PARK RIDGE, Ill. â€“ For the first time in his career, Spartan junior right-hander Tony Bucciferro has been named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week, the conference office announced Monday afternoon.
Bucciferro threw his third career complete-game shutout in MSUâ€™s 2-0 victory over Minnesota on Saturday. The Spartans (20-7) swept the Gophers in a three-game series for the first time in school history and moved to first place in the Big Ten standings at 5-1.
The 2-0 victory marked MSU’s first shutout win over Minnesota since 1991, and it was just the fourth shutout in series history for the Spartans over the Gophers.
Bucciferro scattered just five hits, struck out two, and didn’t walk a batter in earning his sixth win of the season, which ties for the Big Ten lead. In addition to the shutout, it marked his fifth career complete game and second of the year. The junior from Joliet, Ill., delivered complete-game shutouts last season against Southeast Missouri and Notre Dame.
“I had all my pitches moving and I was able to control them,” said Bucciferro after the game, as he only threw 89 pitches. “I got them chasing a couple and my fielders were out there to back me up. I didn’t strike many guys out, so I had to rely on my defense, and my defense stepped up today.”
“Tony was lights out all day,” said MSU head coach Jake Boss following the win. “He really kept his pitch count down and got a lot of outs early in the count, which let him go the whole way. It was a dominating performance on his part.”