Big Ten Baseball Weekly Review - 2013 Week 12

David McGee

Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio State, and Nebraska are all in contention for the 2013 Big Ten baseball regular season conference title and the conference series match ups will make for a very interesting finish to the season. All that and a recap of last week's action in Big Ten baseball.

Minnesota did everyone a favor and lost a game to Penn State, while Indiana's series win over Nebraska pushed them into second place with two weeks left in the regular season.

The top two seeds earn a bye in the first round of the Big Ten tournament - something very important to Nebraska, Ohio State, and Indiana as their RPIs stand at 41, 51, and 12, respectively. Indiana is a sure bet for a NCAA tourney bid. Nebraska and Ohio State darned well better finish the season well.

Minnesota's is at 104, so the only way they get a NCAA tourney bid is by wining the Big Ten tourney.


Big Ten

Overall

Team

Record

Pct.

Record

Pct.

Minnesota

11-4

.733

28-15

.651

Indiana

13-5

.722

36-9

.800

Ohio State

14-7

.667

32-14

.696

Nebraska

12-6

.667

21-25

.457

Michigan State

9-6

.600

26-14

.650

Michigan

10-8

.556

24-21

.533

Illinois

9-9

.500

28-15

.651

Northwestern

8-13

.381

20-20

.500

Iowa

5-13

.278

17-25

.405

Purdue

5-13

.278

16-27

.372

Penn State

3-15

.167

12-30

.286

Here's the conference series the top four teams have left:

Minnesota - vs Nebraska, vs Illinois

Nebraska - @ Minnesota, vs Michigan

Indiana - vs Northwestern, @ Ohio State

Ohio State - vs Indiana

The schedule sets up for some very interesting baseball over the next couple weeks to say the least. The conference is up for grabs.

Illinois

2-2

Illinois 11, Southern Illinois 7

Michigan State 12, Illinois 3

Illinois 7, Michigan State 3

Michigan State 4, Illinois 3

Justin Parr extended his streak throughout this series to 31 games, waiting until his final at-bat in the first two games of the series, but getting a single in the first inning of the third.

Illinois lost this series when Michigan State's catcher Joel Fisher hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to seal the win for the Spartans. Tough way to lose a series.

Indiana

2-1

Indiana 8, Nebraska 6

Nebraska 3, Indiana 2

Indiana 10, Nebraska 2

This was a heckuva series between two of the top teams in the conference. It showed why the Hoosiers are the best in the conference despite Minnesota being ahead of them in the standings.

Game one - Indiana hit four home runs.

Game two - Nebraska's Kyle Kubat shut down the best offense in the league.

Game three - Indiana's Aaron Slegers pitching: 8.1 IP, 5H, 2R.

Bottom line - Indiana has three solid starters. Nebraska does not.

Indiana's first inning run total on the season - 46 -12 over opponents.

Iowa

1-3

Wisconsin-Milwaukee 10, Iowa 3

Michigan 5, Iowa 4

Iowa 4, Michigan 3 (12 innings)

Michigan 4, Iowa 3

See Michigan.

Michigan

2-1

Michigan 5, Iowa 4

Iowa 4, Michigan 3 (12 innings)

Michigan 4, Iowa 3

Game one - three runs in the first inning, while Trent Szkutnik went 5.2 IP, 5H, and 2R. Iowa's Matt Dermody had a decent outing, going 7 IP, 9H, 5R and 7 SO.

Game two - Iowa scored two in the 7th, one in the 8th, and one more in the 12th. Hawkeye pitcher Sasha Kuebel went 9.1 IP, 8H, 3R, 8SO.

Game three - Zach Zott hit a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth while Logan McAnallen went 8 IP, 7H, 3R and 9 SO.

A year ago, Michigan was 6-12 in conference, in 10th place ahead of only Northwestern.

Michigan State

2-1

Lansing Lugnuts 10, Michigan State 2

Michigan State 12, Illinois 3

Illinois 7, Michigan State 3

Michigan State 4, Illinois 3

11,619 fans were on hand to watch the "Crosstown Showdown" in which MSU plays the minor league Lansing Lugnuts. Nice crowd.

Game one: Blaise Salter, Jimmy Pickens and Joel Fisher went a combined 10-for-13 with 10 RBI's. Illinois' Kevin Johnson lasted only an inning, giving up 6H, 6R, while Andrew Waszak went 8.1 IP, 7H, 3R.

Game two: Illinois scored three in the first and four in the eighth. The Spartans outhit the Illini 11-7, but scored only three runs.

Game three: Three-run homer by Joel Fisher in the eighth. Illini hurler John Kravetz went 7.1 IP, 6H, 2R, but MSU's Mick VanVossen went 7 IP, 9H, and 3R.

Minnesota

2-1

vs St. Thomas, canceled

Minnesota 11, Penn State 2

Minnesota 7, Penn State 3

Penn State 4, Minnesota 3 (10 innings)

Game one: Tom Windle - 7 IP, 7H, 2R, 4SO while the Gophers piled up 12 hits, scoring 6R in the fourth inning.

