Big Ten Baseball Weekly Review - 2012 Week 10

Perhaps the biggest news of the week isn't that Purdue won their series against Nebraska, but that Penn State pitcher Steven Hill threw a no-hitter against Iowa this past weekend. It was the first PSU no-hitter since 1995, and the first in school history against another Big Ten team. It was the first no-hitter in the Big Ten since Alex Wimmer of Ohio State did it in 2009.

Purdue isn't the only surprise of the season. The top four teams are about where they should be (Michigan State was picked to finish first), but the fact that Indiana and Penn State are tied at fifth is somewhat surprising. On the downside, Ohio State and last year's NCAA tourney qualifier Illinois continue to struggle in conference.

Big Ten

Overall

Team

Record

Pct.

Record

Pct.

1. Purdue

12-3

.800

31-6

.838

2. Michigan State

7-5

.583

26-13

.667

Minnesota

7-5

.583

23-19

.548

4. Nebraska

8-7

.533

26-15

.634

5. Penn State

6-6

.500

18-21

.462

Indiana

6-6

.500

18-22

.450

7. Ohio State

7-8

.467

22-18

.550

8. Illinois

5-7

.417

22-17

.564

Iowa

5-7

.417

16-19

.457

10. Michigan

4-8

.333

17-24

.415

Northwestern

5-10

.333

13-23

.361

Illinois

4-1

Illinois 7, Illinois State 5

Illinois 5, Eastern Illinois 2

Illinois 9, Ohio State 1

Illinois 8, Ohio State 3

Ohio State 10, Illinois 4

Good week for Illinois, winning their series against the Buckeyes at home.

Friday Illini pitcher Kevin Johnson went 7.2 innings, giving up only four hits and one run. Saturday, Illinois scored all eight runs with two outs and pitcher John Kravetz tied a school record for wins by a freshman pitcher (six).

Sunday, the Illini ran out of pitching, giving up ten runs on ten hits, nine of them coming in the first four innings.

Indiana

2-2

Louisville 21, Indiana 4

Indiana 7, Georgia Southern 2

Indiana 3, Georgia Southern 0

Georgia Southern 9, Indiana 1

Remember that score we was lookin' at last week, that 20-10 win by MSU over Indiana? Well, Indiana does it again this week, losing 21-4 against Louisville. It's easier to overlook because it's a mid-week game (against a ranked team, too).

Indiana won their series against Georgia Southern, a decent win for them and for the Big Ten as Georgia Southern has a 72 RPI.

Indiana has committed a whopping 87 errors this season. I don't know where that puts them nationally, but it has to be near the bottom. Comparison-wise, Coppin State has committed 108 errors, and they remain the nation's only winless team at 0-38 (or 0-34 depending upon which games you want to count).

Iowa

1-3

Bradley 7, Iowa 3

Penn State 5, Iowa 2

Penn State 2, Iowa 0

Iowa 4, Penn State 2

Iowa, geez. Six runs in three games at home. Maybe you could give something up with a guy throwing a no-hitter, but still, at home?

Iowa is in the middle of the pack in all three team categories (hitting, pitching, fielding), but with series at Minnesota, against Michigan, at Michigan State and then home against Purdue, things aren't looking good for them to finish in the upper half of the conference.

Hey, Sunday's win broke a five-game Penn State winning streak. That's about all the good news there is.

Michigan

1-3

Eastern Michigan 7, Michigan 2

Northwestern 6, Michigan 5 (11 innings)

Northwestern 8, Michigan 5

Michigan 5, Northwestern 4

Michigan loses a series to Northwestern at home, getting swept in a doubleheader Saturday. Get this - the first game was tied 3-3 after nine, but Northwestern outscored the Wolverines 3-2 in the 11th to win it. The game featured seven errors between the teams. The second game was better, with the teams combining for only four errors.

Sunday, Michigan pulled out a win with a run in the bottom of the ninth for their only victory of the week.

Michigan State

4-1

Michigan State 13, Western Michigan 3

Michigan State 11, Central Michigan 1

Michigan State 3, Minnesota 2 (11 innings)

Minnesota 4, Michigan State 2

Michigan State 5, Minnesota 4 (10 innings)

Michigan State and Minnesota played a critical series that just barely went the way of the Spartans, and when I say "barely", I really mean it. Two extra-innings one run games, lost by Minnesota in somewhat startling fashion.

Startling? Michigan State won the first game in the bottom of the 11th on a bases loaded walk.

In the Sunday game, MSU outhit Minnesota 15-9, and won the game on a base-loaded single. Spartan pitcher David Garner went 7.1 innings, giving up seven hits and four runs (three earned) - not a bad outing.

Michigan State's RPI stands at 62. That looks good now, but it will continue to drop as they play Purdue next, and then play Illinois, Penn State, and Iowa. Mid-week games against directional schools in Michigan won't help either. Such is the curse of Big Ten baseball.

They're third in team batting at .298, second in team pitching with a 2.98 ERA, and fourth in fielding with a .972 fielding percentage.

Minnesota

3-2

Minnesota 8, Nebraska-Omaha 4

Minnesota 1, Nebraska-Omaha 0

Michigan State 3, Minnesota 2 (11 innings)

Minnesota 4, Michigan State 2

Michigan State 5, Minnesota 4 (10 innings)

Minnesota didn't get swept on the road. That's the good news. The bad news - you read the "startling" part of the piece above, right?

