Big Ten Baseball Weekly Review - 2013 Week Nine

David McGee

What happened in Big Ten baseball this week? A lot! Indiana was swept, Nebraska lost a series, and two new teams are tied for first!

What the heck happened to Indiana? How do you reach your highest ranking in school history and then get swept the following weekend?

Michigan State's sweep against Indiana and Nebraska's series loss to Ohio State jumbled up the conference race, putting Minnesota and Michigan in a tie for first.

Indiana is a notch above everyone else, despite the sweep by Michigan State. Minnesota, Michigan and maybe Nebraska have a definite shot of winning the conference. Should someone besides Indiana win the conference tournament, will the NCAA place more than one Big Ten team into the tourney?

Big Ten

Overall

Team

Record

Pct.

Record

Pct.

Minnesota

7-2

.778

22-13

.629

Michigan

7-2

.778

20-14

.588

Indiana

8-4

.667

26-7

.788

Nebraska

8-4

.667

14-19

.424

Ohio State

7-5

.583

23-11

.676

Illinois

5-4

.556

22-10

.688

Michigan State

5-4

.556

21-11

.656

Northwestern

4-8

.333

14-13

.519

Purdue

4-8

.333

11-22

.333

Iowa

2-7

.222

12-18

.400

Penn State

0-9

.000

7-24

.226

There's not much separation at the top of the conference, but the same is not true for the bottom. Penn State is just plain bad, and Iowa, Purdue and Northwestern aren't going to be making much noise this season.

Illinois

3-1

Eastern Illinois 8, Illinois 4

Illinois 17, Purdue 12

Illinois 6, Purdue 4

Illinois 17, Purdue 6

Illinois scored eight runs in the first inning of the first game of its series against Purdue and went on to pound out 20 hits, 17 runs and have three home runs.

In the second game, Illinois' Reid Roper hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to seal the win.

In the third, Justin Parr became the first Illinois player to hit for the cycle since 2009 as the Illini pummeled the Boilers for 20 hits. It wasn't bad until Purdue gave up eight runs in the bottom of the eighth.

Parr leads all batters in the conference, hitting .438. He leads in hits with 60 and is third in runs scored with 29, and is second in RBIs with 36. Parr also leads in total bases with 88.

Indiana

1-3

Indiana 10, Evansville 8

Michigan State 2, Indiana 1 (11 innings)

Michigan State 6, Indiana 5 (10 innings)

Michigan State 6, Indiana 5

I hate the term "walk-off". Hate it. It's overused and it doesn't describe anything very well. I could understand it if people used to it describe home runs.... no, scratch that, that's a horrible idea. Anyway, I refuse to use it.

Despite my hatred of the term, Indiana was swept this past weekend by losing all three games in the Spartan's last at-bat.

In three games, Indiana's starters:

1 - Joey DeNato - 7.2 IP, 8 H, 1 R

2 - Kyle Hart - 6.0 IP, 11 H, 5R, 1 ER

3 - Aaron Slegers - 7 IP, 9 H, 5R, 2 ER

So, how did this happen?

Game one was a pitcher's duel won by Sparty.

Game two, Michigan State scored four unearned runs on two Indiana errors.

Game three, two errors lead to three Spartan unearned runs.

Indiana leads the conference in team pitching (2.38 ERA), and team batting (.311), but they're eighth in fielding percentage (.964).

Don't take this as an end to Indiana's reign of terror. They're still the best team in the conference. Their eight losses have come by a combined 12 runs.

Iowa

1-3

Kansas 8, Iowa 3

Vs Kansas canceled

Iowa 6, Kansas State 1

Kansas State 11, Iowa 4

Kansas State 5, Iowa 3

It was a Big 12 week for Iowa.

Game one - Hawkeye pitchers Matt Dermody and Nick Hibbing combined to hold the Wildcats to seven hits and a run, while Iowa banged out 11 hits against four Kansas State pitchers.

Such was not the case in game two as Iowa gave up 17 hits and 11 runs, and then in game three Iowa gave up 14 hits while only getting five of their own. Sasha Kuebel went five innings, giving up 11 hits and five runs and taking the loss to drop to 1-7 on the season.

Michigan

4-0

Michigan 4, Notre Dame 1

Michigan 5, Penn State 1

Michigan 3, Penn State 2

Michigan 8, Penn State 1

Michigan moved into a tie for first place in the conference because it was their turn to play Penn State this weekend. Last week, the Wolverines went 5-0 and swept Michigan State (go figure).

