Garner continuing to grow for MSUPublished 8:33pm Tuesday, June 12, 2012
BERRIEN SPRINGS — The Michigan State baseball team enjoyed a successful year as it reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 33 years.
The Spartans last appeared in the post season in 1979.
Part of that success came from sophomore pitcher David Garner of Niles.
Garner went 6-3 with an ERA of 3.28 this year for the Spartans, who finished 37-23 overall and was 13-11 in the Big Ten. Garner appeared in 20 games, starting 11 of them. He pitched 74 innings, which was third best on the squad.
He struck out 75 and walked 31.
As a freshman, Garner went 5-4 with an ERA of 4.62 in 20 appearances. He made eight starts for the Spartans in 2011. The former Niles standout earned Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honors both as a freshman and again this past season.
The Spartan coaching staff was in its second day on the road and made a stop to meet and greet alumni and fans at the Berrien County Sportsman’s Club Tuesday.
Michigan State coach Jake Boss Jr. said that Garner is maturing quite nicely for the Spartans and he expects him to have a big year as a junior.
“Matured is the operative word there,” Boss said. “It is fun to watch a kid like that grow up, not only on the field, but in the classroom also. He is certainly a really talented kid, so from a baseball perspective, just watching him fine tune some things and clean up his delivery and throwing more strikes early in the count. He is tightening up his curve ball and is certainly putting himself in a good position to really have a big junior year for us.
“And then off the field, he’s starting to put more of an emphasis into the classroom and just seeing him realize that baseball is going to end some day so he needs to have something to fall back on. He’s just a great kid. He really didn’t understand how to work his freshman year probably because his ability was so good he didn’t have to. His work ethic is starting to get there. He’s learned from some pretty good guys on our pitching staff. He just continues to get better and better and I can’t say enough about him.”