When: Tonight, 6Where: Red McEwen Field
The Bulls have a two-game winning streak.Michigan State last dropped a game to UCF.And following Tuesday’s 6-5 win against Stetson, coach Lelo Prado said the team needs pitching to step up.
“This weekend is going to be big,” Prado said. “Michigan State is pretty good. They have a good club that our pitchers have to do their jobs against or we won’t win. That’s just it.”
Prado said the Bulls will be missing pitcher Daniel Thomas over the weekend. The junior is out with an injured right knee. Prado added that senior Yuri Higgins will move into Thomas’ slot in the lineup, and Chris Delaney, who starts tonight, “has to give us a good outing, especially since we don’t have Thomas.”
Senior Danny Otero will pitch Friday against Quinnipiac, and Higgins will make the Saturday start against the Spartans.The Bulls have outscored their opponents 124-92 and played more than double the number of games MSU has, but as a team is batting .302 and has 42 runs on 65 hits.
Offensively, the Spartans are led by first baseman Steve Gerstenberger, who has a team-high .435 batting average, and leadoff batter Brandon Doherty, who had a team-high 10 hits.
MSU’s pitching staff is led by Craig Brookes, who is 1-0 in two starts and has a team-low 0.82 ERA. The senior also leads the team with 11 strikeouts in 11 innings pitched.
USF’s starting pitchers struggled during Sunday’s doubleheader against Central Michigan. Otero and Delaney gave up 14 combined earned runs during their starts. Otero lasted 6 1/3 innings and saw his 0.41 ERA jump to 2.70, while Delaney lasted only two innings in his start. Otero still leads the team with 22 strikeouts while Delaney has 17.
Keep an eye on: Third baseman Addison Maruszak. The sophomore was named Big East Rookie of the Year in 2006. He can be shifted through most of the infield positions but primary played third base this season, where he has 20 putouts. Maruszak, who has started all 15 games this season, is also leading the team with a .408 batting average and has 20 hits and 12 RBI.