Big Ten Baseball Weekly Review - 2014 Week Three

Jon Johnston

I've been meaning to get to these for the past couple of weeks but it just hasn't worked out that way. I hope to keep doing them, but in the meantime, we're really looking for someone to help out with baseball, so if that's you, please send me an email cornnation@gmail.com. THANK YOU.

Below are the current Big Ten records. Obviously no one has started conference play yet, but something obvious should jump out at you, as in:

WHAT THE SAM HELL IS IOWA DOING AT 9-1 WHILE PURDUE IS 1-7?

Big Ten

Overall

Team

Record

Pct.

Record

Pct.

Iowa

0-0

.000

9-1

.900

Ohio State

0-0

.000

7-3

.700

Minnesota

0-0

.000

6-3

.667

Illinois

0-0

.000

6-4

.600

Nebraska

0-0

.000

5-5

.500

Michigan State

0-0

.000

5-5

.500

Indiana

0-0

.000

4-5

.444

Penn State

0-0

.000

3-6

.333

Michigan

0-0

.000

2-8-1

.227

Northwestern

0-0

.000

2-8

.200

Purdue

0-0

.000

1-7

.125

The simple answer is schedules.

Iowa hasn't exactly played a murder's row of a schedule so far, while Purdue has been swept by Tennessee and Rice and has had five easier games cancelled due to weather and travel issues. Purdue is one of the Big Ten schools who have made serious movement towards upgrading their schedule, and as it stands right now, they look much worse for it.

Iowa's wins have come against teams that are mostly bad - Austin Peay (4-7), Stetson (2-9), Maine (2-7), Miss Valley State (0-12), and St Bonaventure (0-8). The only team with a winning record they've played is Ball State (Iowa win 16-6).

While I may harp on the Hawkeye schedule, new head coach Rick Heller has them off to their best start since 1940. That's before World War II began for you young uns.

Illinois

4-0

Illinois 3, Florida Gulf Coast 2

Illinois 6, Florida 0

Illinois 9, Florida Gulf Coast 1

Illinois 5, Florida 1

Illinois went down to the Florida Tournament in Gainesville and beat the ranked Gators at home not once, but twice. Four games against Florida teams with an overall score of 20-2.

In the 6-0 win, Kevin Duchene threw a complete game shutout allowing only three hits.

That's pretty darned impressive weekend right there. Illinois is currently tied at top of the conference in team fielding (.976 percentage, Purdue), fourth in team batting (.273) and fifth in team pitching (3.86 ERA).

Indiana

2-0

Indiana 8, Toledo 3

Indiana 6, Louisville 2

The Hoosiers swept a double header in Louisville and in the process Kyle Schwarber was 5-for-5 against ranked Louisville while Joey DeNato went seven innings and gave up one earned run. DeNato's ERA is 0.47 and his record is 3-0.

Indiana started the season giving up three of four at (now 9-3) Texas Tech, but Husker fans know how hard it is to play at Lubbock, let alone get there. They went 1-2 in the Big Ten/Pac-12 challenge, beating Washington, but losing to Utah and Oregon State. Regardless of their early record, the Hoosiers are still the team to beat in this conference.

Iowa

3-0

Iowa 5, Stetson 1

Iowa 13, Maine 12

Iowa 8, Furman 2

Second straight weekend sweep for Iowa.

Right now, Iowa leads the conference in batting with a team average of .308.

Jake Yacinich and Jake Mangler are both over .400 (.412, .405), while they have three pitchers with an under 3.0 ERA (Calvin Mathews - 2.12, Tyler Peyton - 2.70, Andrew Hedrick - 2.87).

Keep in mind that Heller didn't come up with this schedule just to make things easy this season. The 9-1 start is impressive, just not overwhelming giving the opponents.

Michigan

1-3

NC State 3, Michigan 0

Michigan 4, Notre Dame 2

Appalachian State 4, Michigan 1

UCLA 5, Michigan 0

Michigan stands at 2-8 with wins over Air Force and Notre Dame. They have played some good teams (swept by 8-2 Houston, blanked by 7-4 UCLA).

The Wolverines are having problems hitting (second to last in conference at .230). Their pitching is decent enough (Ben Ballantine - 0.95 ERA, Trent Szkutnit - 2.60 ERA, Logan McAnallen - 3.55 ERA), but three runs over four games as in this past weekend? Ouch!

Michigan State

1-3

Eastern Illinois 10, Michigan State 5

Miss State 4, Michigan State 2

Miss State 7, Michigan State 1

Michigan State 18, Eastern Illinois 13

Sparty stands at .500, starting the year losing a series to Wright State, but going 2-1 I the Pac-12-B1G Challenge, and beating Oregon State in the process.

Mick VanVossen leads the pitching staff with a 3.00 ERA, 2-0 record, and 13 K's with 6 walks.

Minnesota

2-1

Minnesota 4, Louisiana Tech 2

Louisiana Tech 3, Minnesota 2

Minnesota 6, Louisiana Tech 1

Minnesota traditionally has played their early season baseball in the Metrodome, which is gone now, so this year they've spend weekends in Arizona, Florida and Louisiana like most other Big Ten teams

They have done decent enough, sweeping Northern Illinois, losing a series to Creighton and winning this past weekend's series at LaTech.

I would give you more statistics on Gopher baseball, but their DAMNED WEB SITE IS SO PRETTY BUT COMPLETELY USELESS.

