MINNEAPOLIS – Heading into the 2018 season, GopherSports.com will take a look at each of the Gopher Baseball program’s 2018 foes. Wrapping up the weekly series, we look at the team’s final two Big Ten opponents, Michigan State and Rutgers.
Scouting the Spartans Website | @StateBaseball
Michigan State finished ninth in the Big Ten last season, posting a 10-14 mark in league play, while finishing 29-23 overall … head coach Jake Boss Jr. returns for his 10th season at the helm of the Spartans … sophomore outfielder Bryce Kelley returns after a Freshman All-America selection from Collegiate Baseball. He led MSU with a .353 batting average in 41 games, scoring 34 runs on the year … senior catch Chad Roskelly returns after batting .324 in 39 games, slugging three home runs and striking out 20 times, the lowest for any player on Michigan State with over 100 at-bats … junior pitcher Riley McCauley earned a Preseason All-Big Ten nod from Perfect Game last month after wrapping up 2017 with a 2.10 ERA in 25 appearances out of the bullpen, including nine saves … senior righty Andrew Gonzalez returns after making 10 starts for the Spartans, posting a 5.00 ERA in 45 innings while striking out just 19 … Minnesota owns an 88-45 all-time record against Michigan State, sweeping the season series last year to mark five straight victories against the Spartans dating back to 2015.
Scouting the Scarlet Knights Website | @RutgersBaseball
Rutgers closed out 2017 at 19-34 overall and wrapped up Big Ten play with a 7-16 record to finish 13th … head coach Joe Litterio returns for season five leading the Scarlet Knights … junior catcher Nick Matera returns after landing on the All-Big Ten Third Team a season ago, batting .293 in 38 games with five home runs … senior utility man Chris Folinusz batted .283 in 41 games, lifting nine doubles and crossing the plate 21 times … junior righty Serafino Brito returns after posting a 4.84 ERA in 13 starts, as does senior John O’Reilly who finished 4-7 in his 14 starts, striking out 44 in 76.2 innings … the Gophers are 6-5 all-time against the Scarlet Knights, sweeping a doubleheader against Rutgers last season at Siebert Field.
Minnesota hosts Michigan State in the final regular season series of the year at Siebert Field. The Gophers and Spartans will do battle Friday, May 11 at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. The Maroon & Gold open their season officially at Georgia Tech next Friday, Feb. 16 at 4 p.m. ET.
Check out the entire run of Offseason Outlook previews in the archive:
Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State, Georgia State (Dec. 6)
Boston College, Chicago State, Mount St. Mary’s (Dec. 13)
North Dakota State, South Dakota State (Dec. 20)
DQ Classic/Big Ten-Pac 12 Challenge (Dec. 27)
Omaha, UW-Milwaukee, Creighton (Jan. 3)
George Washington, UT-Arlington, TCU (Jan. 11)
Nebraska, St. John’s, St. Louis (Jan. 18)
Penn State, Purdue, Iowa (Jan. 24)
Ohio State, Bethel, Indiana (Jan. 31)
Michigan State, Rutgers (Feb. 7)
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