Previewing this weekend’s series between MSU and Indiana


MSU first baseman/ pitcher Zach Iverson celebrates after scoring a run/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Robert Butterson, General Assignment Reporter

EAST LANSING — For more than 670 days, Michigan State baseball has not played a home game at Kobs Field in East Lansing. That extended stretch will be coming to an end  Friday, as the Michigan State Spartans (6-6) square off against the Indiana Hoosiers (9-2) in a three-game series. 

Sitting atop the Big Ten standings is Indiana, with a strong 9-2 record that featured an eight-game winning streak after dropping its first game of the season to Rutgers. 

In 2019, Indiana coach Jeff Mercer was named Big Ten Coach of the Year after leading the Hoosiers to the regular-season title in his first season with the team, after previously leaving Wright State. 

The Hoosiers have announced that Junior southpaw Tommy Sommer will be getting the ball to start the series. Sommer has been the lead horse for the Hoosiers so far, boasting a 2-0 record with a 1.40 ERA. He also leads the team in innings pitched with 19 and one-third. 

It doesn’t get much easier after Sommer, as the Hoosiers have posted an NCAA best 4.5 hits allowed per game while also posting the nation’s leading WHIP (walks and hits per inning) at 0.93. Additionally, right-hander McCade Brown leads the Big Ten in strikeouts with 57 this season and will be expected to start on Saturday against the Spartans. 

As far as offensive production goes, Indiana starts with its leadoff man Drew Ashley, who has a current on-base streak of 36 straight games. The Hoosier’s power comes from their preseason player of the year, center fielder Grant Richardson, and second baseman Paul Toetz, as the two have combined for 4 home runs and 17 RBIs. 

Michigan State will look for strong performances from typical starters Mason Erla, Adam Berghorst and freshman southpaw Nick Powers. Powers shutout the Michigan Wolverines in his seven-inning outing last Monday, earning himself his first collegiate victory. 

 The Spartans currently sit at a 6-6 record, which is good enough for seventh in the Big Ten standings. It hasn’t been the most consistent season for MSU, but the Spartans have been competitive in almost every game and pride themselves on manufacturing runs to win games.  

Offensively, MSU has gotten significant contributions from outfielders Zaid Walker and senior Joe Stewart. Both are the only Spartans to total more than 20 bases on the young season, demonstrating their consistency and reliability. 

 During the past five seasons, Michigan State and Indiana have faced off seven times, with Michigan State being the victor in only two of the previous matchups.  

 Although Indiana leads with its firepower, Michigan State will have to come ready to play this weekend if it wants to pull out a win. The first pitch of Friday’s game is scheduled for 3:05 p.m., followed by 1:05 p.m. start times on Saturday and Sunday.