Big Ten Baseball Weekly Review - 2012 Week Nine

Well. Yay. And A Cheerleader.

Another week, another conference series sweep for Purdue. That's two in a row, and the Boilermakers are walking away with the Big Ten Conference. Minnesota also scored their second conference sweep of the season over Northwestern to move into second place.


Big Ten

Overall

Team

Record

Pct.

Record

Pct.

1. Purdue

10-2

.833

28-5

.848

2. Minnesota

6-3

.667

20-17

.541

3. Nebraska

7-5

.583

25-13

.658

4. Michigan State

5-4

.556

22-12

.647

5. Ohio State

6-6

.500

21-14

.600

Indiana

6-6

.500

16-20

.444

7. Iowa

4-5

.444

15-16

.484

Penn State

4-5

.444

15-20

.429

9. Illinois

3-6

.333

18-16

.529

Michigan

3-6

.333

16-21

.432

11. Northwestern

3-9

.250

10-22

.312

Two B1G series come up this weekend as Purdue travels to Nebraska and Minnesota travels to Michigan State.

Illinois

1-4

Illinois 10, Eastern Illinois 3

Missouri 5, Illinois 4

Purdue 3, Illinois 0

Purdue 4, Illinois 1

Purdue 5, Illinois 3

Not only did Illinois get swept, but they also lost a mid-week game to rival Mizzou.

The Illini did a decent job of holding Boilermaker runs down, but they couldn't score themselves, being outhit in all three games.

On Friday, Illini Kevin Johnson threw a complete game, allowing eight hits and three runs, but Boilermaker Joe Haase improved his record to 6-0, going 7.2 innings with five hits and no runs. In the first game Sunday, John Kravetz had a decent outing, five innings with six hits and three runs, but Purdue's Lance Breedlove didn't allow a run over 7.2 innings. In the second game, Purdue's Connor Podkul went 6.1 innings, giving up two runs and two hits while Illinois managed only three hits for the game.

It was the first time Illinois was swept since 2008 and the first since 2003 in a road Big Ten series (odd, eh?).

Indiana

2-2

Indiana 8, Indiana State 7

Indiana 3, Michigan State 2

Michigan State 6, Indiana 0

Michigan State 20, Indiana 10

I know you're looking at the same score I am. What the hell happened that MSU scored 20 runs while the Hoosier score 10?

The game featured 40 hits and 30 runs between the two teams, with the Spartans getting 25 hits and scoring 11 runs in the first three innings. The Hoosiers used five pitchers and were brutalized. The lack of pitching depth seems to be a pretty consistent problem amongst Big Ten teams.

Iowa

2-0

Iowa 8, Western Illinois 7

Iowa 6, South Dakota State 1

Creighton - Cancelled

Iowa went undefeated this week, but was unable to play the second game of a doubleheader against Creighton on Saturday. Saturday cancellations and postponements were a common theme across the Big Ten Saturday.

So... the Hawkeyes won.

Michigan

1-4

Bowling Green 2, Michigan 1

Toledo 6, Michigan 2

Michigan 7, Penn State 3

Penn State 14, Michigan 1

Penn State 6, Michigan 4

If you had asked me about Michigan baseball before the season started, I'd have told you that they were okay at it. I would have been speaking with complete ignorance, of course.

They managed to win the first game at State College, but then gave up 17 hits and 14 runs in the second.

In the rubber match, the Wolverines had a 4-3 lead in the seventh, but gave up four runs in the last two innings. Wolverine pitcher Ben Ballantine did well, going six innings , giving up three hits and two runs (one earned), but the bullpen couldn't hold the lead as Alex Lakatos lasted only .2 inning, giving up two hits, three runs (two earned) against only four batters.

Michigan has dropped to last place in team batting, hitting only .248, just ahead of Penn State at .249. The Wolverines continue to have two of the top three stolen bases leaders with Patrick Biondi (23-30) and Michael O'Neill (15-18), but those guys aren't getting much help.

