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Spartan Sports Updates for mid-May, 2017
May 15th, 2017 by 89 Chemistry

ITEM:  MSU Men’s Golf has teed off in its second consecutive NCAA Regional.   A preview is here, and the leaderboard (which will be occasionally updated) is here:

 

ITEM:  MSU Track had its best day of the B1G Championships Meet yesterday.   Quoting (with minor editing) from the msuspartans.com release:

“Sophomore Justine Kiprotich captured the first gold medal of the 2017 Big Ten Outdoor Championship by winning the men’s 1,500m.   Kiprotich won his first career Big Ten title with a time of 3:48.72.   He was just shy of his personal best time of 3:42.36 at the Virginia Challenge in April.   The sophomore was a runner-up last season.

“’Justine has turned into one of the best milers in the region, and clearly has a chance to be an NCAA finalist,’  said MSU Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Walt Drenth.   ‘To be a Big Ten champion as a sophomore is amazing.   I am seeing a guy really maturing.   He has a good race savvy.   He made a bold move with about 500 or 600 meters to go to get into running position.   When he got to the front with a little over 200 meters to go, he just powered away from the field.'”

…   “Senior Sherod Hardt had a solid showing in his final Big Ten Championship, finishing third in the men’s 5,000m.   Hardt clocked in with a time of 14:25.10.”

…   “’One of the hallmarks of a really good team is to be good at the end of the meet, in the 4×400 and the 5,000, it is a long weekend.   Some kids have doubled and some kids have waited their turn, but you still have to be mentally tough.   I was really pleased with how Sherod battled through the whole race.   He ran a tough race from start to finish,” Drenth said.'”

NCAA First Round participants will be announced on Thursday.

 

ITEM:  The newest version of Ralph Young Field — upon which MSU Field Hockey plays — is now being prepared.

 

ITEM:  MSU Softball was the best B1G team left out of the NCAA Tournament field.   It therefore was the B1G’s automatic qualifier for the inaugural National Invitational Softball Championships (analogous to the NIT, but with 48 teams).   The opening rounds are double-elimination in four-team regionals; MSU plays Murray State tomorrow at 5 PM ET and will play at least once on Wednesday.   The Region 3 winner will advance to a six-team Finals that will begin on Sunday.   The msuspartans.com story is linked here.

 

ITEM:  The first and second MSU Rowing Varsity Fours both finished fourth in the B1G Championships yesterday.   The NCAA field will be announced late tomorrow afternoon.

 

ITEM:  MSU Baseball will play at CMU tomorrow [4:05 PM ET] and begin a series at Michigan on Thursday.   Those three games will conclude MSU’s regular season.

 

ITEM:  The NCAA Women’s Golf National Championships begin Friday.

 

Go Green!

Can the Remarkable Run Continue?: MSU Softball 2017 BTT
May 13th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

The Michigan State Softball team is playing at a level not seen in East Lansing in well over a decade; 13 years in fact.  In 2004 MSU and Head Coach Jacquie Joseph were considered one of the top programs in the B1G Conference if not the region.  In 2004 MSU would win the BTT and advance to the NCAA Regionals.  The advance to the NCAA Regionals would be MSU’s 4th in Joseph’s 10 years on the Job.  MSU Athletics could walk with their head held high because it had big-time coaches in Izzo, Slobodnik, and Joseph – all making a run on the field of play with little noise off it.  Joseph’s record in this period was a bit up-and-down from season to season, but a 40+ win records were common.

And then things changed.  Starting in 2008 the magic seemed to disappear and until this season MSU did not finish with a winning record. There is quite a bit that could be discussed as for the reasons.  But that would be wasted energy.  Why?  The 2017 team sits at 33-21, is playing in the BTT Semi Final and looks like a team that can stick together when the going gets tough.  If the last month is an indication, MSU fans should like the odds of its team beating two higher ranked opponents and taking the BTT crown.  Before tak8ing the first two games of the BTT, MSU won its last three B1G series match ups – including its next opponent Ohio State.  Can MSU do the unthinkable and beat tOSU and then send B1G Softball Titan Minnesota home as well?

Similar to the Women’s Golf team, the Softball team is playing terrific ball but not appearing to be anywhere over its head.
Thoughts?

BTT Semi Final  #1 Minnesota versus #4 Illinois: 1:00 PM (EDT) BTN.

BTT Semi Final  #3 Ohio State versus #7 MSU: 3:30 PM (EDT) BTN.

BTT Final  #1/#4 Winner versus #3/#7 Winner: 6:00 PM (EDT) BTN.

  • Jeff’s Worthless Trivia and Other Thoughts
  • Coach Joseph says this his her best offensive team ever.  MSU has only one (of its 11 available position players on the roster) batting under .270.  Seven are batting over .300.  Five of those players have hit 8 or more HR’s in 40+ games played this season.
  • MSU does have a wonderful offense.  However, I am more impressed that part of the offensive skill-set includes earning walks and not swinging and bad pitches.  I think we won the last two in great part because of discipline at the plate.
  • MSU took 2 out of 3 from OSU, was swept by Illinois 0-3, and did not play Minnesota.
  • In the UofM game Joseph has 3B Kaitlyn Eveland pull up so close (for the possible bunt) it looked like she was practically in the batters box.  The skunkbears chose not to bunt, but instead tried to slap in right-into Eveland face.  Brutal!
MSU Ends UofM Streaks: 5-4 BTT Softball Win
May 12th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Michigan State University ended its 19-game winless streak against the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a come from behind 5-4 victory in the Quarter Final of the 2017 B1G Women’s Softball Championship. The loss was UofM’s first at home in 39 straight contests.  The victory against the female skunkbears was it first in Ann Arbor since the 2009 season.

