Big Ten Baseball Weekly Review - 2014 Week Six

Jon Johnston

Big Ten Conference play started for everyone but three teams this past weekend. There were no sweeps, and weather continued to be a complete pain in the butt for a few teams.

Big Ten

Overall

Team

Record

Pct.

Record

Pct.

1. Iowa

2-1

.667

14-6

.700

Ohio State

2-1

.667

15-7

.682

Minnesota

2-1

.667

13-7

.650

Indiana

2-1

.667

12-9

.571

5. Nebraska

1-2

.333

13-9

.591

Michigan State

1-2

.333

10-10

.500

Michigan

1-2

.333

9-14-1

.396

Northwestern

1-2

.333

4-16

.200

9. Illinois

0-0

.000

11-10

.524

Penn State

0-0

.000

10-13

.435

Purdue

0-0

.000

3-16

.158

Through games of March 23

If I had to do a power poll of Big Ten Baseball teams, it'd probably look like this:

- Indiana

- Iowa

- Ohio State

- Nebraska

- Illinois

- Minnesota

- Michigan State

- Michigan

- Northwestern

- Penn State

- Purdue

Indiana is obvious. Iowa deserves some credit for their record and that they took the first series from Nebraska. Ohio State has a pretty decent record and a RPI of 20. Nebraska - decent pitching, good offense, but inconsistent. And the rest I just made up.

Illinois

4-1

Illinois 8, Indiana State 0

Xavier 6, Illinois 2

Illinois 6, Xavier 1

Illinois 6, Xavier 2

Illinois 3, Xavier 2 (13 innings)

Illinois had a good week against a decent Xavier team Against Indiana State; they posted their first shutout in a home opener since 1998 when they blanked Western Michigan, 6-0.

After losing the first game of the series, Illinois swept the Saturday double header. Ryan Castellanos went 7.1 innings in the first, giving up seven hits and one earned run. John Kravetz went 8 innings in the second, giving up seven hits and two earned runs.

Then on Sunday, freshman Zack Kolakowski executed a suicide squeeze with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 13th to win the game 3-2. See it here....

Indiana

2-1

Indiana 5, Michigan 3

Indiana 5, Michigan 1

Michigan 4, Indiana 3

Another week, another Big Ten honor for Hoosier pitcher Kyle Hart. The Hoosiers are still the team to beat in the conference. Of concern might be that they're currently 7th in team batting at .254.

They are first in team pitching with a 2.55 ERA.  Their pitching staff is loaded.

Sunday's loss was Indiana's first at home this season in six games and the first in 10 games going back to 2010 against Michigan.

It's going to be interesting to see whether or not Indiana loses any series this conference season.

Indiana is no longer ranked in any poll.

Iowa

2-1

Iowa 2, Nebraska 1

Nebraska 5, Iowa 1

Iowa 8, Nebraska 4

What the hell is going on in Iowa City?  Hawkeye baseball used to be an afterthought, and here they are, winning winning winning.

The opening game was a heartbreaker for the Huskers as Iowa scored both runs in the bottom of the ninth inning.

In game two, the Hawkeyes couldn't get anything going against Husker pitching.

In the third game, Nebraska lead 4-3, but the Hawkeyes scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth as they rattled off 14 hits against five Nebraska pitchers.

Iowa is second behind Nebraska in team batting (.311, .312, respectively) and two of their pitchers lead the Big Ten in strikeouts (Calvin Mathews, 38 IP, 32 Ks and Tyler Peyton, 37 IP, 29 Ks).

It going to be interesting to see how Iowa does this season. Rich Heller might be building a helluva program.

Michigan

1-2

Indiana 5, Michigan 3

Indiana 5, Michigan 1

Michigan 4, Indiana 3

Lack of timely hitting cost the Wolverines in the first game. They were down 4-0, and tried to rally, but that Hoosier pitching cut them down, finishing the game with two strikeouts.

In the second game, Michigan could manage only five hits because Kyle Hart.

Michigan used seven pitchers in the series finale and they combined to hold the Hoosiers to three runs.

Hey, Michigan gets to play their home opener this week!

Michigan State

1-2

Michigan State 7, Ohio State 6

Ohio State 6, Michigan State 2

Ohio State 1, Michigan State 0

The series with Ohio State was to be played in East Lansing, but was moved due to weather conditions.

Sparty won game one with a RBI single in the bottom of the ninth. In game two, Ohio State's Troy Montgomery hit a grand slam in the fourth as the Buckeyes plated five runs that inning.

Ohio State's Tanner Tully went 7 innings in game three, giving up seven hits and no runs. Sparty outhit the Buckeyes 9 to 8.

Minnesota

4-1

Minnesota 15, St Mary's 11

Minnesota 12, St Mary's 1

Minnesota 5, Northwestern 1

Northwestern 4, Minnesota 3

Minnesota 2, Northwestern 1

This series was moved to St Charles, Missouri due to weather.

Minnesota split a doubleheader with Northwestern on Saturday. Gopher shortstop Michael Handel hit a grand slam as Alec Crawford went 7 innings, giving up 10 hits and one earned run while striking out 5. In game two, Northwestern jumped out to an early lead, and Minnesota could manage only six hits.

In the rubber match, Gopher pitcher Ben Meyer pitched a complete game, giving up 6 hits and one earned run. Northwestern outhit the Gophers 6-3, but could only manage one run in the third.