Michigan State

3-2

Michigan State 8, Notre Dame 2

Eastern Michigan 13, Michigan State 5

Indiana 3, Michigan State 2

Michigan State 6, Indiana 0

Michigan State 20, Indiana 10

Friday's game at Indiana featured two of the top pitchers in the Big Ten, as MSU's Tony Bucciferro faced off against Indiana's Joey DeNato. Both were brilliant, with both pitchers going seven innings, Bucciferro giving up four hits and two runs, DeNato giving up seven hits and two runs. As luck had it, Indiana won it on a wild pitch by reliever Tony Wieber in the bottom of the ninth. =

Sparty pitcher Andrew Waszak had a great second game, going seven innings, giving up only three hits and no runs. Then in the third game, well, MSU bashed Indiana into the ground with 25 hits, 20 runs.

Michigan State is a team of three's right now, third in team batting at .295, team pitching with a 3.07 ERA, and in team fielding with a .970 percentage.

That's a pretty decent mix, but note that they've faced Ohio State, Michigan and Indiana in their conference series. Up next is a tough series against Minnesota in East Lansing.

Minnesota

3-1

South Dakota State 3, Minnesota 1

Minnesota 2, Northwestern 1

Minnesota 2, Northwestern 1

Minnesota 6, Northwestern 0

Minnesota showed why they're a dangerous team and why they're in second place despite being ninth in team batting at .253.

The Wildcats could score only two runs in three games in Minneapolis as Gopher pitchers TJ Oakes (top in Big Ten with 1.41 ERA) and DJ Snelten (third in Big Ten at 2.19 ERA) stymied the Wildcats. Oakes went 8.1 innings in Friday's game, giving up eight hits and a run, while Snelten threw 7.2 innings giving up five hits and a run.

For the sweep, Austin Lubinsky had a good outing, giving up five hits and no runs in seven innings in the third game. The Gophers are second in team pitching with a 2.99 ERA.

The Gophers must prove they can win on the road, however, as they've swept their two series at home, but were swept at Ohio State.

This week's conference series at Michigan State looms large.

Nebraska

3-1

Nebraska 5, Creighton 3

Ohio State 10, Nebraska 2

Nebraska 5, Ohio State 4

Nebraska 17, Ohio State 9

The Huskers had a nice week with a mid-week win over in-state rival Creighton, then picking up their first conference road series win since 2008. Nebraska had lost their last 15 straight road conference series.

Husker Tyler King earned his first conference career start and had a tough time, giving up seven runs on only three hits against nine batters. Nebraska never recovered.

The Husker offense was apparent in the final two games on Sunday. The teams matched each other in hits with nine apiece, but Nebraska hit three homers as Kale Kiser, Kash Kalkoski and Josh Scheffert scored all five runs in the win.

The Huskers then roughed up Buckeye starter John Kuchno, scoring seven runs in the fourth inning off four singles, three Ohio State errors and a pair of hit batters. Nebraska scored five more runs in the fifth with a single, a double, three walks and a hit batter to push the score to 14-2.

Nebraska is second in conference in team batting at .317, fourth in team pitching with a 4.00 ERA, and first in team fielding with a .976 percentage.

This weekend Nebraska faces Purdue at home - a huge series to see if the Huskers can match Purdue at the top of the conference.

Northwestern

0-4

St Xavier 9, Northwestern 3

Minnesota 2, Northwestern 1

Minnesota 2, Northwestern 1

Minnesota 6, Northwestern 0

Northwestern had a lousy week, unable to score against the Gophers, and were swept on the road. The Wildcats dropped to last place in the Big Ten, leaving one to wonder how they won their series against the Huskers... or not, because Nebraska played lousy baseball in Evanston.

Ohio State

2-2

Ohio State 15, Ball State 2

Ohio State 10, Nebraska 2

Nebraska 5, Ohio State 4

Nebraska 17, Ohio State 9

Buckeye starter Jaron Long was brilliant in Friday's start, throwing his second complete game of the season, giving up eight hits and two runs against a strong Husker offense.

