Michigan State head coach picks up 300th win, Erla goes 7.0 IP with six Ks as MSU wins 6-0.
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State baseball head coach Jake Boss Jr. earned his 300th victory for MSU with the Spartans’ 6-0 win over Rutgers Sunday afternoon at a chilly McLane Stadium at Kobs Field.
The Spartan head coach picked up his 300th win at the helm of the MSU program, a year after earning his 300th career win last season. Boss is in his 10th season leading the Spartans, now with a 300-222 record at MSU.
“We did this a year ago at Richmond when I got my 300th career win. It’s really an honor for me to put the uniform on, so I take a lot of pride in it. We have had a lot of good kids playing for us and a lot of good members of our staff and a lot of people that worked really hard. I don’t take that lightly by any means, so I get to live a dream out here, so that’s pretty cool,” an emotional Boss said about his 300th win.
After the game, Boss was presented the game ball by his team, after becoming the fifth head coach in MSU baseball’s storied history to reach the 300-win plateau.
“To be the head baseball coach at Michigan State for me growing up here, coming to watch games here since I was a kid and I saw Kirk Gibson play here and all these guys, it honestly is a dream come true for me to be able to put the uniform on,” Boss said.
Sunday’s win snapped an eight-game losing skein for the Spartans, while improving to 7-19 overall and was their first Big Ten win of the season, now 1-5 in conference contests.
“I mean they all are right now,” Boss said about if Sunday’s win was extra special. “You know the way the last couple weeks have gone it’s been tough-sledding around here and I give our guys a lot of credit because they keep working hard, they show up with a good attitude and they keep playing hard. It was good to see them get rewarded for that today.”
MSU has won eight of the last 10 in the series with Rutgers, improving to 14-4 all-time against the Scarlet Knights. With Sunday’s loss, Rutgers slid to 15-10 overall and 4-2 in B1G action.
Redshirt-freshman pitcher Mason Erla was dealing on the mound Sunday, firing six strikeouts in going 7.0 IP, scattering four hits and walking three, improving to 4-1 on the year. Sophomore reliever Mitchell Tyranski and senior reliever Jake Lowery each pitched one inning without a run, as the Spartans posted their second shutout of the season.
Erla’s six Ks were his second-highest outing of the season behind his career-best nine vs. Niagara on March 17, and he now has five or more punchouts in three of the last four outings.
“Mason Erla was lights out today. Defensively I thought we played very well and that was it,” Boss said. “We do have some speed at the top and the bottom of the order and so if we feel like we can get the lead off guy, then we can do some different things and play some short game stuff and you know get some good at bats with two strikes especially.”
Senior designated hitter Chad Roskelly was 1-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored, motoring all the way from first for one run, and scoring from third on another after belting his first career triple. Fellow senior, first baseman Zack McGuire was 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, lacing a double in the fourth to plate Roskelly with the Spartans’ first run of the game.
Sophomore left fielder Justin Antoncic was 2-for-3 with a run scored, while sophomore center fielder Danny Gleaves was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Both Gleaves and Antoncic also stole a base, giving them 11 and 10 base swipes on the season, respectively.
Senior second baseman Kory Young was 1-for-3 with a run scored, while freshman shortstop Ryan King was 1-for-3 with an RBI and junior catcher Nic Lacayo was 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
After a scoreless first three innings of the game, the Spartans erupted for three runs in the home half of the fourth. Roskelly sparked the rally with a leadoff walk, then he motored all the way around from first to score on an RBI double to center by fellow senior McGuire. King sacrifice bunted McGuire to third and Lacayo belted a double down the right field line to drive in the Spartan first baseman. After Lacayo advanced to third on a flyout, Gleaves laid down a safety squeeze bunt in front of the plate to score Lacayo for a 3-0 Spartan lead.
In the fifth, Antoncic led off with a single, moved up to second on a balk, stole third and later scored on an RBI triple by Roskelly, his first career triple. Two batters later, King laced a single to left to plate Roskelly and give MSU a 5-0 lead.
Roskelly came up to bat with the bases loaded and no outs in the seventh, but hit into a double play that allowed a run to score on the play for MSU’s final scoring and the 6-0 score.
Michigan State continues its 12-game homestand with another in-state foe, hosting Eastern Michigan on Wednesday, April 4 at 3:05 p.m.
Wednesday is full of coaching connections, as MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr., coached at EMU as head coach for one season in 2008, MSU assistant coach/pitching coach Mark Van Ameyde was head coach at EMU from 2014-17, before returning to MSU, Spartan volunteer assistant coach Jordan Keur was also an assistant at Eastern Michigan for the 2015 season under Van Ameyde after playing for him at Michigan State.
EMU interim head coach Eric Roof is in his fourth season at Eastern Michigan, after serving as a volunteer assistant under Coach Boss at MSU for two seasons (2013-14), and was a three-year letterwinner at Michigan State (2007-09), playing under Coach Boss. Current EMU pitching coach A.J. Achter was also a three-year letterwinner for the Spartans (2008-10), and was teammates with Roof under Coach Boss. Achter went on to have a three-year career in Major League Baseball as part of eight years in professional baseball.
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