Three-game series begins Friday, April 1 at 7:05 p.m. ET in Iowa City.  Photo courtesy of MSU SID.

Three-game series begins Friday, April 1 at 7:05 p.m. ET in Iowa City. Photo courtesy of MSU SID.

 

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State baseball team opens Big Ten Conference action this weekend (April 1-3) with a three-game series at Iowa. The series begins Friday at 7:05 p.m. ET, while Saturday and Sunday’s game will start at 2:05 p.m. ET.

The Spartans are coming off a 3-1 loss to Central Michigan in their home opener at McLane Baseball Stadium on Wednesday, but still have started out the season with an impressive 15-6 record.

“This is what we work all year for,” said Spartan head coach Jake Boss regarding the start of Big Ten play. “Our guys are motivated and focused to right the wrong from what happened last year. We have a great opportunity coming up starting this weekend to make some noise in a good conference.” 

Michigan State swept Michigan last weekend in a three-game series for the first time since 1955 and for only the second time in school history; however, the two teams were left off the rotating Big Ten schedule in 2010 and 2011 and the games did not count toward the conference standings.

Iowa enters the weekend at 9-13 after dropping two midweek games to South Dakota State in Iowa City.

“I think they’re going to pitch very well,” Boss said of the Hawkeyes. “Their numbers from the mound are extremely good, as are ours. They’re going to play good defense. Offensively, there are times where they swing it real well, and there are times where they’re playing some lower-scoring games. Iowa is well coached and those guys always play hard.”

Third-year Spartan head coach Jake Boss is 5-1 against the Hawkeyes during his brief tenure in East Lansing. In those six games, MSU has outscored Iowa, 89-37, including a 26-run outburst in the series finale last season in East Lansing.

MSU will send senior right-hander Kurt Wunderlich to the mound on Friday night to start game one of the series. Wunderlich is 3-0 in his career against Iowa and is 4-1 this season with a 2.33 ERA.

“He really has embraced that role,” said Boss on Wunderlich being the No. 1 starter this season. “He’s learned how to pitch. When we got here, he was more of a thrower and maybe trying to strike out every hitter that he saw. He’s really learned how to throw three pitches for strikes and locate, especially early in the count. Every time he goes out on Friday, we feel like we have a pretty good chance to win.”

Junior Tony Bucciferro (4-1) will get the call in game two, while freshman David Garner (3-2) will start on Sunday.

Gametracker for all three games will be available at www.msuspartans.com.