Big Ten Baseball Weekly Review - 2014 Week Nine

Jon Johnston

Nebraska was the only team to sweep an opponent this week, taking three at Minnesota in what turned to be a pretty entertaining series.

Indiana had their nine-game winning streak snapped in the final game of their series against Morehead State. Worse news for the Hoosiers - starting pitcher Kyle Hart will miss the rest of the season due to Tommy John surgery. Hart was sixth in the Big Ten with a 2.29 ERA, had a 3-1 record in nine appearances this season. Hart's loss shouldn't hurt the Hoosiers during the conference season, but will come the postseason when you need all the good pitching you can get.

Big Ten

Overall

Team

Record

Pct.

Record

Pct.

1. Indiana

8-1

.889

21-11

.656

2. Nebraska

7-2

.778

23-14

.622

3. Illinois

6-3

.667

18-13

.581

4. Penn State

5-3

.625

17-16

.515

5. Michigan State

5-4

.556

20-13

.606

6. Michigan

6-6

.500

16-19-1

.458

7. Iowa

5-7

.417

20-13

.606

Minnesota

5-7

.417

17-14

.548

9. Ohio State

4-8

.333

21-15

.583

10. Purdue

3-6

.333

7-24

.226

11. Northwestern

2-9

.182

6-24

.200

Through games of April 13 - Note that this is the day at which the week ends, not the current date.

Friday was a weird day as the bottom of the conference came through with Northwestern beating Iowa, Penn State beating Ohio State (really, I don't care what their record is, the Buckeyes are not worse than Penn State), and Purdue winning against Michigan State.

Illinois

1-2

Illinois 1, Michigan 0

Michigan 17, Illinois 9

Michigan 4, Illinois 2

Illinois finally played a decent team, losing a series to Michigan. They won the first game, however, earning a six-game win streak, and by the end had gone 25 innings without allowing a run.

They came back to earth Saturday, allowing 23 hits and 17 runs as starter Ryan Castellanos lasted only .2 innings, giving up 6 hits and 5 earned runs as the Wolverines took a 5-0 lead. Illinois had 14 hits of their own, but six Illini pitchers couldn't stem the tide.

Illinois picked up 10 hits in the third game, but had four base runners picked off, while Michigan matched their hit count.

Illinois is fourth in conference in team batting (.279) and third in team pitching (3.18 ERA), but those numbers have come against mostly the bottom of the conference.

Indiana

3-1

Indiana 8, Indiana State 4

Indiana 13, Morehead State 1

Indiana 11, Morehead State 3

Morehead State 8, Indiana 7

Joey DeNato became Indiana's all-time wins leader with his 31st career victory in the 13-1 stomping on Friday. His record this season: 7-1, with a 2.37 ERA.

Saturday saw another record for Indiana as 3,101 fans turned out - the most ever for a regular season game at Bart Kaufman Field. The Hoosiers used 15 hits from 10 different players.

Sunday saw a Hoosier loss despite Indiana outhitting their opponent 11-10 and scoring 4 runs in the bottom of the ninth, a grand slam by Scott Donley.

Iowa

4-1

Iowa 5, Kansas 3

Iowa 12, Kansas 7

Northwestern 14, Iowa 13

Iowa 8, Northwestern 1

Iowa 5, Northwestern 0

Northwestern scored 11 runs over its final three at-bats to rally for a 14-13 win on Friday. Iowa had a 13-3 lead going into the bottom of the seventh.

The next two games returned to normal for Northwestern as they scored two runs over both games. Iowa pitcher Sasha Kuebel earned co-pitcher of the week one week after getting destroyed against Indiana. The Hawkeyes pounded out 22 hits in the two games.

Michigan

2-2

Notre Dame 9, Michigan 1

Illinois 1, Michigan 0

Michigan 17, Illinois 9

Michigan 4, Illinois 2

Evan Hill allowed only one run against Illinois in the series opener, and then blasted Illinois pitching in the second game.

The third game was marred by Illinois lousy base running, along with a couple double plays.

Michigan State

3-2

Central Michigan 10, Michigan State 1

Michigan State 11, Western Michigan 3

Purdue 5, Michigan State 3 (11 innings)

Michigan State 7, Purdue 6

Michigan State 2, Purdue 1

Michigan State is in a decent position. They have two good starting pitchers (second in team pitching: 2.93 ERA)- Mick VanVossen (2.55) and Justin Alleman (2.90) - but they're struggling to find that third guy.
They also have some decent offense (lead conference in stolen bases), but just not enough all around (8th in team batting). That they struggled to put up runs against Purdue and lack of timely hitting is evidence that they have some good hitters (Jimmy Pickens, Blaise Salter), but not throughout the order.

Minnesota

0-4

South Dakota State 13, Minnesota 4

Nebraska 8, Minnesota 6

Nebraska 5, Minnesota 2

Nebraska 3, Minnesota 2 (10 innings)

Not a good week for the Gophers, but Nebraska seems to have their number, as the Huskers are 10-1 against them since Nebraska joined the Big Ten.

Minnesota just doesn't generate the offense. You can take that as "Husker pitching shut them down", but it seems to be a theme with Gopher baseball, similar to Michigan State.

Nebraska

4-1

Nebraska 4, Creighton 2

Kansas State 10, Nebraska 6

Nebraska 8, Minnesota 6

Nebraska 5, Minnesota 2

Nebraska 3, Minnesota 2 (10 innings)

One week after sweeping the Buckeyes at home the Huskers travelled to Minneapolis and get another sweep against the Gophers.

