Big Ten Baseball Weekly Review - 2012 Week 6

Big Ten Conference play started this week, which also meant that BTN coverage of the conference started when Nebraska played their first Big Ten game against Illinois. BTN will be showing a pretty fair amount of baseball this season, so keep that in mind if you're keen on seeing what your opponents are doing.

Purdue rose to #19 in Baseball America's Top 25 poll and continue to be ranked in all polls. In case you're wondering, Nebraska is not ranked, nor even within consideration of ranking.

Standings and a look at the week in review are after the jump.

Big Ten

Overall

Team

Record

Pct.

Record

Pct.

1. Purdue

2-1

.667

16-4

.800

Nebraska

2-1

.667

17-9

.654

Iowa

2-1

.667

9-11

.450

Indiana

2-1

.667

10-14

.417

5. Illinois

1-2

.333

11-9

.550

Ohio State

1-2

.333

12-10

.545

Northwestern

1-2

.333

8-14

.364

Penn State

1-2

.333

5-16

.238

9. Michigan State

0-0

.000

13-7

.650

Minnesota

0-0

.000

12-13

.480

Michigan

0-0

.000

11-12

.478

Week In Review

Illinois

1-2

Illinois 11, Nebraska 3

Nebraska 18, Illinois 5

Nebraska 13, Illinois 3

Things started well, mashing Nebraska into the ground on the conference television network, with Kevin Johnson going seven innings, giving up nine hits, and three runs while his team clobbered the Huskers with 15 hits and all them runs.

Then things went horribly wrong. as the Huskers managed 31 runs over the next two games while the Illinois offense scored only eight (there's something terribly wrong with that sentence with regards to baseball).

Indiana

4-1

Indiana 6, Eastern Kentucky 4

Indiana 11, Eastern Kentucky 5

Indiana 14, Penn State 2

Penn State 4, Indiana 3 (10 innings)

Indiana 2, Penn State 1

Hey! It was a good week for Hoosier baseball, pulling a sweep against Eastern Kentucky mid-week, and then winning their first conference series against Penn State.

Last week I talked about the Hoosier's issues with errors. After committing 42 errors in 19 games previously, they committed only 10 errors in five games this week. Improvement? Yes, especially when you consider they committed only four total errors in their three game series with PSU, including an error-free game to take the rubber match.

As noted below, Hoosier Sam Travis earned Player and Co-Freshman of the Week Honors for going 8-for-11 against Penn State, hitting .727.

Iowa

3-1

Iowa 20, Grandview 1

Iowa 3, Northwestern 2

Northwestern 3, Iowa 0

Iowa 3, Northwestern 1

No, I don't know who Grandview is either.

The zombie apocalypse started during Friday's game in Iowa City, but no one was there to notice, or couldn't tell the difference between zombies and the offensive firepower displayed during all three games in this series.

Iowa - six runs in three conference games. Northwestern - six runs in three conference games.

Okay, I'll try to be a little bit fairer. Fact is, NU's Franics Brooke and Iowa's Sasha Kuebel are amongst the top pitchers in the conference.

Brooke went eight innings giving up five hits and two runs (one earned) in the Friday 3-2 loss, but Iowa countered with a complete game from Jarred Hippen, who pitched a complete game giving up nine hits and two runs.

Saturday saw Wildcat pitcher Brandon Magallones throw seven innings, giving up only five hits, while Luke Farrell pitched the last two innings, only giving up a hit.

Sunday's game had both pitchers go seven innings, but Iowa's Kuebel edged out NU's Zach Morton as Kuebel gave up only two hits and one unearned run (Morton - six hits, three unearned runs). Four errors DOOMED the Wildcats in the loss.

Michigan

2-1

IPFW 8, Michigan 6 (11 innings)

Michigan 4, IPFW 2

Michigan 11, IPFW 3

IPFW stands for Indiana University - Purdue University, Fort Wayne. I know nothing about them.

However, IPFW currently has a fake RPI of 293 out of 297 Division I teams in college baseball. Their ISR is slightly better at 286.

The only thing dumber than Michigan playing this series is losing a game to them, especially a Friday night game. THIS IS ONE OF THOSE WEEKEND SERIES THAT NEEDS TO GO AWAY IF THE BIG TEN EXPECTS TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY AT BASEBALL. EVER.

