Monday, May 20, 2024

Baseball team gets ready for home stand

April 27, 2001
The Spartan baseball team hosted Northwestern on saturday afternoon. The Wildcats jumped out to a 1–0 lead during a play at the plate in the top of the first inning.

It will be an off-weekend for the Big Ten conference in baseball this weekend, but the MSU baseball team will still be in action with three home games at Kobs Field.

The Spartans will host IUPU-Fort Wayne at 3 p.m. Friday, and Indiana Tech at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Before playing Grand Valley State on Thursday night at Oldsmobile Park, the Spartans dropped two straight games to Central Michigan in Mount Pleasant on Tuesday and at Oldsmobile Park on Wednesday.

Sophomore center fielder Bob Malek said the team hopes to get back to playing some winning baseball at home this weekend.

“We just have to start getting back on track and start winning some games,” he said. “We haven’t been playing to our potential the last two weeks but we’ve got to start soon.”

With it being an off-weekend in the conference, head coach Ted Mahan said it was important for the team to get some action in before its four-game series with archrival Michigan the following weekend.

“We just need to play,” he said. “We certainly can’t afford to take the whole weekend off, and that’s why we’re playing these teams.”

Freshman pitcher Bryan Gale, who was the Big Ten pitcher of the week last week, said the Spartans are a team that’s down, but certainly not out.

“We all know we’re struggling right now - we had an in-state rival come in and we crapped the bed,” he said. “We’ve got to get it back together. We’ve got Michigan coming in next week and we still think we’re alive to make the tournament.”

Mahan said it’s fortunate that IUPU-Fort Wayne and Indiana Tech could come to East Lansing to play this weekend because it’s tough to get teams from other conferences not on their schedule at this point in the season.

Mahan cautioned that his team needs to be prepared this weekend if it wants to start a winning streak.

“If we don’t play good baseball, we’re going to lose,” he said. “They are good teams.”

One sidebar that will surround the team for the weekend and the remainder of the season is Malek’s pursuit of the school’s single-season hits record.

Entering last night’s game against Grand Valley State, Malek had 68 hits on the year, 16 short of Steve Money’s record of 84, which was established in 1994.

“It’s been there the whole year so I just try to go out there like any other game,” Malek said. “If I wasn’t out there trying to chase the record, I’d still try and go out there and get as many (hits) as I could.”

Malek said while he’s trying to not make a big deal out of the record, it would be a nice accomplishment to reach.

“It’d be great to have,” he said. “I play every day, so I try to get some hits every day. If you play long enough, you’re going to start accumulating some stats that people are going to want to start recognizing.”

Mahan said he hasn’t talked to Malek very much about the record and it’s a goal he said Malek still has a long way to go to reach.

“Bobby just can’t worry about that - he’s just got to try to get his at-bats and see what happens,” he said. “He can’t let it affect the way he hits. I don’t think he has and hopefully he’ll continue to do that.

Gale said with Malek doing so much, it’s time for the rest of the team to give him some support.

“For us to win, it’s got to be more than Bob,” he said. “Bob’s done his part and everyone else needs to start stepping up. We can get back on track if everybody starts stepping up and doing their job.”

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