Diamond Classic Preview

Mississippi State will face Michigan State and Eastern Illinois in the Diamond Classic, which will be held at Polk-Dement Stadium Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Included is a preview of the two teams that Mississippi State will be facing.


Pitching

Michigan State has a 4-2 record with a 3.06 ERA. Seven of the ten pitchers who have thrown this season have an ERA of 3.27 or less. A key with their pitchers is hit batters. They have hit 12 in their 6 games.

Eastern Illinois has a 1-7 record with a 6.23 ERA. They have faced ranked teams in all 8 of their games, all of which were on the road.

Michigan State is Mississippi State's first opponent of the classic. Gametime is 6:30 pm Friday. Michigan State will throw 6-foot-4, 210-pound, junior righthander Mick VanVossen. He is 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA this season. Prior to this season, he was 9-2 with a 3.16 ERA in 122.1 innings. He was a 49th round selection by the Texas Rangers in the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft.

In his 2 starts this season, he has thrown 11 innings, allowing 4 runs (all earned) on 12 hits and 2 walks while striking out 6. He has hit 3 batters. Teams are hitting .273 against him. He has given up his 4 runs in the second (1 run) and third (3 runs) innings. In his first game he faced Wright State, allowing 1 run on 5 hits, 2 walks with 2 strikeouts in 5 innings. In his second action of the season he faced Utah, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits and 0 walks to go along with his 4 Ks. He hit 3 batters in the game.

MSU will face Eastern Illinois in their second game of the classic at 1 pm Saturday. Eastern Illinois will throw 6-foot-3, 170- pound, sophomore righthander Jake Johansmeier. He is 1-1 with a 5.23 ERA this season. As a freshman, he was 3-4 with a 3.70 ERA and named to the All-OVC Newcomer Team as a pitcher.

In his two outings this season, he has faced two ranked teams, then No. 14 ranked Louisiana and then No. 25 ranked Arkansas. In his start, which was against Louisiana, he threw 6 innings, allowing 1 run (earned) on 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 4. He earned the victory over Louisiana. Against Arkansas, he allowed 6 runs (5 earned) on 4 hits and 1 walk in 4.1 innings of work. He struck out 1.

In their third game of the classic Mississippi State will face Michigan State at 4:30 pm Saturday. Michigan State is expected to throw 6-foot-1, 205-pound, sophomore lefthander Anthony Misiewicz (0-1, 5.68 ERA). As a freshman last season, he appeared in 19 games (18 relief appearances) and ended up with a 5-1 record and 1.60 ERA.

Misiewicz has appeared in two games, one in a starting role. He has thrown 6.1 innings, allowing 5 runs (4 earned) on 4 hits and 5 walks while striking out 3. Teams are hitting .174 against him. In his one start, which was against Wright State, he threw 2 innings, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on 4 hits and 3 walks. He struck out no one. In his next outing, a relief appearance against then No. 1 ranked Oregon State, he threw 4.1 innings, allowing 1 earned run on 0 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3.

In their final game of action, Mississippi State will face Eastern Illinois Sunday at 2:30 pm. Eastern Illinois hasn't announced a starting pitcher. The starting pitcher could either be 6-foot-5, 225-pound, redshirt senior RHP Troy Barton (0-0, 18.00) or 6-foot-3, 205, freshman RHP Jake Haberer (0-1, 24.30 ERA), both of whom have seen starting action this season.

Hitting

Michigan State is hitting .240 as a team. They have hit 2 home runs in their 6 games this season. Michigan State has stolen 7 bases in 9 attempts this season. They are led at the plate by junior Blaise Salter who is hitting .333 (7-for-21). He is tied for the team lead with 2 doubles, 1 home run and 5 RBI. Michigan State has one other batter hitting over .300, redshirt junior Ryan Richardson who is hitting .304 (7-for-23).

Eastern Illinois is hitting.214 as a team. They have hit 0 home runs in their 8 games. They are led at the plate by freshman Frankie Perrone who is hitting .318. He's the only starter hitting over .300 for the team.

Fielding

Michigan State is fielding at a .978 clip and has turned 6 double plays in their 6 games. Their opponents have only stolen 1 base in 5 attempts this season thanks to the strong arm of senior catcher Joel Fisher who has thrown out 55 of 128 baserunners (caught stealing percentage of .430) during his career.

Eastern Illinois is fielding at a .962 clip this season. Their opponents have stolen 7 bases in 9 attempts this season.

Gametimes (Home team listed second)

Friday, Feb. 28 - 2:30 p.m. - Eastern Illinois vs. Michigan State
Friday, Feb. 28 - 6:30 p.m. - Michigan State vs. Mississippi State
Saturday, March 1 - 1 p.m. - Eastern Illinois vs. Mississippi State
Saturday, March 1 - 4:30 p.m. - Michigan State vs. Mississippi State
Sunday, March 2 - 11 a.m. - Michigan State vs. Eastern Illinois
Sunday, March 2 - 3 p.m. - Eastern Illinois vs. Mississippi State


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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