Big Ten Baseball Weekly Review: 2012 Week 14 - End of Regular Season

Purdue won the regular season outright this week, but frankly, in pretty lousy fashion. They only needed to win a game, and that's what they did - one game against a pretty mediocre (being nice) Iowa squad - a pretty disappointing ending to a great regular season.

Maybe I'm being harsh on Purdue. And then again, maybe not.

Indiana, though, wow! Way to come out of nowhere to finish second when you weren't even on the radar at the beginning of the season.

Big Ten

Overall

Team

Record

Pct.

Record

Pct.

1. Purdue

17-7

.708

41-12

.774

2. Indiana

16-8

.667

30-26

.536

3. Penn State

15-9

.625

29-25

.537

4. Nebraska

14-10

.583

34-21

.618

5. Michigan State

13-11

.458

35-19

.648

6. Ohio State

11-13

.458

31-25

.554

Illinois

11-13

.458

28-25

.528

Minnesota

11-13

.458

29-27

.518

9. Iowa

10-14

.417

23-27

.460

10. Michigan

8-16

.333

22-34

.393

11. Northwestern

6-18

.250

18-36

.333

Illinois

1-2

Illinois 7, Minnesota 5

Illinois 3, Minnesota 2

Minnesota 8, Illinois 3

Illinois had a shot to make the Big Ten tourney, but Minnesota ended their season instead. The Gophers ended the Illini's season by scoring four runs in the ninth inning just to make sure their season was dead, and on Senior Day to boot.

Indiana

4-0

Indiana 5, Evansville 4

Indiana 10, Ohio State 8

Indiana 5, Ohio State 0

Indiana 4, Ohio State 2

Congratulations to Indiana on finishing second in the regular season and getting the #2 seed in the tourney.

The Hoosiers got down early in the first game, as Joey DeNato was chased after 4.2 innings, giving up 11 hits and five runs. They fought back, scoring nine runs in the seventh and eighth innings. In the second game, Hoosier pitcher Kyle Hart went eight innings, giving up only three hits with eight strikeouts.

Senior Hoosier pitcher Chad Martin had a great outing in his final home start, going 6.2 innings, giving up seven hits and two runs. Jonny Hoffman then finished the Buckeyes off by going the final 2.1 innings without giving up a hit or a run.

Indiana has now won 12 of their last 15 games and six of the last eight series. Indiana's RPI is 85, and given their hotness, it wouldn't be a stretch to think they'll take the Big Ten tourney and the automatic bid.

Iowa

3-1

Iowa 5, Creighton 4

Purdue 11, Iowa 8

Iowa 6, Purdue 1

Iowa 7, Purdue 6

Iowa's first win over Purdue was their first win over a ranked opponent since 2009. The win came courtesy of freshman pitcher Sasha Kuebel, who threw a complete game, giving up eight hits and one run. The victory kept him perfect on the season at 6-0.

Sunday Iowa pounded out 17 hits and lead 7-1 before Purdue tried to make a game of it, scoring five runs in the seventh and one in the ninth.

Now, you'd think that if Iowa's crack athletic department would figure out the last time they had a win over a ranked opponent, they'd figure out the last series win over a ranked opponent and include that in their recap. But NOoooooo. (It's the constant little things like this that are evidence of how little the Big Ten, starting with the athletic departments, actually care about the sport.)

Michigan

Western Michigan 13, Michigan 6

Nebraska 15, Michigan 2

Michigan 6, Nebraska 5

Nebraska 7, Michigan 3

Michigan played a decent series at Nebraska.... if you don't count the first game. They won the second game as Brandon Sinnery threw a complete game, (his fifth of the season) giving up nine hits and five runs.

In the third game, they had some fielding problems (two errors), and Nebraska scored five runs in the final two frames to put the series away.

Michigan State

Michigan State 5, Central Michigan 2

Penn State 3, Michigan State 2

Penn State 6, Michigan State 5

Michigan State 9, Penn State 2

Michigan State was picked preseason to win the Big Ten, but finished the regular season fifth.

Spartan senior pitcher Tony Bucciferro had a great game in his final start, going 6.2 innings, giving up six hits and a run, but his relief gave up a two-run homer in the eighth, ruining his final game.

The second game was more pain, as Penn State hit a home run in the ninth to win the one-run battle.

The 35 wins gave the Spartans the most victories in the regular season since 2002.

The Spartans have a RPI of 47, currently, so they're a candidate for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. They should not take the conference tournament lightly, however, if they fail to win a game it's doubtful they'll make it due to the way they finished their season.

Minnesota

1-2

Illinois 7, Minnesota 5

Illinois 3, Minnesota 2

Minnesota 8, Illinois 3

Minnesota trailed 4-0, came back with a 5-4 lead, then gave up two runs in the bottom of the eighth to lose 7-5. In game two, the Gophers outhit Illinois, but couldn't overcome the three runs and lost another one-run game.

In the third game, Minnesota won, and both coaches were ejected in the ninth inning. Minnesota's John Anderson was ejected after "a length argument with home plate umpire John Coons", while Illinois coach Dan Hartleb and second baseman Reid Roper were ejected for arguing balls and strikes.

Both teams finished the day being ejected from the Big Ten tourney as they both tied, then they tied with Ohio State, and the Buckeyes won the three-way tiebreaker.

Nebraska

2-2

Wichita State 13, Nebraska 2

Nebraska 15, Michigan 2

Michigan 6, Nebraska 5

Nebraska 7, Michigan 3

Nebraska had to win just one game to make the Big Ten tourney. They won it, then they played lackadaisically in the second game, summing up Nebraska's season in a nutshell.

