EAST LANSING, Mich. â€“ Michigan State baseball head coach Jake Boss has announced the winners of the team's annual awards. In all, six student-athletes were recognized by their teammates for their efforts this past season.
Junior second baseman Ryan Jones and junior left fielder Jordan Keur shared the John Kobs Most Valuable Player Award.
Jones, who was also named the Kirk Gibson Offensive Player of the Year and the Danny Litwhiler Defensive Player of the Year, led the Big Ten in hits with 92, which ranked third most in an MSU single-season. Recently selected in the 13th round (No. 418 overall) of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the San Francisco Giants, Jones is the only Spartan second baseman in school history to earn All-Big Ten honors three times (second team in 2010; first team in 2011; second team in 2012).
In just three seasons at MSU, Jones already ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in doubles (second with 46), hits (third with 240) and runs (sixth with 147). The Haslett, Mich., native owns a career batting average of .358 and has five homers and 104 RBIs to go along with his .431 on-base percentage. He has started 163 career games at second base.
As a junior this season, Jones finished among the Big Ten leaders in 10 different offensive categories, including hits (92), at-bats (first with a school-record 261), sacrifice flies (second with 6), runs (third with 52), total bases (fourth with 123), doubles (fifth with 16), walks (sixth with 35), batting (ninth at .352), on-base percentage (ninth at .422) and triples (tied for 10th with 3).
Jones tied for the team lead with 18 two-out RBIs and 10 multiple RBI games, and ranked second with 25 multi-hit games. He hit .378 (31-for-82) in the seventh inning or later.
An excellent defensive player, Jones ranked second in the Big Ten with a school-record 188 assists.
In addition to sharing MVP honors, Keur was named the Steve Garvey Most Improved Player.
Keur, who started in all 60 games (49 in left field, 11 in center field), was the teamâ€™s batting champion with a .353 batting average â€“ an improvement of .97 from a year ago (.260) â€“ and was MSUâ€™s lone first-team All-Big Ten selection. His average was also the eighth best in the Big Ten.
Keur finished the season with 89 hits, second in the Big Ten only to Jones; that total also ranks fourth most in an MSU single-season. In addition, Keur was listed among the conference leaders in at-bats (second with 252), on-base percentage (fifth at .432), runs (tied for eighth with 47) and doubles (tied for 10th with 14).
Keur led the team with 31 multi-hit games and batted .351 with runners in scoring position. He posted a career-high 15-game hitting streak and during one stretch, reached base safely in 18 straight games.
Bucciferro was named the Robin Roberts Most Valuable Pitcher after closing out his career as the school's all-time leader in innings pitched (372.1) and starts (55). He also ranks second in MSU history in strikeouts (273) and tied for third in wins (26).
A two-time All-Big Ten selection (first team in 2011; third team in 2012), Bucciferro led the Big Ten in strikeouts with 94 this season, marking the fifth most in MSU single-season history. He also ranked first in the conference with a school-record 111.1 innings pitched, and was listed among the league leaders in ERA (ninth at 3.07) and opposing batting average (10th at .250).
The Joliet, Ill., native was one of only three conference pitchers to win Big Ten Pitcher of the Week at least twice this season. He was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week after allowing only one hit in six shutout innings in the win over No. 11 St. John's on Opening Day, and also garnered Big Ten Co-Pitcher of the Week accolades for the third time in his career after throwing a five-hit, complete game shutout in the 6-0 win over Iowa on May 11. It marked his fourth career complete game shutout. Bucciferro garnered Big Ten All-Tournament Team honors after he allowed just two runs in eight innings in MSU's opening round win over Nebraska.
Bucciferro was chosen by the Chicago White Sox in the 14th round (No. 441 overall) of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft earlier this week.
Prior to the season, Bucciferro and senior shortstop Justin Scanlon were voted captains by their teammates, and received the Lyman Frimodig Captainâ€™s Award for their service.
A second-team All-Big Ten selection, Scanlon started every game at shortstop for MSU the past two seasons â€“ 117 straight â€“ after transferring from Madison Junior College. He batted .265 with 27 RBIs, and collected a .314 average during conference games.
Junior infielder Andrew Rademacher earned the Jerry Sutton Student-Athlete Award. A two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Rademacher owns a 3.69 GPA with a major in accounting.
Senior reliever Tim Simpson was the recipient of the Craig Hendricks Spartan Spirit Award. Simpson made more than 40 career appearances out of the bullpen, including seven this season, and his 24 appearances during MSUâ€™s Big Ten Championship season last year ranked tied for seventh most in school history. He collected four saves in his career, including one this year in the extra-inning victory at Cincinnati. Simpson also started the 2012 Crosstown Showdown against the Lansing Lugnuts and threw two shutout innings.
The 2012 season was another stepping stone for the Michigan State Spartan program as it continues its rise onto the national stage. MSU won at least 30 games for the third straight year, a first in program history, won the third-most games in program history with 37, and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, marking the school's first appearance in the tournament since 1979 and just the fifth overall.
2012 MICHIGAN STATE BASEBALL AWARDS
John Kobs Most Valuable Player: Ryan Jones, Jordan Keur
Robin Roberts Most Valuable Pitcher: Tony Bucciferro
Kirk Gibson Offensive Player of the Year: Ryan Jones
Danny Litwhiler Defensive Player of the Year: Ryan Jones
Steve Garvey Most Improved Player: Jordan Keur
Jerry Sutton Student-Athlete Award: Andrew Rademacher
Lyman Frimodig Captain Award: Tony Bucciferro, Justin Scanlon
Craig Hendricks Spartan Spirit Award: Tim Simpson