Nebraska

1-2

The Citadel 6, Nebraska 3

The Citadel 12, Nebraska 8

Nebraska 4, The Citadel 0

Maybe it's because they're my team, but is there a team more schizophrenic than Nebraska early in the season?

They went 2-2 in their own Husker Classic tournament in Glendale, AZ, which included a 15-7 loss to Oregon State, then turn around and beat Oregon State 9-2 and Washington 13-3 in the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge.

This past weekend, they lost a series to 6-6 The Citadel, who isn't a bad team, but in the two losses, the Huskers gave up big early leads.

Starter Kyle Kubat is out like he was at the beginning of last year, but Chance Sinclair has been a very bright spot, going 2-0 in 3 starts with a 0.00 ERA. Christian DeLeon is decent but inconsistent (3.93 ERA).

The Huskers are third in team batting at .289 with Pat Kelly, Blake Headley, and Michael Pritchard leading the way. They're eight in team pitching at 4.09 ERA, possibly skewed by Tyler King's current 99.0 ERA ranking.

As expected, Darin Erstad's team is good at defense, currently right behind Illinois and Purdue in fielding at .975.

Northwestern

0-3

Tennessee Tech 11, Northwestern 7

Tennessee Tech 12, Northwestern 2

Tennessee Tech 8, Northwestern 6

Northwestern has a baseball team. They were swept in their first series of the season by USC, went 2-2 in the Snowbird Classic tournament, and then were swept this past weekend.

The Wildcats are second in team batting (.304), but are second to last in pitching (5.65) and fielding (.948 fielding percentage).

Ohio State

2-1

Ohio State 6, Pittsburgh 2

Ohio State 5, Western Kentucky 4

East Carolina 3, Ohio State 2

Ohio State looks pretty decent early on, only losses coming against 9-1 Indiana State and 6-5 East Carolina. They've played an okay schedule, with wins over Connecticut, Auburn, UCF, The Citadel, Oklahoma and Pittsburgh.

The Buckeyes lead the conference in team pitching with a 2.81 ERA. They stand at seventh in team batting (.254), and ninth in team fielding at .955 with 19 errors.

Chris Webb is covering the team extensively at Land Grant Holy Land.

Penn State

1-2

Hofstra 5, Penn State 0

Hofstra 5, Penn State 2

Penn State 10, Hofstra 4

At some point last season I gave up on Penn State and stopped writing about them.

The Nittany Lions have had horrible luck with weather early this season and have yet to win a series (loss to Gardner-Webb, swept by South Florida).

Their fielding... well, they don't have as many errors as Northwestern (18, 23 respectively).

Purdue

1-1

Purdue 3, Butler 2

Samford 4, Purdue 3

Purdue has scored 15 runs in eight games. That's at the bottom of the conference by far as next to last is Michigan with 37 runs. They were beaten by Tennessee 20-2 and by Rice 23-3.

The pitching is dead last in the conference with a 9.14 team ERA. The second to last team is Northwestern at a 5.65 ERA.
Do I need to say any more about Purdue? I don't think so.

Co-Players of the Week

Ryan Nagle, Illinois

So., OF, Streator, Ill./Streator

  • Helped Illinois to a 4-0 weekend, with two wins each over Florida Gulf Coast and nationally ranked Florida, in which he batted .625, going 10-of-16 from the plate
  • Recorded multiple hits and one run in every game, with two hits in each of Friday's games against the Eagles and Gators
  • Followed with a 3-for-4, two-RBI outing on Saturday against Florida Gulf Coast before ending the weekend with another 3-for-4 day, including two doubles and an RBI against Florida
  • Part of an Illini offense that outscored its opponents 23-4
  • Wins his first career Big Ten Player of the Week honor
  • Last Illinois Big Ten Player of the Week: Justin Parr (April 15, 2013)

Kyle Schwarber, Indiana

Jr., C/OF, Middletown, Ohio/Middletown

  • Batted. 571 and posted an OPS of 1.810 in leading Indiana to wins over Toledo and nationally ranked Louisville over the weekend
  • Went 2-for-5 against the Rockets in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, finishing with a double and a triple and two runs scored in the 8-3 win
  • In the second game of the day against the Cardinals, reached base in each of his four plate appearances, driving in two runs and scoring three more in a 6-2 triumph
  • Claims his second Big Ten Player of the Week accolade
  • Last Indiana Big Ten Player of the Week: Michael Basil (May 20, 2013)

Pitcher of the Week

Kevin Duchene, Illinois

So., LHP, Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic Academy

  • Pitched a complete-game shutout against nationally ranked Florida, guiding Illinois to a 6-0 win as part of a four-win weekend
  • Allowed just three hits and two walks, while striking out six to notch his first win of the season
  • Needed just 100 pitches to finish off the Gators, recording his second career complete-game shutout
  • Wins his second career Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honor
  • Last Illinois Big Ten Pitcher of the Week: Kevin Duchene (May 13, 2013)

Freshman of the Week

Walter Borkovich, Michigan State

RHP, Traverse City, Mich./West Senior

  • Earned his first career win by pitching 4.2 innings of scoreless relief in the Spartans' Sunday win over Eastern Illinois
  • Came on to get the final out of the fourth inning and surrendered just four hits while striking out four as he pitched into the eighth inning
  • Wins his first career weekly honor
  • Last Michigan State Big Ten Freshman of the Week: Zach Jones (April 8, 2013)

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