COLUMN: Men's baseball team needs to step up performance
After playing mostly .500 baseball through the first third of the season, the men's baseball team (12-12 overall, 2-3 Big Ten) needs to heat up as the weather does if they hope to do anything of significance this season.
The team only has 17 home games on their 56-game regular season schedule. Through their first four home games, the team has a 3-1 record and that will need to continue.
With so few home games in such a lengthy season it is imperative for the Spartans to take as many as possible at McLane Baseball Stadium.
The Spartans went 15-7 at home in the 2011-12 season — the last time that MSU went to the NCAA Tournament.
“Every one (of the home games) is important, we like playing at home, all the guys are comfortable playing at home," head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. "You’ve got to take care of your home turf, (the home games) are big, especially in the conference.”
As of March 28, the Spartans only have two players hitting .300 and above — senior infielder Mark Weist at .344 and freshman infielder Kory Young.
Young has only started in six, appearing in 12 of the 23 games these stats are referencing, so Weist is the only player with a large sample size carrying over a .300 average.
Boss believes the team is still getting into a rhythm, and that with more play, he hopes the team will see some consistency offensively.
“The more we play, the more we can hopefully get into a rhythm and keep some consistency offensively," Boss Jr. said.
In seven of the team's 12 losses this season, the Spartans have failed to put up one or more runs, including four 3-1 losses.
The team will need senior catcher and first baseman Blaise Salter to continue be a major contributor on offense, Salter holds the single season doubles record for the Spartans as he put up 22 in 2014 and as of March 29, he became the career doubles leader with 48 in the team's 5-2 win over Illinois.
As of March 28, Salter leads the team in RBI and home runs with 16 RBI and three home runs but he has to continue that pace if the Spartans hope to move out of the middle of the pack.
Sophomore pitcher Cam Vieaux echoed the sentiments of his head coach, in that the team will build consistency as it gets more reps.
“Being a team from up north it’s tough to go down south and expect to hit .340 every game," Vieaux said. "I think now that we’ve been playing five games a week, we’re seeing more at-bat and we’re going to come around and we’re going to start playing some really good baseball.”