Michigan State’s baseball season is officially over, and the ending couldn’t have been more painful to hear.
The Spartans did not receive one of 30 at-large bids to the NCAA tournament on Monday, putting the cap on a disappointing and injury-filled season.
NCAA selection committee chairman Dennis Farrell told reporters that MSU was the first team left out of the 64-team field.
The Spartans end their year with a 33-17 overall record. MSU, which missed the Big Ten Tournament with a 12-9 seventh-place conference record, waited all weekend with a faint hope that it would receive an at-large spots.
The Big Ten only had two teams make the NCAA field. Regular-season and conference tournament champion Indiana will host a regional, and Illinois earned an at-large berth and will play in Nashville. The Spartans went 5-1 against the Hoosiers and Illini this season.
But what ultimately doomed MSU was a 3-3 finish against Iowa and Penn State, two teams that were at the bottom of the Big Ten standings. That both caused the Spartans to miss the conference tournament and for their RPI ranking to dip significantly from a more secure situation throughout the season.
Two RPI simulators – BoydsWorld.com and WarrenNolan.com – calculated the Spartans’ RPI to be in the 40s on Monday after they spent most of the last two months in the low- to mid-20s. MSU is 46th by Boydsworld.com and 42nd by WarrenNolan.com.
The NCAA’s official RPI rankings , which are typically released on Tuesdays, had the Spartans 36th last week. However, by missing the Big Ten Tournament, all they could do this week was watch other teams surpass them and bump them farther and farther down.
It was MSU’s fourth straight 30-win season. It only loses three seniors of significance in ace starting pitcher Andrew Waszak, left-handed reliever Trey Popp and outfielder Jordan Keur, who tore his Achilles’ tendon in early April and missed the rest of the season.
However, the Spartans could also lose junior right-handed starting pitcher David Garner and sophomore outfielder Jimmy Pickens to the MLB First-Year Player Draft – both players were drafted out of high school. Pickens is eligible as a sophomore because he is 21.
Along with Keur, MSU also lost senior third baseman John Martinez and junior left-handed pitcher Jeff Kinley to season-ending injuries in March. Both are expected to receive medical redshirts and return next season.