Nebraska has been getting it together. While the pitching isn't the best in the Big Ten (team pitching - 6th, 3.99 ERA), the offense (team batting - 2nd, .296) and defense (team fielding - 1st, .975) are exceptional.

Earlier I hve complained about Nebraska's inconsistency. What we're seeing is a team who's (mostly) figured out who they are. They are a team that keeps battling ‘til the end.

That was evident in this weekend's sweep. Friday Nebraska jumped to a 5-0 lead only to see Minnesota tie it up at 6-6. Nebraska then scored two in the top of the 9th. All of the Husker runs came on two-out hitting.

Saturday, Christian DeLeon threw his second straight complete game, giving up 4 hits, and 2 runs - an impressive outing. DeLeon appears to have overcome his issue of having one bad inning per outing.

Sunday (a cold blustery day), Aaron Bummer went 7 innings, giving up 6 hits and 2 runs but did not get the win as the game was tied 2-2 upon his exit. Both teams had their chances at the win as both teams had runners in scoring position. Nebraska finally scored in the 10th as Steven Reveles hit a two-out RBI in the top of the inning and Josh Roeder shut the Gophers down in the bottom.

BTW, last time Nebraska swept two conference series in a row? 2006.

Northwestern

2-2

Northwestern 12, Valparaiso 5

Northwestern 14, Iowa 13

Iowa 8, Northwestern 1

Iowa 5, Northwestern 0

That Friday win against Iowa - what the heck. 27 runs on 36 hits, both highs in the Big Ten this season. Baseball is so weird.

BTW, if you go to Northwestern's site right now, you'll see that they are planning an upgrade to their baseball park. This is a very good thing.

Ohio State

3-2

Ohio State 8, Eastern Michigan 1

Dayton 8, Ohio State 5

Penn State 5, Ohio State 4

Ohio State 7, Penn State 0

Ohio State 12, Penn State 6

When I saw the Dayton loss (RPI:217) and then the Friday night Penn State loss, I thought, "Wow, Nebraska really sucked the life out of those guys". Then the Buckeyes rebounded somewhat, taking the series.

Saturday Buckeye pitcher Greg Greve earned co-pitcher of the week award, throwing a complete game shutout, which is just what Ohio State needed. It ended the Buckeye's seven-game conference losing streak.

I expect that Ohio State and Penn State will flip positions over the coming weeks.

Penn State

2-2

Penn State 8, West Virginia 4

Penn State 5, Ohio State 4

Ohio State 7, Penn State 0

Ohio State 12, Penn State 6

Penn State still has a winning conference record, but they've played a pretty easy schedule up until this weekend at Ohio State.

Purdue

2-2

Louisville 3, Purdue 1

Purdue 5, Michigan State 3 (11 innings)

Michigan State 7, Purdue 6

Michigan State 2, Purdue 1

Purdue is last in team pitching (6.03 ERA), last in team batting (.226), but they're second in team fielding (.974).

Player of the Week

Nick Sergakis, Ohio State

So., SS, Columbus, Ohio/Columbus Academy

 Batted .615 in a weekend series against Penn State, driving home five runs and scoring five more to help Ohio State take 2-of-3 from the Nittany Lions

 Had multiple RBI and runs scored in two games and recorded a home run in the series' second game to finish with a 1.538 OPS in the set

 Scored a pair of runs in midweek games against Eastern Michigan and Dayton, finishing with a double, triple and stolen base in the two contests

 Wins his second career Big Ten Player of the Week honor and first this season

 Last Indiana Big Ten Player of the Week: Casey Rodrigue (March 24, 2014)

Co-Pitchers of the Week

Sasha Kuebel, Iowa

Jr., LHP, St. Louis, Mo./St. Louis University

 Notched two wins and an 0.62 ERA for the Hawkeyes last week, picking up a midweek victory against Kansas before throwing a complete-game shutout against Northwestern on Saturday

 Pitched 5.2 innings of relief against the Jayhawks, allowing one run while striking out six in the Hawkeyes' come-from-behind win

 In the second game of Saturday's doubleheader against the Wildcats, recorded his first career complete-game shutout, Iowa's first since 2011, and struck out six

 Wins his second Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honor

 Last Iowa Big Ten Pitcher of the Week: Calvin Mathews (March 31, 2014)

Greg Greve, Ohio State

Sr., RHP, Cleveland, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit

 Needed just 86 pitches to record a complete-game shutout in Saturday's win over Penn State

 Scattered four hits while striking out three to improve his season record to 4-2

 Recorded the Buckeyes' second complete-game shutout of the season, following Ryan Riga against Oregon on March 8

 Claims his first career Big Ten Pitcher of the Week award

 Last Ohio State Big Ten Pitcher of the Week: Ryan Riga (March 10, 2014)

Freshman of the Week

Cam Vieaux, Michigan State

LHP, Novi, Mich./Walled Lake Western

 Tossed his first career complete game in a 2-1 victory over Purdue in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader

 Surrendered his only run in the second inning before allowing just two hits the rest of the game and retiring the final 10 batters he faced

 Struck out six batters and lowered his season ERA to 1.62, which is tied for the conference lead

 Wins his second career Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor

 Last Michigan State Big Ten Freshman of the Week: Cam Vieaux (March 31, 2014)

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