Baseball: Wildcats look to continue hot streak against Michigan State

Jesse Kramer, Reporter

Northwestern (12-25, 4-10 Big Ten) is back on the road this weekend as it looks to continue its hot streak at Michigan State (21-17, 5-7). The Wildcats are coming off a pair of midweek wins against Wheaton and Chicago State, and overall they have won six of their last seven games.

Coach Paul Stevens said he thinks the Cats’ recent hot stretch has been a result of the team finally getting settled. Due to a slew of injuries, Stevens had to keep mixing and matching with his lineup.

“There’s people in spots that they’ve never been in,” Stevens said. “I think they’re starting to feel comfortable with it.”

Meanwhile, NU catches Michigan State during some tough times. The Spartans knocked off Toledo on Tuesday, but before that they had lost four games in a row.

Still, Stevens refuses to overlook Michigan State. The Spartans boast a loaded pitching staff. Probable starters Mick VanVossen, Justin Alleman and Cam Vieaux have combined for a 14-6 record with a 2.57 ERA. They also have a dangerous hitter in Blaise Salter, who ranks second in the Big Ten in RBIs and third in slugging percentage.

But Stevens is not concerned with how things look on paper.

“Anybody in baseball can beat you on any given date,” Stevens said. “At the end of the day, it is about the people who are out there and how they’re going to react to what’s going on.”

Already in the second half of the Big Ten schedule, this series could also have conference tournament implications. NU sits in last place, but it is only one game out of sixth place. Michigan State sits in seventh place. The top eight teams in the league make the Big Ten Tournament in May. 

Stevens said taking two of three games at Nebraska — then in second place — last weekend helped build the Cats’ confidence for the final month of the regular season.

“They believe that they can’t be denied right now,” Stevens said. “They’re going to work their backsides off every single opportunity they have a chance to go out there and compete. That’s what I’ve been asking of them all year. And they’ve been really good at that.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @Jesse_Kramer