College notes: MSU baseball, softball welcome light towers for 2019

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Michigan State baseball coach Jake Boss was an assistant at Michigan when the Wolverines played their first home game under the lights and was head coach at Eastern Michigan when that school installed lights there.

Jake Boss was an assistant baseball coach at Michigan for the Wolverines' first home game under the lights. And he was the head coach at Eastern Michigan when the Eagles installed their lights.

Now, he'll see the light at Michigan State, which announced last week that anonymous donation of more than $1 million will go for the additional of lights at the campus' baseball and softball stadiums.

Baseball will host nine games this season, starting at 5 p.m. or later, while the softball team will host seven night games.

Construction on the light towers will begin in the coming weeks, and be in place for the baseball team's first home night game Friday, April 5, against Indiana State, and the softball team's first night game Friday, March 22, against Penn State.

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"It's been on the list of things to do ever since we got here. Obviously, we have to prioritize things, and we've gotta get certain things done before others," said Boss, who is entering his 11th season as head baseball coach at Michigan State. "But it's always something that we've talked about doing, along with softball and soccer. Once soccer was able to secure some of the funding, it really helped our cause."

The LED lighting system will be the same that's used at Spartan Stadium and DeMartin Stadium, home of Michigan State men's and women's soccer, as well as Breslin Center and Munn Ice Arena.

The baseball stadium will see the installation of seven light towers

The total project, for baseball and softball, will cost $1.4 million.

There are plenty of benefits, Boss said.

"A couple of them," he said. "Obviously, the atmosphere is different at night from a fan's perspective. I think it's just a little bit different, a little bit more electric. We saw that with our soccer program (which reached the Final Four) this season. There's more of an excitement in the air when you do play at night.

"Logistically, it also gives us the freedom to finish games if we do happen to get a delay. Our conference continues to get better and better, and every game is really, really important. The freedom to not have to worry about daylight is huge."

From a players' perspective, Boss said, it's ideal, too. The lights will allow the team to practice later in the day, opening up more flexibility for class schedules.

Michigan State will become the 11th baseball program to install lights, leaving only Rutgers and Northwestern without them. Wisconsin doesn't have a baseball program.

This and that

Western Michigan has joined the national rankings in men's hockey, coming in at No. 14 in both the USA Today/USA Hockey poll and the U.S. College Hockey Online poll. Western is the only state team ranked.

The Broncos over the weekend won a tournament in Las Vegas, having beaten Connecticut and Air Force. They have a nation-best eight-game unbeaten streak.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984