Game two: Alec Crawford - 7 IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER and another 12 hits for Gopher hitters.

Game three: Penn State outhit the Gophers 8-7, with Minnesota's DJ Snelten going 8IP, 7H, 3R, 7 SO, but Penn State's Steven Hill went 6 IP, 5 H, 3R, and it was just enough as Minnesota couldn't come up with clutch hitting while Penn State did.

Minnesota's weakness is hitting. They just don't have enough when the games are tight and they're facing decent pitching. The Nebraska series is huge for both teams.

Nebraska

1-2

Indiana 8, Nebraska 6

Nebraska 3, Indiana 2

Indiana 10, Nebraska 2

Go back one season and what you'd find is a Husker team that blasted the hell out of the ball for most of the season, but finished eighth in the conference. The Huskers hit 47 home runs last year. 47!

This year? Nine total.

Is that why the Huskers are losing tough series? No, not entirely. The bats are still good, but don't have the power they had last season. Let's just say that if they were anywhere near the same level the Huskers would be over .500 and leave it at that.

Husker pitching was good for two of the three games -

Game one: Christian DeLeon - 7 IP, 10H, 5R, 4ER

Game two: Kyle Kubat - 7.2 IP, 5H 2R

Game three: Aaron Bummer - 4.0 IP, 3H, 3R. Four other pitchers gave up 8H, 7R.

Nebraska is a decent team without a lot of depth in pitching. The Huskers have improved greatly over last season, but, again, pitching.

Northwestern

2-3

Northwestern 3, Chicago State 1

Western Michigan 5, Northwestern 2

Northwestern 8, Ohio State 0

Ohio State 5, Northwestern 3

Ohio State 6, Northwestern 2

See Ohio State.

Ohio State

4-1

Ohio State 9, Northern Kentucky 8

Ohio State 6, Northern Kentucky 5

Northwestern 8, Ohio State 0

Ohio State 5, Northwestern 3

Ohio State 6, Northwestern 2

Game one: PSU's Luke Farrell went 8 IP, 2H, 8SO while Buckeye Brad Goldberg was chased after only three innings, with 8H, 7R. Goldberg is usually more reliable than that. Northwestern scored six in the second.

Game two: Aaron Gretz hit a two-run single in the top of the ninth. Buckeye Brian King went 7 IP, 5H, 3R

Game three: NU's Zach Morton went 7.1 IP, 4H, 3R, but Ohio State scored four in the top of the eighth and held the Wildcats to six hits.

The Buckeyes still have that... just above averageness about them. No real huge flaws, but no real greatness either.

Penn State

1-2

Minnesota 11, Penn State 2

Minnesota 7, Penn State 3

Penn State 4, Minnesota 3 (10 innings)

See Minnesota.

Purdue

3-0

Purdue 6, Southern Illinois 4

Purdue 5, Southern Illinois 3

Purdue 10, Southern Illinois 5

Purdue was the only Big Ten team playing out of conference this past weekend, sweeping Southern Illinois. That's good - Purdue needed something good to happen to them.

Southern Illinois is 21-27 overall, pseudo-RPI of 186, so, a middling opponent. Not horrible, so a good sweep for the Boilers.

Player of the Week

Joel Fisher, Michigan State

C - Jr. - Farmington Hills, Mich. - Farmington

  • Hit .455 (5-for-11) with two home runs, one double, seven RBI and two runs scored as Michigan State went 2-1 against Illinois
  • Went 3-for-5 in the series opener, belting one home run, a double and driving in four runs
  • Recorded his second round-tripper of the series, a three-run home run, in the rubber match
  • Reached base at a .538 clip and slugged 1.091 in the series, combining for an OPS of 1.629
  • Earns his first Big Ten weekly award
  • Last Michigan State Player of the Week: Blaise Salter (April 29, 2013)

Pitcher of the Week

Luke Farrell, Northwestern

RHP - Sr. - Westlake, Ohio - St. Ignatius

  • Tossed eight shutout innings in an 8-0 win over Ohio State
  • Recorded eight strikeouts and allowed a season-low two hits against the Buckeyes
  • Earns his third career Pitcher of the Week award and second this season
  • Last Northwestern Pitcher of the Week: Luke Farrell (April 22, 2013)

Freshman of the Week

Travis Maezes, Michigan

SS - Ann Arbor, Mich. - Pioneer

  • Hit .500 (6-for-12) with one home run, a double, four RBI and one run scored as Michigan went 2-1 against Iowa
  • Had a 2-for-5 effort with two RBI in Game 2 before going 3-for-4 with a double in the rubber match
  • Went 1-for-3 with a home run in the series opener
  • Earns his second career Big Ten honor
  • Last Michigan Freshman of the Week: Travis Maezes (April 15, 2013)
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