The first game was an offensive butt-kicking as the Huskers reeled off 20 hits and 15 runs and went through four Michigan pitchers. The second game... well, let's just forget the second game. The third game was marked by a great outing by senior pitcher Dexter Sptisnogle, who went a career-high 6.2 innings, giving up six hits and three runs. Michigan lead 3-2 going into the eighth, but the Huskers scored five runs in the final two frames to win the series.

Nebraska's RPI is 94. Their only way into the NCAA tourney is to win the Big Ten tournament.

As far as their chances... who knows? Nebraska has been an up and down team all season. Kyle Kubat has become a solid starter, but everyone else seems day to day. Nebraska's offense works very well when they execute the small ball, aggressive play that head coach Darin Erstad wants, but as this series showed, they haven't quite grown to the point that high run output is an every game occurrence.

Northwestern

1-3

Notre Dame 9, Northwestern 4

St Louis 6, Northwestern 4

Northwestern 3, St Louis 1

St Louis 4, Northwestern 0

Northwestern played baseball this week. Okay.... they lost to Notre Dame and St. Louis. St. Louis plays in the Atlantic 10, and with their wins over the Wildcats, they scored their first 40-win season in their school history. So.. not a horrible loss.... who the hell am I kidding?

This is the Big Ten for crying out loud. A big time conference. You schedule teams like this for a non-conference series at the end of the season and expect to be taken seriously? WTF.

Northwestern ends the year with a RPI of 235, below Northwestern State, a school I've never heard of, at 173.

Ohio State

1-3

Ohio State 10, Toledo 1

Indiana 10, Ohio State 8

Indiana 5, Ohio State 0

Indiana 4, Ohio State 2

The Buckeyes get swept by Indiana but back their way into the tournament anyway. Their RPI is 72, and their road record is 7-15. That's enough about them.

Penn State

2-1

Penn State 3, Michigan State 2

Penn State 6, Michigan State 5

Michigan State 9, Penn State 2

Penn State went on the road and took a series from Michigan State - impressive. Senior Jordan Steranka was the hero in game one, hitting a two-run homer in the eighth and accounting for all three RBIs.

Game two featured a different senior hero - Joey DeBarnardis - who hit a home run off Michigan State closer Tony Wieber to win it in the ninth. Wieber hadn't given up a home run all season.

It was the first time since 1996 that Penn State had won three Big Ten road series, and they did it despite being the worst batting team in the conference (.252). Their RPI is 95. They get a bid if the win the tournament and that's it.

Purdue

2-2

Purdue 2, Indiana State 1 (10 innings)

Purdue 11, Iowa 8

Iowa 6, Purdue 1

Iowa 7, Purdue 6

Like I started with, Purdue only needed one game to win the Big Ten regular season outright, and that's what they did. Apparently they thought they'd accomplished something huge and proceeded to lose the only conerence series they've lost all season. Their only other series loss had come on the road at UCLA.

So.... you could have been perfect, and the only conference champions in over a century, and the championship was enough. I hope they don't feel that way come NCAA tourney time.

In the first game, the Boilers hit four home runs. In the second, they didn't have an extra-base hit.

Their RPI has dropped to 15th. At one point they were a potential national seed, but the Big Ten schedule (low RPIs) and the final losses have caught up with them.

Again - with the harsh comments. Listen..... I want the Big Ten to do some damage in the NCAA tournament. I want the conference to look good. Right now, that means Purdue, so get your asses in gear, Boilers.

Congrats on your Big Ten championship. It was a great year. If you're satisfied with that, however, you get few kudos from me. I expect a regional win.

Indiana and Iowa Win Weekly Baseball Awards

Player of the Week

Mike McQuillan, Iowa

1B - Sr. - Evergreen Park, Ill. - Brother Rice

  • Hit .800, reached base at a .857 clip and slugged 1.400 to combine for an OPS of 2.257 as Iowa took two of three games from No. 13 Purdue
  • Recorded multiple hits in every game, including a four-hit performance in the finale in which he scored twice and drove in a run
  • Combined to hit for the cycle over the weekend, singling at least once in all three games, adding a double on Thursday, a triple on Friday and a home run on Saturday
  • Stole a base, scored four runs and recorded three RBI in the series
  • Earns his first career weekly honor
  • Last Iowa Player of the Week: Phil Keppler (April 9, 2012)

Pitcher & Co-Freshman of the Week

Sasha Kuebel, Iowa

LHP - Fr. - St. Louis, Mo. - St. Louis University High School

  • Tossed his second complete game of the year, earning the win in Iowa's 6-1 victory over No. 13 Purdue on Friday
  • Allowed just one run and scattered eight singles against the fifth-best hitting team in the country, tallying four strikeouts
  • The outing marked just the fourth time this season that Purdue had been held to one or fewer runs in a game
  • Finished his freshman season with a perfect 6-0 record in 13 appearances
  • Earns his first Pitcher of the Week honor and his second Freshman of the Week award

Co-Freshman of the Week

Kyle Schwarber, Indiana

C - Middletown, Ohio - Middletown

  • Hit .600 to lead Indiana to a sweep over Ohio State, securing the Hoosiers a bye in this week's Big Ten Tournament
  • Recorded multiple hits in the first two games of the series, including a 3-for-3 performance on Thursday in which he scored a run and drove in four
  • Went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and a stolen base in a mid-week game against Evansville
  • Claims his third Freshman of the Week award
  • Last Indiana Freshman of the Week: Sam Travis (May 7, 2012)
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