title.

Gooding is an MSU alum and was co-founder of Aqua Pharmaceuticals. He was instrumental in various Spartan Baseball projects including the infield heating project at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field, renovation of the team locker room, Dominican Republic trip and lights at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field.

The 2019 MSU Baseball First Pitch Dinner will feature a silent auction, door prizes, player autographs, a team poster, 2019 season ticket card and special tribute to the Annual Crosstown Showdown between the Spartans and Lansing Lugnuts.

Tickets for the First Pitch Dinner range in price from $15 per person for children and students (8th grade and under), $25 for college students (with student ID), $40 for Spartan baseball alumni and $50 each for adults. Sponsored tables of eight are also available.

For more information on the 2019 First Pitch Dinner, download the registration form here, call Theresa Ryan in the MSU baseball office at 517-353-0816 or email at ryant@ath.msu.edu.

Ten thoughts from the summer II

It’s time to close the book on summer thoughts, news and notes.

Here’s the second part of ten thoughts from the summer, as we get ready to shift gears to fall practices and the 2019 season.

Top prospects heading to campus

The MLB Draft was pretty kind to Big Ten programs this year. Across the conference, from Minnesota to New Jersey, top prep players with pledges to Big Ten programs spurned professional overtures.

A few players did sign a contact. Michigan lost Drew Rom, a Kentucky prep left-handed pitcher, to the Baltimore Orioles, after the American League organization picked him in the fourth round. Ohio State saw recruit Keegan Fish, a catcher and 13th-round pick from southwest Ohio, sign with the Miami Marlins. And Iowa-signee Korry Howell, a JUCO transfer picked by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 12th round.

But more players who were the highlights of respective recruiting classes will arrive on campus.

A few noteworthy players:


Catcher Jacob Campbell- 36th round, Chicago Cubs

RHP Aidan Maldonando- 38th round, Milwaukee Brewers


RHP Steven Hajjar- 21st round, Brewers

Michigan State

OF Zaid Walker- 36th round, Cincinnati Reds


SS/RHP Spencer Schwellenbach- 34th round, Cleveland Indians


C- Peter Serruto- 22nd round, Reds

Worth noting, a player picked in the 30th+ rounds may not seem overly impressive, outside of the impressiveness of being draft in the first place, but each of the above player’s talent merited being selected earlier. They were drafted in the final quarter of the draft due to their respective commitments to their school. Professional clubs viewed them as unlikely to sign, but the talent each possessed warranted selecting them, just in case there was a change of heart, or a signing bonus of $125,000, the maximum a club can offer without it counting against its allotted pool to sign players drafted in the first 10 rounds, would be a enough.

Prep Baseball Report ranks Maldonado, Schwellenbach and Walker the respective number two players in Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois, players who have a chance to standout on campus over the next three years before their time comes again to be picked by a professional club.

Midwest vs. West

Players like Hajjar and Serruo heading to campus is another example of the Big Ten providing a great product on the field, alongside the world-class education the student-athletes receive. How good that product is might surprise the casual fan, but more and more there is proof the Big Ten is an elite baseball conference.

I remember five years ago, after his first season in Ann Arbor, Michigan head coach Erik Bakich told me there was no reason the Big Ten would not only be a true Power 5 conference in baseball, but would be on par, if not better than the Pac-12 and Big XII. The depth of the Atlantic Coast and Southeastern conferences, along with the geographic advantage will likely have those two be 1-2 in some order for the foreseeable future. But Bakich had no doubt the Midwest could be the Big Ten’s and level to those on the Pacific coast.

Looking at NCAA Tournament participants, since 2015, the Big Ten has placed 17 teams in a regional, with the Pac-12 one ahead at 18. Last year, the Big Ten and Pac-12 split 24 regular season games.

The Pac-12 has done a better job of advancing teams through the NCAA Tournament, and of course have the reigning national champion in Oregon State, who knocked out Minnesota in the Corvallis Regional, but not before the Gophers twice beat UCLA to win the Minneapolis Regional. Now, as schedules begin to trickle out, the 2019 season will offer more opportunities for to two conferences with Rose Bowl ties to square off on the mind.