This was Michigan's home opening weekend. Maybe if they got a Pac-12 team to come to Ann Arbor, they'd get more than 567 people to attend the game and they could charge more than $1.

Just sayin'.

Michigan State

3-0

MSU 2, Oakland 1

MSU 11, Oakland 2

MSU 10, Oakland 1

This was the Spartan's home opening weekend too, the exception being that they played a team only a little better than IPFW as Oakland has an ISR of 277 and a fake RPI of 280 and they swept them!

Spartan fans paid only slightly better attention than Wolverine fans as they got 30 more fans to their home opener (597).

We have this nice quote from MSU's Tony Wieber, who tied the school's career save record with 14, stating:

"It wasn't even a nice day, and a lot of people were out here," said Wieber on playing at home after spending the first month on the road. "Especially after last year, sharing the Big Ten and getting a lot of fan support, it's definitely nice playing in front of your home fans."

If you're wondering, Michigan State doesn't play Nebraska this season, so Mr Wieber will not get to come to Lincoln to play in front of, oh, 5,000 fans. Which is a shame, really.

To be fair to Sparty, they've at least played a decent schedule so far, which is why their ISR is at 67 while Michigan's is at 197, and fake RPI's are 60 and 206, respectively.

Minnesota

3-2

North Dakota State 7, Minnesota 0

North Dakota State 6, Minnesota 5

Minnesota 2, The Citadel 1

Minnesota 3, The Citadel 0

Minnesota 5, The Citadel 0

In case you're wondering, North Dakota State doesn't suck at baseball. They're currently 14-5 and have wins over... well, mostly not very good teams (although won a game against Arizona 8-2 in their first series of the season. So why'd the Gophers lose? Because they played it like a mid-week game and gave their young pitchers their first starts, that's why.

The Gophers remain second in the Big Ten in team pitching with a 3.33 ERA, as TJ Oakes and DJ Snelten remain amongst the top hurlers with 1.56 and 1.89 ERA's, respectively.

The Citadel didn't offer much in the way of offense, batting at .263 (ranked 187 out of 291 teams).

One could complain about Minnesota the same way I've complained about Michigan, but the fact is, this is a unique year for Gopher baseball. After the Metrodome roof collapsed, they spent their last season playing games on the road. They get a mulligan this season.

Unfortunately, the Gophers aren't hitting well, still second to last in team batting average at .248 (ranked 243/291).

Nebraska

3-2

Nebraska 12, Northern Colorado 3

Northern Colorado 6, Nebraska 4

Illinois 11, Nebraska 3

Nebraska 18, Illinois 5

Nebraska 13, Illinois 3

You'd rather not see the Huskers lose a game to perennial beat down buddies Northern Colorado, but it's going to happen from time to time. I'm guessing that's not what they heard from Darin Erstad, though. It was only the Bears' third win ever against Nebraska, the first since 2009.

The Big Ten conference opener might have been a warning to Husker fans that Nebraska might not just walk into the conference and take it over, but you wouldn't know that after the way the series turned out.

31 runs over the final two games, wow. Nebraska's team batting average of .329 is seventh nationally, with Josh Scheffert 55th nationally at .409 and Michael Pritchard tied at 70th at .400. Nebraska's 303 hits ranked third nationally.

I keep mentioning attendance. WHY DO I KEEP MENTIONING ATTENDANCE, YOU MIGHT WONDER. Probably because of a tweet that went around Sunday with this information:

#Huskers baseball attendance Sunday: 5,266..All six other #B1G games announced attendance on Sunday COMBINED: 5,616

This shouldn't be surprising, however, as Nebraska has been in the Top 25 in college baseball attendance every season since moving to Haymarket Park. You might say "What else is there to do in Nebraska" like you do with football. I might respond - it's $1 to attend a game at Michigan, for crying out loud. You can't take your kids?

Northwestern

2-2

Northwestern 3, Nebraska-Omaha 1

Iowa 3, Northwestern 2

Northwestern 3, Iowa 0

Iowa 3, Northwestern 1

See Iowa reference above.

Okay, so maybe it wasn't a zombie apocalypse. It was a pitcher's duel. All three games. Imagine that.

