Big Ten Baseball Weekly Review - 2012 Week 11

Purdue has a 3.5 game lead over Minnesota and Indiana (WHAT?) as they head into their big series at UCLA this week. Most of the top teams are about where everyone thought they'd be except the Hoosiers.

And how ‘bout Indiana, with their 93 errors on the season? How the heck they keep winning? They brought a milestone to their head coach Tracy Smith, who earned his 500th career win in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader.

Big Ten

Overall

Team

Record

Pct.

Record

Pct.

1. Purdue

14-4

.778

34-7

.829

2. Minnesota

9-6

.600

26-20

.565

Indiana

9-6

.600

22-23

.489

4. Nebraska

8-7

.533

28-16

.636

Michigan State

8-7

.533

27-15

.643

Illinois

8-7

.533

25-18

.581

Penn State

8-7

.5330

22-22

.500

8. Ohio State

8-10

.444

24-20

.545

9. Iowa

6-9

.400

17-22

.436

10. Northwestern

5-13

.278

14-26

.350

11. Michigan

4-11

.267

17-27

.386

Look at those standings. Keep in mind that the top six teams are the only ones who'll make the Big Ten conference tourney. There will be plenty of drama over the next couple weeks.

The conference stands at 12th in conference RPI, behind the big four powers (ACC, SEC, Pac 12 and Big 12). They're also behind the West Coast, Southern, Missouri Valley, Atlantic Sun and Big West.

Purdue 10

Michigan State 51

Illinois 59

Ohio State 62

Nebraska 72

Indiana 120

Minnesota 123

Penn State 137

Iowa 216

Michigan 227

Northwestern 240

Illinois

3-1

Indiana State 6, Illinois 4

Illinois 2, Northwestern 0

Illinois 5, Northwestern 4

Illinois 3, Northwestern 2

Illinois swept Northwestern on the road. Illini pitcher Kevin Johnson pitched a complete game Friday, striking out nine while allowing only seven hits. Saturday, freshman pitcher John Kravetz broke the school record for wins by a freshman pitcher, winning his sixth game as the Illini lead 5-0, and then had to hold off the Wildcats for the win.

Indiana

4-1

Miami (OH) 8, Indiana 7

Indiana 6, Miami (OH) 3

Indiana 8, Michigan 1

Indiana 11, Michigan 8

Indiana 11, Michigan 5

How ‘bout those Hoosiers, sweeping Michigan on the ROAD!

Friday, Hoosier pitcher Joey DeNato set a school record with 12 strikeouts in eight innings, allowing only one unearned run with seven hits. The record was for most strikeouts against a conference team.

Saturday's win gave head coach Tracy Smith his 500th career win.

Indiana finishes the season with home series against Nebraska and Ohio State, and a road series at Northwestern. Given Ohio State's road problems, one could see them easily making the Big Ten tourney.

Iowa

1-3

Bradley 7, Iowa 3

Minnesota 5, Iowa 4

Minnesota 4, Iowa 3

Iowa 5, Minnesota 4 (12 innings)

At least Iowa pulled out the final game at Minnesota to avoid the sweep. Kinda freaky - last year on April 30, 2011, Minnesota beat Iowa 5-4 in 12 innings. This year it's Iowa's turn.

Michigan

0-3

Indiana 8, Michigan 1

Indiana 11, Michigan 8

Indiana 11, Michigan 5

You think it bothers anyone in Michigan that they're this bad at baseball? Or is it something they completely ignore?

Friday's attendance was 835 people, while Sunday's doubleheader brought in over 2,400, although one has to wonder if that's been counted twice or how they do that.

Michigan State

1-2

Purdue 6, Michigan State 2

Purdue 4, Michigan State 3 (14 innings)

Michigan State 5, Purdue 0

A 1-2 week, but still not a bad week for Michigan State. They played Purdue pretty well, but gave up two runs in the bottom of the ninth. Michigan State's Andrew Waszak pitched well enough, going seven innings, giving up seven hits and one run, while his counterpart, Boiler Lance Breedlove went 7.1 innings, giving up six hits and two runs.

It was the Spartan's first extra-innings loss of the season - they were 6-0 in extra innings games.

Sparty pitcher David Garner threw a complete game on Sunday in a performance that earned him Pitcher of the Week honors. Nine innings, five hits, no runs, seven strikeouts.

Michigan State leads the Big Ten in pitching ERA at 2.87.

Minnesota

3-1

Minnesota 11, North Dakota State 7

Minnesota 5, Iowa 4

Minnesota 4, Iowa 3

Iowa 5, Minnesota 4 (12 innings)

TJ Oakes continues to lead the conference in pitching ERA at 1.51. Friday he went 7.1 innings, giving up nine hits and five runs - it must have been a bad night for him. Matt Halloran hit a two-run homer to win the first game, then took four straight pitches to win the second game with a walk-off walk (at which point you realize that the term "walk-off" is so overused it's ridiculous). DJ Snelten was good, going 7.2 innings, four hits and three runs (two earned).

Minnesota maintained their spot at second in the conference and second in team pitching at 2.91. Minnesota plays Penn State, Nebraska and Illinois - a fairly tough schedule down the stretch.