In touching base with coaches around the conference, what’s known so far in Big Ten-Pac 12 showdowns:

Arizona will travel to Penn State during the final weekend of the regular season, the start of a home-and-home series which has Penn State traveling to Tucson in 2020.

Michigan State has a three-game series at Arizona State, followed by a midweek game at Arizona.

Minnesota will see Oregon State in back-to-back weekends to open the season, the two participating in a pair of tournaments.

Michigan will participate in the Dodger Stadium/Dodgertown College Baseball Classic with USC, UCLA and Arizona. Two years ago the Wolverines were in the field with USC, UCLA and San Diego.

Lengthy droughts continue for Michigan and Ohio State

I started blogging on Big Ten baseball matters 10 years ago, taking over the Ohio State-centric Buckeye Nine. One, I have no idea how that turned into this. Two, it’s a bit scary to think a decade has passed.

Nonetheless, to say the Big Ten of 2018 is not the Big Ten of 2008 is an understatement. Forget recruits, facilities, head coach salaries, just look who has won the Big Ten this decade.

Since 2010, Minnesota has three titles (2010, 2016, 2018) and Illinois has two (2011, 2015). Those two have been historically strong programs, their championships would cause someone to bat an eye in 2008. But Michigan State (2011), Purdue (2012), Indiana (2013-14), Nebraska, hello realignment, (2017) certainly would. But perhaps more than who has won the conference crown is who hasn’t.

The 2019 season will be the ten-year mark since the Buckeyes last won the Big Ten. But even then, they will have a more recent championship than their arch-rival, Michigan last winning the conference championship in 2008. To know just how rare this is, the last time neither Michigan nor Ohio State won a Big Ten championship in a nine-year window would be 1908-1916. A period when the University of Chicago found themselves Big Ten baseball champs.

For the conference as a whole, it’s a good thing the Big Ten isn’t dominated by Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio State, as was the case for four decades from 1980-2010. More teams winning means more depth, more depth means more teams in the NCAA Tournament, more teams in the NCAA Tournament increases the odds of having a representative in Omaha.

But it is a bit surprising two of collegiate athletics most recognizable names, programs with storied histories, have gone so long without winning the conference.

Wisconsin baseball isn’t coming back

With the team they have returning, losing only one underclassman to the draft, many view Michigan as a preseason Big Ten favorite, a club ready to end that aforementioned drought. While certainly possible, if not probably, we know for certain one Big Ten institution that’s not winning a baseball championship any time soon: Wisconsin.

The baseball-less Badgers are the lone Big Ten university without a varsity baseball program. As Big Ten baseball continues to make strides, as well as Wisconsin producing top baseball talent (Campbell is a Wisconsin native, as was Minnesota All-American shortstop Terrin Vavra), it’s entertaining to think is the time coming for Wisconsin to revive its baseball program.

I don’t think it’s happening.

In June, the Detroit News revealed the University of Michigan will receive $52.1 million in Big Ten conference distributions, stemming from the television rights the conference has with ABC/ESPN, FOX, and its own Big Ten Network.

There would be Title IX matters to resolve in terms of scholarship equality between female and male students, as well as figuring out where games will be played. But if living in a day and age where Big Ten universities are receiving more than $50 million a year from television rights doesn’t create the landscape for Wisconsin to bring back a program, one that many believe would have more than a shot to compete for conference championships and regional bids when brought back, I can’t see when the time will be right.

Joe Healy’s appreciated work

Wrapping up everything that crossed my mind over the summer, I cannot go without shining a light on the work done by College Baseball Central’s Joe Healy and his podcast series, especially in the absence of myself producing any content. Throughout the summer, Healy spoke to people throughout the media, often beat writers, to dig into ongoings regarding programs around the country. Many of Healy’s podcast covered Big Ten teams, and here you can listen to insights, news and opinion on:





Joe was the lone national writer to cover the Big Ten Tournament this past year, and is a great reference and source for news and content covering the Big Ten.

Spartans Rally Comes Up Short In Losing To Lugnuts

Lansing, Mich. — Michigan State baseball’s late-inning rally came up short in the 12th annual Crosstown Showdown Presented by Auto-Owners Insurance, falling to the Lansing Lugnuts, 6-4, on Tuesday night at a hot and humid Cooley Law School Stadium. A spirited crowd of 6,388 was on hand to watch the annual exhibition game and home run derby.

