When you hear Michigan State and the year 1979, Earvin “Magic” Johnson definitely comes to mind. Before 2000, that was the last time the MSU men’s hoops team won the national championship. 1979 is also a big year for the State baseball team. It was the last time the Spartans had played in the NCAA baseball tournament – until now. Head coach Jake Boss, Jr. and his boys were selected as at-large team to play in the tournament of 64 teams which begins Friday.
State will travel to Palo Alto, California to compete in a four-team, double elimination tournament as the three seed. They will face second seed Pepperdine on Friday at 4pm Eastern. Stanford, the top seed/host, will match up against Fresno State. Michigan State is led by All-Big Ten first team outfielder Jordan Keur, second-teamers second baseman Ryan Jones and shortstop Justin Scanlon and third-teamers ace Tony Bucciferro and third baseman Torsten Boss.
MSU finished fifth in the Big Ten with a 13-11 record, but a 37-21 over record and an impressive non-conference schedule helped them clinch a bid to the NCAA Tournament. They finished third in the Big Ten Tournament this past weekend, losing their second game to Indiana in the loser’s bracket finale on Saturday. While their resume stacked up pretty well against other at-large candidates, it was up to the committee to select them over less-deserving teams from the south – something that is not common in college baseball.
Here is video of the team watching the selection show from the MSU women’s basketball team’s video room earlier Monday afternoon. Jake Boss, Jr. can be seen hugging his father, Jake Boss, Sr., a volunteer assistant coach for MSU in the last row. Boss, Sr. announced last week that he is retiring after this season. In four years under the Boss’ tutelage, the Spartans have gone from 23-31 in year one to three straight 34+ win seasons.
Amidst the celebration, the players and coaches had to rewind the tape to see who where they’re headed and who they’ll be playing because they missed it the first time around. Well deserved, boys. Go show the left coast that northern teams can play ball.