Nebraska

2-1

Nebraska 4, Creighton 1

Nebraska 3, CSU Bakersfield 2 (11 innings)

CSU Bakersfield 10, Nebraska 2

Nice mid-week win for the Huskers over in-state rival Creighton to sweep the series against them. Then the weekend came and Nebraska struggled to beat Cal State Bakersfield in the first game and lost the second in somewhat startling fashion. The third was cancelled due to rain, but everyone had fun dancing."

Nebraska is still tops in team fielding, and second to Purdue in team batting at .312, but they're so wildly inconsistent that you don't know what you're going to get from week to week.

Vast improvement over last season, but Husker fans still expect better.

Northwestern

1-3

Northwestern 12, Chicago State 7

Illinois 2, Northwestern 0

Illinois 5, Northwestern 4

Illinois 3, Northwestern 2

Swept by Illinois at home. Not much to see here although Wildcat Zach Morton threw a complete game, giving up eight hits and three runs while getting little help from his teammates in the process. Maybe he should transfer to Nebraska.

Ohio State

2-2

Ohio State 8, Bowling Green 4

Ohio State 4, Penn State 1

Penn State 5, Ohio State 4

Penn State 8, Ohio State 7 (10 innings)

Ohio State is all but dead to me. Have they won a road series in the conference yet? NOoooooo. They were close at Penn State, with two one-run losses, one in extra innings, but close doesn't count here, does it?

Sunday's game featured 11 pitchers and the Buckeyes lost despite the Lions committing FIVE errors.

They get Northwestern at home, then play at Indiana in the final conference series, so there's still time to get that conference road win. Don't hold your breath.

Penn State

2-1

Ohio State 4, Penn State 1

Penn State 5, Ohio State 4

Penn State 8, Ohio State 7 (10 innings)

I'd tell you more about the Penn State games, but they apparently don't post box scores with regularity on their web site. What I really wanted to see was the attendance, but noooooo. Oh, I could probably get them from Ohio State, but you know what liars they are. (IT'S A JOKE, PEOPLE.)

Penn State won the second game by scoring two runs in the bottom of the eighth, one on a wild pitch, and one on a balk (See: Ohio State sucks on the road.).

The Lions are still dead last in the conference in team batting at .251, but they're rising in pitching, now fourth with a 4.10 ERA.

They also have a helluva schedule left - with series at Minnesota, against Illinois and then finishing at Michigan State.

Purdue

3-1

Purdue 3, Illinois State 2

Purdue 6, Michigan State 2

Purdue 4, Michigan State 3 (14 innings)

Michigan State 5, Purdue 0

STOP THE PRESSES! PURDUE WAS SHUT OUT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 2012!!!!!

And the first time since 2009 they were shutout at home.

This is not a good thing the week before you travel to UCLA for the biggest series of the year. For the pride of the Big Ten, the bats better be banging next week.

Purdue won their series against Michigan State, but it wasn't easy. They had to come back in the ninth inning with two outs in the second game to tie it, and then won it when Cameron Perkins hit a single with a runner at third.

Might as well give the regular season title to Purdue now. They have the series at UCLA, then finish at home against Michigan and at Iowa. It's not like those teams are going to knock them off the pedestal.

Indiana, Michigan State and Purdue Collect Weekly Awards

Co-Players of the Week

Justin Cureton, Indiana

OF - Jr. - Indianapolis, Ind. - Cathedral

  • Hit .583, reached base at a .706 clip and slugged .667 to combine for an OPS of 1.373 in Indiana's sweep over Michigan
  • Scored four runs in the series and drove in three, also going 2-for-2 on the base paths
  • Recorded a hit, a run, an RBI and two stolen bases in two non-conference games against Miami (Ohio)
  • Earns his first career weekly accolade
  • Last Indiana Player of the Week: Sam Travis (April 3, 2012)

Eric Charles, Purdue

2B - Sr. - Zionsville, Ind. - Zionsville

  • Hit .615 and combined for an OPS of 1.335 in Purdue's series win against Michigan State
  • Recorded four RBI in the series and scored two runs, also stealing a base
  • Had multiple hits in every game in the series, including three-hit performances in Games 1 and 2
  • Contributed to all five double plays turned by the Boilermaker defense over the weekend
  • Earns his second career honor and his second of the season
  • Last Purdue Player of the Week: Cameron Perkins (April 23, 2012)

Pitcher of the Week

David Garner, Michigan State

RHP - So. - Niles, Mich. - Niles

  • Led Michigan State to a road win over No. 13 Purdue, throwing his first career complete-game shutout
  • Handed the Boilermakers, who entered the weekend ranked third in the country in batting average, their first shutout of the season
  • Struck out seven in the outing, allowing just five hits without walking a batter
  • Takes home his first career Pitcher of the Week award
  • Last Michigan State Pitcher of the Week: Andrew Waszak (April 16, 2012)

Freshman of the Week

Kyle Schwarber, Indiana

C - Middletown, Ohio - Middletown

  • Hit .500, reached base at a .588 clip and slugged .786 to combine for a 1.374 OPS in Indiana's series sweep over Michigan
  • Recorded five runs and five RBI in the series, including a Game 1 outing in which he went 4-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and three runs scored
  • Also scored three runs and drove in four over two non-conference games against Miami (Ohio)
  • Picks up his second weekly award
  • Last Indiana Freshman of the Week: Kyle Hart (April 23, 2012)
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