This is the third-straight season that the two teams have met in the fall after playing the previous games in the spring.

“This was a great experience as always and a lot of thanks to Nick Grueser and Tom Dixon, and the entire Lugnuts organization. It’s always one of the best nights of the year for us,” MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said.

Freshman outfielder Zaid Walker had a smashing debut in a Spartan uniform, participating in the home run derby before the game, then going 2-for-4 with four RBI during the game. Sophomore infielder Zach Iverson, redshirt-freshman infielder Peter Ahn and freshman catcher Gabe Sotres had the Spartans other hits. Junior pitcher Mike Mokma started on the mound for the Spartans, who utilized seven different pitchers, part of MSU’s 25 different players.

“I think we got a lot of young guys in there who were able to get their feet wet,” Boss said. “Zaid Walker is a talented kid, and Peter Ahn had a hit tonight as a freshman. Mitchell Tyranski threw really well, Mike Mokma threw well, a lot of guys really threw well. I think there are a lot of positives we can take away. It’s practice number two for us, so I’d expect us to be a little bit rusty.”

Walker is a highly decorated recruit and was selected in the MLB Draft, but chose to bypass professional baseball for the time being and join the Spartans.

“I love it here. I love wearing the Green and White. Coach Boss is great, the rest of the coaching staff is great and I’m glad to be part of the family,” Walker said. “I came here because of the coaching staff and I knew it was a great school. They have the number one program in the country for supply chain management, which was something I wanted to pursue. Also I know the baseball is great. I knew as soon as I stepped on campus it was the right fit.”

Walker drove in a pair of runs in the fifth inning and two more in the seventh.

“It’s about making adjustments. I hope this is the start of a great Spartan career. It’s a confidence booster and lets me know I can play with these guys. Also to stay humble and know it’s just a start,” Walker said.

Despite the heat and humidity, an energetic crowd was treated to an evening full of entertaining baseball, geting a preview of the 2018 Spartans squad and a look at future Lugnuts, as they called up several young prospects before Wednesday night’s playoff game.

“It’s something we use to recruit to and something guys talk about for a long, long time to come. Our first year here was 11 years ago now and those guys on our first team still talk about playing in the Crosstown Showdown. It’s a highlight of the year for them and I just can’t thank the Lugnuts and the Blue Jays for allowing it to happen,” Boss said.

Prior to the game, the two teams held a home run derby with three players from each team taking part. Sophomore catcher and defending champion Adam Proctor was joined in representing MSU by junior utility player Andrew Morrow and freshman outfielder Zaid Walker, both of whom were making their Spartan debuts. After a two swing offs were needed to determine the Spartans’ representative in the finals, Proctor advanced to face the Lugnuts’ Freddy Rodriguez of the Lugnuts. Proctor prevailed in the finals with seven home runs, topping Rodriguez’s six on a “walk-off” blast and win the Crosstown Showdown Home Run Derby for the second-straight season.

“Great for Adam, he’s a local guy so he had a lot of friends and family here. It was a lot of fun for him to come out and defend that title. It was a dog fight for sure, I think he’s going to sleep pretty well tonight,” Boss said.

The Lugnuts got on the board with a run in the second inning on an RBI triple by Jose Ferrer. Lansing tacked on three runs in the third, including a pair on a two-run double by Vinny Capra. Another run in the fourth gave the Lugnuts a 5-0 lead.

Michigan State broke through with two runs in the top of the fifth, with Walker lacing a two-run single to center, as the Spartans closed to 5-2.

Lansing tacked on a run in the bottom of the fifth for a 6-2 lead. However, the Spartans rallied in the top of the seventh, again with Walker driving in a pair of runs on a two-run single to left with the bases loaded, before MSU’s rally ended with the bases loaded to end the game.

Spartan Baseball Adds One For 2019 Season

East Lansing, Mich. — Michigan State baseball head coach Jake Boss Jr., announced that utility player Andrew Morrow will be joining the Spartans in the fall of 2018. Morrow is a utility player from Omaha, Nebraska (Creighton Preparatory School/Fort Scott CC).

