Face time: Jake Boss Jr.
A year after making its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1979, the MSU baseball team narrowly missed the 64-team field this past spring. The Spartans finished with a 33-17 overall record and a 12-9 Big Ten record, but couldn’t quite crack the field as they were the first team left out of the tournament.
This year, the Spartans will try and get back to the NCAA tournament and work toward a Big Ten Championship. MSU will return a bulk of its starting lineup, including junior catcher/first baseman Blaise Salter and junior outfielder Jimmy Pickens.
Salter led the squad in batting average hitting at a .343 clip, while Pickens led the Spartans in numerous offensive categories, including home runs, RBI, runs and slugging percentage. However, the Spartans lost two of their three core starting pitchers to the MLB Draft, as David Garner and Andrew Waszak both were selected in June. Garner went to the Cubs and Waszak went to the Braves. MSU will return junior pitcher Mick VanVossen who will lead the pitching staff.
The State News caught up with head coach Jake Boss Jr. to discuss his team’s fall season so far and the upcoming season.
The State News: How has the fall season been going so far?
Jake Boss Jr.: It’s been going well. A lot of young guys, a lot of new guys, and at the same time we have a lot of our offense back and most of our position players returning. It’s been a good blend of youth vs. experience. The young guys are getting better and the older guys had good summers, and that’s showing on the field right now.
SN: Who has impressed so far this fall?
JB: Of the returning guys, guys like Blaise Salter really swings the bat well. Ryan Krill and Jimmy Pickens are all having good falls. Cam Gibson does what he does. He gets on base and finds ways to score. Tony Cheky’s the same way. Joel Fisher is a rock behind the plate for us and has been so for four years. We have a lot of young guys who are getting their feet wet, but show a lot of promise.
SN: You guys couldn’t quite make the NCAA tournament last year, what do you have to work on to get back?
JB: Probably just consistency, I mean consistency from one day to the next. We were pretty young last year and probably the youth was a main reason for that. With a mix of the guys that we have now, with a lot of guys returning, but a lot of first year guys that may not need to be thrown into the fire right away. Hopefully, they can get that experience and learn from the older guys.