As yesterday’s victory against Indiana (not to be confused with neighboring Illinois) the Spartan’s used a late rally to take lead and then close out the game with defensive shutout in the 7th.

Bridgette Rainey (15-8) earned her 2nd victory in two days both in relief.  Lea Foerster lead MSU of the offensive end going 3-3 with 2 RBI.  However, Senior 1st baseman Sarah Gutnecht walked three times to keep rally’s alive.

MSU advances to the BTT Semi Final against the winner of the Illinois vs. tOSU contest.

The boxscore is [here].

Spartan Softball Advances in BTT – Edges Indiana in Roller Coaster Event
May 11th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

In a game of big innings, the Michigan State Spartan Women’s Softball team garnered the biggest the latest and beat Indiana 8-7 to advance in the 2017 B1G Tournament Championship.

MSU (30-21) takes on the #2 Wolverines of Michigan Friday afternoon in Ann Arbor (4:30 PM EDT BTN).  The box score is [here].  I like their chances in this game.

After taking and losing a 3 run lead, only to come back and tie the game, only to fall behind by 3 after 5 1/2 innings, the Spartans scored 4 unanswered runs in the bottom of the 6th.

While the Spartans are a solid hitting team, it would be their ability to take a Walk that proved to be the difference.  Indiana Sophomore Starting Pitcher Tara Trainer had difficulty finding the Strike Zone; walking nine (yes the number 9) batters in 5 2/3 innings.  Four Walks were granted in the 6th; including three in-a-row.

Junior Bridgette Rainey (14-8) earned the victory – pitching solid five innings in relief.  On the premise the normally reliable Starter Kristen Zalewski (8-6) could handle the (23-31) Hoosiers, Rainey, from Acworth Georgia was likely being held back for UofM (at least that is my guess).  Zalewski struggled… enter Rainey.

Jeff’s Worthless Trivia

Three Spartans were named to the All-B1G team for 2017: Junior Lea Foerster (1st team), Sophomore Kaitlyn Eveland, and Junior McKenzie Long. The full story is [here].

Foerster has had a monster 2017 season; including 14 HR’s and 21 doubles.  Both are #2 in MSU history.  This kind of power has not been seen by TUS membership since ’79 Spartan dominated the Western Nebraska Men’s Over 40 League as SS for the Ogallala, NE (non) Conscientious Objectors. ’79 had been traded to the nCOs the previous season from the North Platte NE RiverRatRafters in the headline making 37 player + Mini Van + Outdoor Grill deal.

A tip-of-the-hat is due to Rainey and Head coach Jacquie Joseph.  Why? For not giving up.  Rainey earned a position in the starting rotation as a freshman.  In almost any setting this is a huge deal – let alone Divsion 1, and B1G Conference Softball. Unfortunately, the Spartans had a horrible season – let’s leave it at that. Rainey was saddled with a 2-15 record.

Day Trip to AA x 2
Apr 18th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

The softball and baseball teams from Michigan State University travel 63 miles to the southeast to Ann Arbor, Michigan today to take on the Wolverines of the University of Michigan.

Both games are scheduled to start at 6PM.  Both games will be streamed live on BTNPlus and BTNToGo.  According to MSU and BTN, the softball game is scheduled to be telecast on BTN.  Note:  Yesterday DirecTV noted a “New” program change and listed the baseball game as being on BTN. Either way we will see MSU at UofM.

Both UofM squads are nationally ranked.  Technically, today’s baseball game is a extra scheduled contest and considered a non-conference game.

Softball preview is [here].

Baseball preview is [here].

 

College Basketball National Championship Thread
Apr 2nd, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

As for college basketball March is over, but maybe not the madness. We have reached the National Championship Final. Today it is the ladies and tomorrow the men.

 

Other items of note for TUS Membership.

  • Guard Tori Jankoska received All-American Honorable Mention over the week for those that missed it.  Hmmm… 15 players better than Jankoska?  Really?
  • The MSU Baseball team lost to Minnesota 9-4 in East Lansing.  The Spartans (15-10) swept by the Gophers (18-8).  I knew Minnesota was good but I truly thought MSU would at minimum take the series and possibly sweep.  Good thing I only bet some of the Marine’s golf winnings and not my own.
  • The Spartan Women’s Softball Team won all three games against Maryland in East Lansing.  Granted Maryland (7-26-1 0-6) is not much this season, but the series sweep is encouraging. MSU (19-11 3-3) has not had a winning season since 2007 and went  winless in the B1G in 2012 (0-23).
  • Going into the last round of the Clemson Invitational MSU’s Womens’s Golf Team stands in fifth place at -1 PAR.  MSU’s Sarah Burnham is 8th overall.
  • Yesterday GoSt8Go successfully completed his first competitive race at the 10K distance (Monument Ave.).  I propose TUS change his name to Run GoSt8Go Run.

Who do you think will win the basketball games?  And what about those Tigers?

Read the rest of this entry »

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