“We are excited to add Andrew to the Spartan Baseball family,” Boss said. “He is an extremely athletic player who is dynamic offensively with power potential. He had a great year at Fort Scott Community College for head coach John Hill, and we will look for him to continue that trend in a very competitive Big Ten Conference. Most importantly, Andrew is a high-character young man from a great family, and he will represent Michigan State University in the most positive manner.”

Morrow becomes the 13th member of the Spartans’ incoming class, joining Will Christophersen (Bettendorf, Iowa | Pleasant Valley High School), Indigo Diaz (North Vancouver, Canada | Handsworth Secondary School | Iowa Western Community College), Jacob Erickson (Allen Park, Mich. | Allen Park High School), Brian Martin (Westland, Mich. | John Glenn High School), Casey Mayes (Wichita, Kan. | Andover High School), Jarret Olson (La Salle, Ill. | Galesburg High School | Parkland Junior College), Colten Panaranto (Martinsville, Ind. | Roncalli High School), Jacob Seipenko (Canton, Mich. | Salem High School), Gabe Sotres (Allen Park, Mich. | Brother Rice High School), Reese Trahey (West Bloomfield, Mich. | Brother Rice High School), Zaid Walker (Homewood, Ill. | Homewood-Flossmoor High School) and Brandon Williamson (Welcome, Minn. | Martin County West High School | North Iowa Area Community College).

Andrew Morrow | Omaha, Nebraska | Creighton Preparatory School | Fort Scott CC | 6-2, 200 | R/R | UTIL

Earned first-team NJCAA Region VI All-Region honors at Fort Scott CC under head coach John Hill … Named KJCCC East Division Co-MVP and first-team All-KJCCC after helping the Greyhounds to a 41-15 record, falling in the opening round of the Region VI Playoffs … Was named Fort Scott Athletics’ Co-Male Athlete of the Year and helped the FSCC baseball team win the Greyhound Cup as the team of the year … Batted .424 with 73 RBI, 13 doubles, two triples and 17 HR, along with scoring 71 runs … Posted an .808 slugging percentage and a .513 on-base percentage … As a freshman, earned 2017 KJCCC Honorable Mention (Eastern Division) honors, after batting .338 with 44 RBI, adding 14 doubles, two triples and nine HR, logging a .619 slugging percentage and a .423 on-base percentage … Was a member of the Fort Scott Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and a two-time Deans Honor Roll member … While at Creighton Preparatory School, earned 2016 All-Nebraska Honorable Mention accolades from the Omaha World-Herald, along with 2015 All-Nebraska Honorable Mention by the Lincoln Journal Star in helping the Junior Jays win back-to-back state titles …. Selected to play in the 2016 Collin-Orcutt All Star Game, featuring Omaha Metro high school seniors … Also played on USA Baseball NTIS (National Team Identification Series) Team Nebraska from 2011-2014 … Was a Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American (Central Region HM) … Also earned Rawlings-Perfect Game All-Region honors … Ranked No. 8 in the state of Nebraska by Rawlings-Perfect Game … Played summer league for Five Points Bank … Also lettered in football … Son of Daniel and Kelly Marrow … His father played baseball at Barton County Community College, while his mother played volleyball at Hastings College … Intends on majoring in kinesiology at MSU … Chose Michigan State because of their support for student-athletes to become better individuals on and off the field … Picked the Spartans over Ball State, Eastern Illinois, Longwood and North Alabama.

MSU Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator Graham Sikes on Morrow: “Andrew is a great get for us. He has worked extremely hard to get where he is. The exciting part for me is that he has had a lot of success this year and is still hungry to get better. Andrew is a hard worker and his coaches at Fort Scott, John Hill and Jared Walters, raved about his work ethic. This spring he put up huge numbers and shared the conference player of the year award after hitting .424 with 17 home runs, 73 RBI and 71 runs scored. He’s a versatile player that can play first base or outfield, and he has even done some catching. Andrew has shown the tools to be a dynamic player, and I look forward to getting him on campus and working with him this fall.”

Michigan State Baseball Presents 2018 Team Awards

East Lansing, Mich. — Michigan State baseball head coach Jake Boss Jr. announced the winners of the 2018 team awards on Thursday, May 31.