Michigan's Trent Szutnik went 6.2 innings, giving up six hits and a run while striking out twelve (remember that guy's name).

Wolverine SS Travis Maezes went 3-for-4 in game two as pitcher Evan Hill went 5.1 innings giving up five hits and two runs.

In taking game three, Michigan earned two consecutive sweeps of a conference foe for the first time since 2008 and extended their winning streak to nine games.

Maezes went 3-for-4 again, driving in four runs, while four Wolverine pitchers combined to hold Penn State to seven hits and a run. They were lead by Matt Ogden who went six innings giving up only three hits and striking out four.

It's not like the Wolverines are exceptional at any one thing, it's that they don't do anything poorly. As a team, they're fifth in team batting (.282), fourth in team pitching (3.01 ERA), and sixth in team fielding (.967 percentage). They do very well in stolen bases (69-85 SB-ATT), second only to Illinois (70-81).

Michigan State

4-0

Michigan State 10, Western Michigan 1

Michigan State 2, Indiana 1 (11 innings)

Michigan State 6, Indiana 5 (10 innings)

Michigan State 6, Indiana 5

Pitching for Michigan State in this series, which is how they won it, along with assists on the errors by Indiana:

1 - Andrew Waszak - 8 IP, 7H, 1 R, 5 SO

2 - David Garner - 7 IP, 8H, 3R

3 - Mick VanVossen - 7.1 IP, 6H, 3R

Ever heard of "Little Jimmy Dickens"? No? He's a country singer. Ever heard of Jimmy Pickens? No? He's the guy that had the hits for Michigan State to win games one and two. Friday night he singled in a RBI and Saturday he homered. Sunday he left the job to Ryan Krill, who singled in the winning run. What a gracious guy that Jimmy Pickens is.

I have no idea what to make of Michigan State. The week previous to this they get swept by Michigan, and then they turn around and sweep the #12 team in the nation. What the heck is going on over there, Sparty?

Minnesota

3-0

Minnesota 4, Northwestern 1

Minnesota 6, Northwestern 3

Minnesota 7, Northwestern 1

Gopher pitcher Tom Windle didn't throw a complete game in the opener, but he performed pretty well nonetheless, going five innings, giving up seven hits and a run while striking out seven. The game was tied 1-1 going into the eighth until NU's Zach Morton gave up three runs.

Three wild pitches lead to three runs for Minnesota in game two, and by virtue of sweeping the Wildcats, Minnesota coach John Anderson won the 500th conference game of his career. Anderson has been a coach at Minnesota for 32 years, and has holds 1,114 career wins over that span. That is one helluva career.

DJ Snelten had another good outing for the Gophers, going 6.2 innings giving up four hits and a run while striking out five.

Minnesota is a lot like Michigan. They're not exceptional at any one thing, although Tom Windle is probably the most reliable pitcher in the conference to this point, and DJ Snelten isn't too bad either. The Gophers don't hit the ball particularly well (9th, .259), but they make up for it in pitching (3rd, 2.79 ERA) and fielding (4th, .974). Such has been John Anderson's teams the past few years.

Nebraska

1-2

Vs Creighton canceled

Nebraska 11, Ohio State 2

Ohio State 6, Nebraska 5 (11 innings)

Ohio State 7, Nebraska 4

Things looked good early for the Huskers as they pounded Buckeye starter Jaron Long for 13 hits and nine runs (seven earned) after only 4.1 innings. Husker starter Christian DeLeon went eight innings, giving up eight hits and two runs. Rich Sanguinetti (3-for-5, 2 R) and Chad Christensen (2-for-2, 2 R, 2 RBI) lead the Huskers as they pounded out 15 hits.

Nebraska lead game two going into the seventh when they gave up four runs in the seventh inning as Ohio State took a 5-4 lead. Austin Darby hit a two-out RBI single in the ninth to force extra innings, but the Buckeyes' Tim Wetzel hit a RBI double with two outs for the win in the 11th.

Ohio State's Brian King threw seven innings in the rubber match, giving up three hits. Nebraska once again gave up a four-run inning as the Buckeyes scored four in the eighth. The Huskers tried to rally, putting up three runs in the bottom of the ninth, but came up short.

It was Nebraska's first conference series loss this year and ruined a streak of five conference series wins going back to last season.

