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Boss talks about NCAA Tournament, MLB Draft in meeting with media

June 5, 2012

As the MSU baseball team returns home after a quick exit from the NCAA Tournament, head coach Jake Boss Jr. is forced to look ahead.

The Spartans were ousted from the Palo Alto Regional in Palo Alto, Calif. after a pair of weekend losses to Pepperdine and Fresno State, respectively. The NCAA Tournament berth was the first for the program since 1979, where the Spartans were eliminated on their home field in the Mideast Regional by Pepperdine and San Diego State.

However, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate what MSU accomplished during the 2012 campaign, Boss said in a meeting with the media on Tuesday.

“Well, you know, still a little fresh in our minds I guess with the two losses out in California but I think as we take a look back, 37 wins is the third most in school history, first regional in 33 years,” Boss said. “You know, why we always want a little bit more, when we take a step back and look, it was a pretty good year.”

Coming off the program’s first Big Ten championship in 32 years a season ago, the fourth year head coach guided MSU to a record of 37-23 with a 13-11 mark in the Big Ten in 2012. Despite the Spartans finishing fifth in the conference, MSU still earned a spot in the Big Ten Tournament and used the merit of a strong nonconference schedule to propel to the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth in more than three decades.

“You look at the whole scope of the entire season, you try to sit down and evaluate with every one of our guys and with our staff,” he said. “I think based on where the program was and where our seniors have taken it, I think yeah, you can look at it and find a lot of positives, no question.”

Draft dodger

A major question facing the program will be determining how the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft will affect next season’s roster.

With several players anticipating hearing their name called in the annual professional baseball draft, the Spartans could face several key losses in 2013.

Junior third baseman Torsten Boss was selected by the Baltimore Orioles with the 252nd overall pick in the eighth round of the draft on Tuesday and several others also are expected to be picked. Among them, juniors second baseman Ryan Jones, outfielder Jordan Keur and pitcher and outfielder Tony Wieber might hear their names called to join the professional ranks.

Jake Boss Jr. said — though it would be nice to keep these players with the program — if the opportunity to play professional baseball is there, each individual player has his blessing to do so.

“I don’t know that nervous is the right word. Really, excited for our guys,” Boss said. “The next couple of days will answer a lot of questions, you know. Anytime they get an opportunity to go out and play pro baseball, it’s good for them, obviously, it’s good for our program. I think it speaks to the caliber of players we have in our program (and) that we’re recruiting to be in our program.”

In addition, MSU recruit Justin Alleman also is expected to be picked in the draft. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound pitcher and catcher from Holt, Mich. is the No. 5-ranked high school player in the state of Michigan, according to michiganbaseballprospects.org.

As was the case for “The Fresh Four” pitcher Mick VanVossen, catcher Blaise Salter, first baseman Ryan Krill and outfielder Jimmy Pickens a season ago who were drafted to the professional ranks, Boss said he understands Alleman has a big decision to make. But, in a similar fashion to the players on the roster, Boss said the decision belongs to Alleman and he be comfortable with either choice he makes.

“That’s a decision that he and his family will have to make,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of people pulling him in a lot of different directions, which isn’t really fair I don’t think for an 18-year-old kid. I think that that part of it is too bad. … Justin’s going to be in a position where he has a decision to make. Again, whatever’s best for him and his family.”

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