All of the awards were voted on by the players with the exception of the Offensive Player of the Year award, which is based on various statistical data over the course of the season.

Senior designated hitter Chad Roskelly was voted as the recipient of the John Kobs Most Valuable Player Award. Sophomore pitcher Mitchell Tyranski received the Robin Roberts Most Valuable Pitcher Award. Sophomore outfielder Danny Gleaves was voted to receive the Danny Litwhiler Defensive Player of the Year, while also earning the Kirk Gibson Offensive Player of the Year Award. Fellow sophomore, infielder/outfielder Justin Antoncic, was voted as the Steve Garvey Most Improved Player Award recipient. Senior infielder Kory Young received the Jerry Sutton Student Athlete Award. Senior pitcher Keegan Baar was the recipient of the Craig Hendricks Spartan Spirit Award, recognizing the most positive team player who is enthusiastic, trustworthy, conscientious, hard-working and good humored.

Roskelly, a native of Macomb, Michigan, tied for the team lead with 27 RBI this season and ranked second on the team in both home runs with five and slugging percentage at .413. Roskelly hit nearly .300 over the last half of the season, raising his average from .080 entering MSU’s game on March 21, to its final level of .267, dipping down from .300 entering the series vs. Maryland on April 27-29. Roskelly shared ownership of MSU’s longest hitting streak of the season at 15 games, as well as the Spartans’ longest reached base streak of the season at 19 games. He was also tied for third on the team with 62 total bases, adding five doubles and one triple to the five home runs. Roskelly tallied nine games with multiple hits and six games with multi RBI.

Tyranski, a Birmingham, Michigan, native, led the Spartan pitching staff with a 2.42 ERA and 27 appearances, allowing just 12 earned runs, including posting 15 appearances on the season of not allowing a run. The Spartan lefty notched five saves and rang up 54 strikeouts in 44.2 IP. Tyranski earned his first collegiate victory in MSU’s 5-2 win at Pepperdine on Feb. 24, going 4.1 IP, grounding the Waves’ bats allowing just one hit, while striking out five and walking just one. He picked up his first career save in a 4-2 victory for MSU over Illinois on March 10, going 1.1 IP with just one hit and one strikeout. Tyranski ranks tied for fifth in the Big Ten with the 27 appearances, as well as tied for seventh with five saves. He also ranked eighth in the B1G in conference-only action with 13 batters struck out looking.

Gleaves, a native of Homer Glen, Illinois, got off to a slow start while recovering from an injury, but had a blistering finish and ended up leading the Spartan active players with a .272 average. He was also second on the team and third in the Big Ten with 25 stolen bases, moving up to No. 5 on MSU’s single-season stolen base list. Gleaves hit over .350 over the final half of the season, including .385 in Big Ten action, with a .461 slugging percentage, and swiping 11 bases in league games, which tied for second among the conference leaders. Gleaves was 4-for-4, including two doubles, and three stolen bases in the nightcap at Penn State on May 5, becoming the only Spartan to go 4-for-4 in a game this season and just one of two MSU players to have four hits in a game. He had a seven-game hitting streak this season and also ended the year with a 10-game reached base streak.

Defensively, Gleaves patrolled center field for the Spartans, making 31 starts. Gleaves posted 93 put outs and had two assists, using his speed to run down potential extra base hits and make them outs.

A native of Westerville, Ohio, Antoncic led the Spartans in average for part of the season, ending at .269, while topping the team with a .360 on-base percentage. He ranked second on the team with seven doubles, adding two triples and one home run, as well as fourth on the team with 18 RBI. Antoncic was third on the team and 15th in the B1G with 14 stolen bases. Antoncic also owns a share MSU’s longest active reached base streak, as his streak of 19 games tied Roskelly for longest on the team. Antoncic also had a 12-game reached base streak earlier in the season. He had a season-long six-game hitting streak. Antoncic had 11 games with multiple hits and four games with multi RBI. Antonic was named to the Dairy Queen Classic B1G/Pac-12 Challenge All-Tournament Team in March. Antoncic hit .462 for the weekend, including his first home run of his Spartan career off No. 11 UCLA, adding two doubles.