Nebraska in a word - pitching. The Huskers are second to last in the conference in team pitching with a combined ERA of 5.01. Other than DeLeon, Nebraska has yet to find a reliable starter, and there is still no sign of Kyle Kubat. If the pitching isn't straightened out, don't figure the Huskers to contend for the conference championship down the stretch.

Northwestern

0-3

vs Valparaiso canceled

Minnesota 4, Northwestern 1

Minnesota 6, Northwestern 3

Minnesota 7, Northwestern 1

Zach Morton went eight innings in the opener against Minnesota, giving up seven hits and four runs, but once again got little help from his offense.

The Wildcats are last in fielding percentage, having committed 52 errors this season.

Ohio State

4-1

Ohio State 9, West Virginia 0

Ohio State 5, Marshall 0

Nebraska 11, Ohio State 2

Ohio State 6, Nebraska 5 (11 innings)

Ohio State 7, Nebraska 4

That Ohio State came into Lincoln and took a series on the road can't bode well for Nebraska's ambition to win the conference.

Ohio State got rocked in game one as Nebraska's offense shelled them, but the Buckeyes rallied to win game two and killed a Husker rally in the ninth in the process.

The difference on Sunday to take the series was pitching.

Game 3: Brian King - 7 IP, 3H 0R

A note about the Buckeyes:

The Buckeyes are now 19-2 when leading after six innings and 22-3 when scoring more than two runs.

Alec Baldwin's character from Glengarry Glen Ross would love this team. ABC - ALWAYS BE CLOSING.

The Buckeyes are getting it done much like Minnesota. They're not huge offensively, but they're second in team pitching (2.64 ERA) and second to Nebraska in fielding percentage (.975).

Penn State

1-3

Penn State 3, Kent State 2

vs Bucknell, canceled

Michigan 5, Penn State 1

Michigan 3, Penn State 2

Michigan 8, Penn State 1

Penn State's Steven Hill went eight innings in game two, giving up three hits and three runs, but got little support from his offense.

The Nittany Lions moved up in pseudo-RPI to 238, by virtue of their win over Kent State.

Purdue

0-4

Indiana State 10, Purdue 5

vs Ball State, canceled

Illinois 17, Purdue 12

Illinois 6, Purdue 4

Illinois 17, Purdue 6

Not a whole lot right going on for Purdue, although they do have a young team.

Purdue is at the bottom of the conference in pitching (6.99 ERA OUCH!!!!), as is evident in giving up 40 runs in three games. They don't have a single pitcher under 4.00 ERA and their three starters, Robert Ramer, Jordan Minch, and Brad Schreiber are at 4.64, 6.38, and 7.19, respectively.

In team batting, they're second to last ahead of Penn State at .253. They don't have a batter in the regular line up hitting over .300.

Player of the Week

Justin Parr, Illinois

OF - Sr. - Chillicothe, Ill. - Illinois Valley Central

  • Hit .462 (6-for-13) with five RBI and five runs scored as Illinois went 3-0 against Purdue last weekend
  • Hit for the cycle in the series finale, going 4-for-5 with four RBI and four runs scored
  • Slugged .923 and reached base at a .533 clip in the series, combining for an OPS of 1.456
  • Earns his first career Player of the Week award
  • Last Illinois Player of the Week: Michael O'Neill (March 5, 2012)

Co-Pitchers of the Week

Andrew Waszak, Michigan State

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

  • Tossed eight innings and struck out five to help Michigan State to a 2-1 win over No. 12 Indiana in the series opener
  • Surrendered one run on seven hits with no walks against the Hoosiers
  • Earns his second career Pitcher of the Week award and first this season
  • Last Michigan State Pitcher of the Week: Chase Rihtarchik (March 25, 2013)

Brian King, Ohio State

LHP - Sr. - Chandler, Ariz. - Marcos de Niza

  • Threw seven shutout frames to lead Ohio State to a 7-4 win over Nebraska in the rubber match
  • Scattered just three hits and struck out three against the Huskers
  • Earns his first career Pitcher of the Week award
  • Last Ohio State Pitcher of the Week: Brad Goldberg (Feb. 25, 2013)

Freshman of the Week

Travis Maezes, Michigan

SS - Ann Arbor, Mich. - Pioneer

  • Hit .545 (6-for-11) with six runs scored and two stolen bases as Michigan went 3-0 against Penn State
  • Scored at least one run in each game, crossing the plate four times in the series finale
  • Went 3-for-4 in the second and third games of the series
  • Earns the first weekly award of his career
  • Last Michigan Freshman of the Week: Evan Hill (April 8, 2013)
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