Minnesota is third in conference in team pitching with a 3.27 ERA.

Nebraska

2-2

Nebraska 5, Creighton 4 (10 innings)

Iowa 2, Nebraska 1

Nebraska 5, Iowa 1

Iowa 8, Nebraska 4

Opening conference play losing a series to Iowa wasn't what the Huskers had in mind - you can bet on that.

Closer Josh Roeder, normally reliable, gave up the two runs in the bottom of the ninth in game one.
Game two - Chance Sinclair moved to 4-0 on the season, going 7 innings giving up 9 hits, and one earned run. Sinclair leads the conference in ERA at 0.51.

Game three - Nebraska's offense could only manage six hits as Iowa's Tyler Peyton went 6.1 innings, giving up six hits and four earned runs.

Nebraska appears to have the same problem as last year - wild inconsistency.

Northwestern

1-2

Minnesota 5, Northwestern 1

Northwestern 4, Minnesota 3

Minnesota 2, Northwestern 1

Northwestern just doesn't have the horses all around. They're third in team batting (.274), but 10th in team pitching (5.05 ERA) and last in team fielding with a .950 percentage.

40 errors so far this season.  The RPI is at 241.

Ohio State

4-1

Ohio State 6, Akron 5

Ohio State 10, Xavier 3

Michigan State 7, Ohio State 6

Ohio State 6, Michigan State 2

Ohio State 1, Michigan State 0

The Buckeyes had a great week, picking up their first conference series and taking two non-conference games. Check out the Michigan State section above.

The performance by freshman Tully (0.96 ERA) has to have Buckeye fans feeling good as he could move into a starting role. Ryan Riga (3.03 ERA) is set as a starter, and the Buckeyes appear to be trying to find the proper rotation. Greg Greve started the Saturday game (4.50 ERA), but Zach Farmer (4.22 ERA) is another freshman to keep an eye on.

Last years closer Trace Dempsey has struggled this season, and has been replaced in that role by freshman Travis Lakins (0.87 ERA). Do you see a theme here?

Penn State

5-1

Penn State 7, New York Tech 3

Penn State 8, New York Tech 0

Penn State 7, Bucknell 2

Penn State 4, Bucknell 3

Bucknell 1, Penn State 0

Penn State 6, Bucknell 2

Penn State had a really good week, although it should be noted that New York Tech is 1-15 and 300th out of 300 teams in Division I RPI (Boyds World). Bucknell is at 246 with a record of 8-11.

That leaves Penn State with a RPI of 224, although they doubled their wins for the season in one week.

Purdue

2-2

Purdue 6, Butler 1

Purdue 3, Southern Illinois 2

Southern Illinois 5, Purdue 4

Southern Illinois 4, Purdue 0

Hey, Purdue tripled their win total this week, and dropped their ERA by nearly two full points. They're still last in team pitching with a 7.30 ERA.

Purdue is first in team fielding, ahead of Nebraska at .978.

Co-Players of the Week

Casey Rodrigue, Indiana

Jr., 2B, Desterhan, La./Brother Love

  • Finished the week with seven RBI, five runs scored and three stolen bases, helping the Hoosiers to a midweek victory over nationally ranked Louisville and a weekend series win over Michigan
  • Went 2-for-4 against the Cardinals, driving in a run and scoring two more in the 9-3 win
  • Had a hand in nine of the Hoosiers' 13 runs in three games against Michigan, scoring once in each contest and driving in three runs in the opener, one in game two and two in the finale
  • Wins his first Big Ten Player of the Week honor
  • Last Indiana Big Ten Player of the Week: Kyle Schwarber (March 3, 2014)

Dan Potempa, Iowa

Jr., DH, Tinley Park, Ill./Providence Catholic

  • Recorded multiple hits in each game of Iowa's series with Nebraska, batting .727 with an OPS of 1.568 as the Hawkeyes took two of three from the Huskers
  • Went 2-for-3 in the series opener, before going 3-for-4 in game two
  • Went 3-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored in the finale on Sunday, driving home two runs as part of a four-run eighth inning to propel Iowa to the series win
  • Claims his first career Big Ten Player of the Week honor
  • Last Iowa Big Ten Player of the Week: Taylor Zeutenhorst (Feb. 24, 2014)

Pitcher of the Week

Kyle Hart, Indiana

Jr., LHP, Cincinnati, Ohio/Sycamore

  • Scattered just two hits in seven scoreless innings, helping Indiana to a 5-1 win over Michigan on Saturday to clinch the series win
  • Struck out seven to earn his third victory in as many starts
  • During his three-game winning streak, has allowed just one earned run and 11 hits, while striking out 18 in 22 innings
  • Wins his second straight Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honor
  • Last Indiana Big Ten Pitcher of the Week: Kyle Hart (March 17, 2014)

Freshman of the Week

Tanner Tully, Ohio State

LHP, Elkhart, Ind./Central

  • Threw 12 scoreless innings in two wins last week, posting a midweek victory versus Xavier before claiming the decision against Michigan State on Sunday
  • Tossed five shutout innings on Wednesday against the Musketeers without surrendering a walk
  • Registered seven scoreless innings against the Spartans on Sunday, striking out four against just one walk, finishing the week with six strikeouts and just one walk over 12 innings
  • Wins his first career weekly honor
  • Last Ohio State Big Ten Freshman of the Week: Travis Lakins (March 17, 2014)
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