In the first game, TJ Oakes threw 6.2 innings giving up six hits and two runs, but was matched by Spartan pitcher Tony Bucciferro who also went 6.2 innings, giving up eight hits and two runs. Neither team committed an error.

DJ Snelten pitched a complete game in the Gopher win, going nine innings and giving up seven hits and two runs.

Minnesota's RPI is at 126. The Gophers continue to be plagued by poor hitting. They are first in conference in pitching (2.90 ERA), tied with Nebraska for first in team fielding at .975, but are ninth in team batting at .254.

Nebraska

1-2

Purdue 8, Nebraska 5

Nebraska 8, Purdue 3

Purdue 8, Nebraska 3

Husker fans hoped for a big-time showdown against Purdue at Haymarket Park in Lincoln, but unfortunately they were treated to what everyone else has experienced at the hands of the Boilermakers - good hitting and pitching - and couldn't overcome the combination.

Saturday's game featured a good performance by Husker pitcher Brandon Pierce, who went seven innings, giving up nine hits and three runs. Nebraska did a good job of chasing starter Lance Breedlove after only five innings in which he gave up eight hits and five runs. Husker Richard Stock went 4-for-4 including a home run.

Nebraska is tied for first in team fielding (.975) and second in hitting with a .314 team average, but just don't have a top pitcher or depth to match the top of the conference as they stand tied at fifth with Iowa in team pitching with a ERA of 4.14.

Northwestern

3-1

Northwestern 4, Wisconsin-Milwaukee 3 (11 innings)

Northwestern 6, Michigan 5

Northwestern 8, Michigan 5

Michigan 5, Northwestern 4

Northwestern won a series on the road against the other worst team in the conference. Good for them.

Ohio State

1-4

Xavier 3, Ohio State 2

Cincinnati 6, Ohio State 5

Illinois 9, Ohio State 1

Illinois 8, Ohio State 3

Ohio State 10, Illinois 4

Uh, wow. What a crappy week for the Buckeyes. (I know you're weeping.) Bottom line - they suck on the road. Friday - four errors. Saturday they committed two more while again being outhit.

Sunday they broke it out against Illinois for their only win of the week. That includes losses to Xavier (RPI: 150) and Cincinnati (RPI:227). Ugh.

Penn State

2-1

Penn State 5, Iowa 2

Penn State 2, Iowa 0

Iowa 4, Penn State 2

There are a lot of things I don't know about the Big Ten and I have no problem admitting them. For example, I don't know if Penn State has been historically good or bad at baseball. I don't know if they built a brand new nice baseball stadium because they want to get better, or because someone gave them a bunch of money and told them to do so.

I do know this - Penn State has moved to fourth in team pitching in the conference after Steven Hill's no hitter and Joe Kurrasch's six inning outing on Friday in which he gave up five hits and no runs. The Lions continue to struggle in hitting, still last in conference at .250.

Purdue

Purdue 8, Nebraska 5

Nebraska 8, Purdue 3

Purdue 8, Nebraska 3

Once again, Purdue shows why they're winning the Big Ten with no one else even close. Not only are they tops in conference hitting at .327, but they have the pitching depth to match.

Proof? In Friday's game, Boiler pitcher Joe Haase was chased after 4.1 innings, but Blake Mascarello shut the Huskers down in relief, going 4.2 innings without giving up a hit.

Sunday's game featured starter Connor Podkul going 5.1 innings, giving up five hits and three runs, but then Nick Wittgren finished off the Huskers going 3.2 innings without allowing a run to a potent Husker offense.

Purdue remains sixth nationally in hitting average.

The series win moved Purdue up a notch to a #15 national ranking.

Purdue, Penn State and Indiana Pick up Weekly Baseball Honors

Player of the Week

Cameron Perkins, Purdue

3B - Jr. - Indianapolis, Ind. - Southport

  • Combined for an OPS of 1.275 to lead Purdue to a series win at Nebraska over the weekend
  • Homered twice in the series-opener, including a two-run blast in the fifth that broke a 5-5 tie and put the Boilermakers ahead for good
  • Drove in five runs and scored four times in the series, accounting for multiple runs or RBI in each game over the weekend
  • Also went 2-for-4 with two doubles and a pair of RBI in a mid-week win over Illinois-Chicago
  • Earns his second career weekly accolade
  • Last Purdue Player of the Week: Stephen Talbott (March 12, 2012)

Pitcher of the Week

Steven Hill, Penn State

RHP - Jr. - Colleyville, Texas - Colleyville Heritage

  • Threw a no-hitter in Penn State's 2-0 victory over Iowa on Saturday
  • Faced just two batters over the minimum and struck out three in the outing
  • The no-hitter is Penn State's first since 1995, the program's first in a Big Ten game and the Big Ten's first since 2009
  • Threw 69 of his 105 pitches for strikes to earn his fourth straight win
  • Earns his second career weekly honor
  • Last Penn State Pitcher of the Week: Steven Hill (May 16, 2011)

Freshman of the Week

Kyle Hart, Indiana

LHP - Cincinnati, Ohio - Sycamore

  • Tossed a complete-game shutout in Indiana's 3-0 win over Georgia Southern on Saturday
  • Struck out a career-high nine and allowed only five hits in the outing
  • The complete-game shutout was Indiana's first since March 14, 2010
  • Picks up his first weekly award
  • Last Indiana Freshman of the Week: Sam Travis (April 3, 2012)
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