Young, a native of Rockford, Michigan, was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, graduating in May with a degree in finance. He was also the recipient of MSU’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.

On the field, Young recovered from a preseason injury and returned to the lineup, playing in 28 games, making 17 starts. He led MSU with seven sacrifices, topping the team with six sac bunts, while adding one sac fly.

Young had a memorable Senior Day on May 19, smacking not only his first triple of the season but of his career and it came in his final at bat at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field in the Spartans’ B1G Tournament clinching win vs. Ohio State. He finished his Senior Day going 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, his second multi-hit outing this season. Young ended the day with a career-high four total bases, as well as tying a career-best with two runs scored.

Baar, a Jenison, Michigan native, made five appearances on the mound, but led the Spartans’ spirit in the dugout all season. During the Big Ten Tournament in Omaha, Baar was bearer of the team’s Spartan BatSpear, a handmade tool made by Antoncic’s father, and Baar used it to direct the team’s celebrations and cheers.

John Kobs Most Valuable Player: Chad Roskelly

Robin Roberts Most Valuable Pitcher: Mitchell Tyranski

Kirk Gibson Offensive Player of the Year: Danny Gleaves

Danny Litwhiler Defensive Player of the Year: Danny Gleaves

Steve Garvey Most Improved Player: Justin Antoncic

Jerry Sutton Student Athlete Award: Kory Young

Craig Hendricks Spartan Spirit Award: Keegan Baar

All awards voted on by the players with the exception of the Offensive Player of the Year award, which is based on various statistical data over the course of the season.

Big Ten Releases 2018 Baseball Tournament Bracket

Rosemont, Ill— The conference office announced the bracket for the 2018 Big Ten Baseball Tournament, held May 23-27 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.

The eight-team, double-elimination tournament begins Wednesday, May 23, with first-round games and continues through Sunday’s championship game on May 27. The tournament champion will earn the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

The first pitch of the 2018 Big Ten Tournament will take place at 9 a.m. (CT) Wednesday when No. 3 Michigan takes on sixth-seeded Iowa. Second-seeded Purdue will take the field at 1 p.m. on Wednesday against No. 7 Ohio State. The tournament will continue at 5 p.m. when No. 1 Minnesota plays No. 8 Michigan State. The final game on Wednesday will feature No. 4 Illinois and No. 5 Indiana at 9 p.m.

Once again this season, BTN will televise all games of the Big Ten Baseball Tournament live, with each game also available on the BTN2Go platform, either online at btn2go.com or through the BTN2Go app. The full bracket can be found attached.

MSU Baseball Game At Comerica Vs. EMU Cancelled

Detroit — Michigan State baseball’s game against Eastern Michigan at Comerica Park on Tuesday was cancelled due to inclement weather in the Detroit area. Unfortunately, there will be no make-up date.

Tuesday’s cancellation was the second of the season between MSU and EMU, as the April 4 contest at East Lansing was also cancelled due to inclement weather. By not playing this season, it means that for the first time since 2007, that the Spartans will not tangle with the Eagles.

Tuesday’s game was full of coaching connections, including both teams’ head coaches, MSU’s Jake Boss Jr. and EMU interim head coach Eric Roof, and pitching coaches, Mark Van Ameyde for the Spartans and A.J. Achter for the Eagles, and MSU’s volunteer assistant coach, Jordan Keur.

Tickets from Tuesday’s game at Comerica will be good for admission at any upcoming Michigan State baseball game. For more information, contact the MSU Ticket Office at 517-355-1610.

MSU has a quick turnaround, returning home to host Toledo on Wednesday at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field. First pitch is slated for 3:05 p.m.

Rutgers-Michigan State Series Schedule Altered

East Lansing, Mich.– Due to inclement weather in the forecast for the weekend, Michigan State baseball’s weekend schedule with Rutgers has been altered with a doubleheader on Friday and a single game on Saturday at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field.

The Spartans and Scarlet Knights will now play a doubleheader on Friday at 12:05 p.m., with a single game scheduled for Saturday at 1:05 p.m.

MSU opened a 12-game homestand at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field on Wednesday, and this weekend is the Spartans’ first full Big Ten series at home.

Any further schedule updates will be announced on www.MSUSpartans.com.


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