In his last regular season start, redshirt-sophomore pitcher Alex Troop led the MSU baseball team to a victory over in-state rival Michigan. It was a game for the ages, as he was later honored with the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week award for his impressive performance.
Troop recorded his first career Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honor after pitching a 10-strikeout, two-hitter, in eight inning against the Wolverines. The Batavia, Illinois native said he took the mound at McLane Stadium with a clear gameplan in mind.
“I was just trying to attack, just don’t fall behind," Troop said. "The last couple weeks I had been struggling with my control a little bit, I had walked a few too many guys for my liking, so I just wanted to make sure I attacked hitters right away."
The Spartans had to win all three games of the series in order to earn a spot in the Big Ten Tournament. Fighting for their postseason lives, Troop took the mound focused and prepared. He went on to dominate the Wolverines' high-powered offense holding them to their fewest hits of the season. Unfortunately, the Spartans would go on to lose two out of three games, after Troop took care of game one.
Troop seized the advantage of the big moment by delivering arguably his best performance of the season. He matched his career-highs in both strikeouts and hits. Troop said earning the honor was undeniably positive, but a game in the win column was all that mattered to him.
"(The award) means a lot, it's definitely a great honor," Troop said. "It's great to be recognized like that, but at the end of the day as long as we won the game that I threw that’s what matters."
Big games often give way to big performances and Troop proved he had what it takes to rise to the occasion. With his mind set on attacking the Michigan hitters, Troop took the mound and proceeded to dictate the game.
His fastball helped him establish control of the game by getting ahead of batters. Then Troop was able to utilize a plethora of pitch combinations to keep the Michigan batters on their toes, so much so that he took a perfect game into the sixth inning. He then carried a no-hitter into the seventh before allowing back-to-back singles that eventually led to the end of his shutout.
Troop credited the scouting report from pitching coach Skylar Meade and the feel of the game.
"We have a scouting report and our pitching coach follows it really tightly … and then at the same time you’ll look at tendencies going on in the game, see if they’re swinging late or early," Troop said. "Seeing if they’re aggressive, so that will kind of dictate what kind of pitches we throw, too."
Now, Troop is projected to be drafted later this year in the upcoming MLB draft. Whether he chooses to move on in his baseball career and turn pro or if he chooses to return to MSU, he has a promising future.
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