Sunday's loss broke a seven-game Buckeye winning streak, as starter Brian King give up four runs on five hits in five innings of work.

The Buckeyes got roughed up in the final game, giving up multiple big innings to the Husker offense.

Penn State

2-2

Pittsburgh 5, Penn State 3

Michigan 7, Penn State 3

Penn State 14, Michigan 1

Penn State 6, Michigan 4

Penn State's Joe Kurrasch pitched a gem in the 14-1 win, going seven innings, giving up four hits and one run. In the rubber match, Penn State pitcher Steven Hill had a good outing throwing seven innings, giving up seven hits and three runs.

Jordan Steranka was a bright spot for the Lions, going .571, hitting three home runs and driving in eight runs. He earned co-player of the week, the first PSU player to be named to the award since Steve Snyder on May 3, 2010.

Purdue

4-0

Purdue 15, Ball State 2

Purdue 3, Illinois 0

Purdue 4, Illinois 1

Purdue 5, Illinois 3

Like I said, another week, another Purdue sweep. The Boilermakers have an excellent combination of great hitting, first in conference (sixth nationally) in team batting at .324, and first in team pitching with a 2.94 ERA.

Lance Breedlove is fourth in conference in pitching with a 2.23 ERA, while teammate Blake Mascarello is sixth at 2.33. Joe Haase isn't too far behind at 3.09. Add in freshman Connor Podkul at 2.30 (doesn't meet minimum requirements for Big Ten rankings), and you've got some pretty decent depth.

Eight Boilermaker batters are over .300, with Eric Charles and Cameron Perkins at .381.

Purdue hasn't lost a conference series this season, and has swept two in a row over Northwestern and Illinois. They're on an eight-game winning streak and continue to be ranked in all polls. Baseball America has them at 16th, the NCBWA has them at 17th as does the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll. They are the only Big Ten team ranked, with no others even within range.

Michigan State, Nebraska and Penn State Earn Weekly Honors

Co-Players of the Week

Josh Scheffert, Nebraska

3B - Jr. - Lincoln, Neb. - Southeast

  • Hit .500 with three multiple-hit games to lead Nebraska to a series win over Ohio State in Columbus last weekend
  • Hit three home runs and a double in the series, racking up a slugging percentage of 1.214 to combine for an OPS of 1.714 in the three-game series
  • Scored four runs and drove in 10, including a career-high seven RBI in the series finale on Sunday
  • Earns his second weekly honor this season
  • Last Nebraska Player of the Week: Josh Scheffert (March 19, 2012)

Jordan Steranka, Penn State

1B - Sr. - Pittsburgh, Pa. - Mt. Lebanon

  • Hit .545, reached base at a .615 clip and slugged 1.545 to lead Penn State to a series win against Michigan over the weekend
  • Homered three times and hit a triple in the series, also scoring six runs and driving in seven
  • Went 2-for-3 with two doubles, a run and an RBI in a non-conference game against Pittsburgh
  • Picks up his first career weekly award
  • Last Penn State Player of the Week: Steve Snyder (May 3, 2010)

Pitcher of the Week

Andrew Waszak, Michigan State

RHP - Jr. - Rochester Hills, Mich. - Adams

  • Led Michigan State to a win over Indiana in Game 1 of a doubleheader on Sunday
  • Threw seven scoreless innings and gave up only three hits in the start
  • Struck out a season-high five batters and allowed just one walk to pick up his fourth win of the season
  • Earns his first career weekly honor
  • Last Michigan State Pitcher of the Week: Tony Bucciferro (Feb. 20, 2012)

wFreshman of the Week

Ryan Krill, Michigan State

1B - Kalamazoo, Mich. - Portage Central

  • Hit .643 and reached base at a .667 clip to help Michigan State to a series win on the road against Indiana
  • Recorded three hits in each game of the series
  • Scored six runs and collected a pair of RBI in the three-game set
  • Picks up his first weekly award
  • Last Michigan State Freshman of the Week: David Garner (March 14, 2011)

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