Attendance Friday: 551

Ohio State

2-3

Louisville 20, Ohio State 0

Ohio State 11, Dayton 7

Purdue 8, Ohio State 5

Purdue 8, Ohio State 1

Ohio State 5, Purdue 4

I have to admit; I'm surprised by Ohio State. I thought they'd be better at baseball - maybe this is a down year for them. Or maybe they've always just been mediocre.

That 20-0 loss isn't a misprint. John Kuchno went 1.2 innings giving up eight hits, and 10 runs and the rest of the way wasn't much better. At least the Buckeyes scheduled the game (Louisville is ranked, in case you didn't know).

Hey, Purdue is ranked too! And then the Buckeyes lost a series to them.

Friday night's game had to be postponed to Saturday and OSU dropped both to the Boilermakers. And then I ran out of time.

Penn State

2-2

Penn State 5, Pittsburgh 2

Indiana 14, Penn State 2

Penn State 4, Indiana 3 (10 innings)

Indiana 2, Penn State 1

Hey the Lions picked up a couple wins this week. They had their home opener and their conference opener. Get this - attendance at the home opener was 1,150, and the conference opener was 1,681. That's a fair amount of fans to watch a (being nice) not very good baseball team. Compare that to some of the other attendance listed here, and Penn State did pretty well.

Penn State is still last in team batting at .225, and just ahead of Ohio State in team pitching (5.20 ERA).

Is there any good news for the Lions? Yes! Pitcher John Walter is second in in conference in strikeouts at 34. Woohooo!!!!

Purdue

2-1

Purdue 8, Ohio State 5

Purdue 8, Ohio State 1

Ohio State 5, Purdue 4

The Boilermakers took their first Big Ten series of the season and continue to win games like they have this season - by bludgeoning their opponents. In the three games against OSU, Purdue had 13, 12, and 12 hits.

The Boilermakers lead the nation in team batting average at .346, with Eric Charles ranked 43rd at .417. Nine players are hitting over .300. The Boilermakers are 22nd in hits nationally with 257.

Pitching doesn't exactly suck either, as they're currently ranked third in the conference behind Michigan State and Minnesota with a 3.64 ERA. Pitcher Lance Breedlove earned Big Ten honors this week, throwing a complete game, giving up nine hits and one run in the 8-1 win.

Indiana, Northwestern and Purdue Collect Weekly Baseball Awards

Player and Co-Freshman of the Week

Sam Travis, Indiana

1B - Fr. - Orland Park, Ill. - Providence Catholic

  • Hit .727 (8-for-11) in Indiana's series win on the road against Penn State, extending his hitting streak to 11 games
  • Slugged .909 and reached base at a .750 clip to combine for an OPS of 1.659 over the three-game series
  • Recorded three RBI, scored one run and hit two doubles over the weekend
  • Earns his first career weekly honors
  • Last Indiana Player of the Week: Micah Johnson (March 28, 2011)
  • Last Indiana Freshman of the Week: Kyle Schwarber (March 5, 2012)

Co-Pitcher and Co-Freshman of the Week

Brandon Magallones, Northwestern

RHP - Fr. - Manhattan, Ill. - Providence Catholic

  • Threw seven shutout innings in Northwestern's 3-0 win over Iowa on Saturday, leading the Wildcats to the program's first nine-inning shutout in eight years
  • Tied a collegiate high with nine strikeouts, scattering five hits and allowing only one walk
  • Retired the last seven batters he faced in order, including striking out the side in the sixth, to improve to 4-0 this season
  • Collects his first career weekly accolade
  • Last Northwestern Pitcher of the Week: Luke Farrell (April 25, 2011)
  • Last Northwestern Freshman of the Week: Luke Dauch (Feb. 20, 2012)

Co-Pitcher of the Week

Lance Breedlove, Purdue

RHP - Sr. - Long Beach, Calif. - Los Alamitos

  • Went the distance in Game 2 of Purdue's doubleheader sweep over Ohio State on Saturday, allowing just one earned run
  • Struck out 10 in the outing, marking his second double-digit strikeout performance this season
  • Recorded Purdue's first complete-game effort since April 2, 2011
  • Collects his second career award and his second of the season
  • Last Purdue Pitcher of the Week: Nick Wittgren (March 5, 2012)
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