Big Ten Baseball Weekly Review - 2014 Week 12

Jon Johnston

It was a week of sweeps at the top of the conference. That Indiana swept Purdue was no shock, nor was it that Nebraska swept Penn State.

Illinois' sweep of Michigan State is something of a surprise, although all three games came down to a single run and one game went for extra innings. A bounce here, there, and it's a completely different story.

Big Ten

Overall

Team

Record

Pct.

Record

Pct.

1. Indiana

16-2

.889

32-12

.727

2. Nebraska

13-5

.722

32-17

.653

Illinois

13-5

.722

27-17

.614

4. Michigan

11-10

.524

22-25-1

.469

5. Minnesota

9-9

.500

22-19

.537

6. Iowa

8-10

.444

26-17

.605

Ohio State

8-10

.444

27-21

.562

Michigan State

8-10

.444

24-20

.545

9. Penn State

5-12

.294

17-26

.395

10. Purdue

5-13

.278

12-32

.273

11. Northwestern

5-15

.250

13-31

.295

Through games of May 5

Despite the Purdue sweep, Indiana's RPI dropped from #2 to #4. Nebraska dropped from #42 to #43, and Illinois moved to #66.

Indiana has been ranked most of the season, but Nebraska finally picked up a ranking - the Huskers are 29th in the NCBWA poll.

Illinois

4-0

Illinois  10, Southern Illinois 1

Illinois 5, Michigan State 4

Illinois 5, Michigan State 4 (10 innings)

Illinois 10, Michigan State 9

All three games decided by a run apiece, including one extra innings game.

Game 1 - both teams scored three runs in the eighth, with Illinois runs coming on a two-out two-RBI triple and the game winner coming on a wild pitch.

Game 2 - Junior Casey Fletcher hit two home runs, then hit a RBI single with the bases loaded for the game winner.

Game 3 - Fletcher hit a two-out two-run single in the bottom of the 9th to seal the sweep as the Illinois overcame a 8-3 deficit to clinch a spot in the Big Ten tournament.

Illinois has a series at Iowa, and will then end the season with a series at Nebraska.

Indiana

4-0

Indiana 16, Miami  (OH) 1

Indiana 6, Purdue 0

Indiana 7, Purdue 3

Indiana 12, Purdue 3

Once again, Indiana mows through another Big Ten opponent, and moved up at #9 in the Baseball America poll. The Hoosiers have now won 9 of their last 10 and 19 of their last 21.

Joey DeNato - 7 IP, 5H, 0R, 7K) - improved to 10-1 on Friday.

Sunday the Hoosiers pounded out 17 hits, while Kyle Schwarber hit his 8th home run of the season.

How far can Indiana go in the post season? At this rate they should be a national seed in the NCAA tournament, and they haven't lost a whole lot from last year's team that made the CWS.

Iowa

1-2

Ohio State 9, Iowa 4

Iowa 17, Ohio State 2

Ohio State 3, Iowa 2

As expected, Iowa lost their series with Ohio State, the last game on Monday.

Game 1 - Ohio State took a 7-0 lead over the first three innings, and hit three home runs on their way to the win.

Game 2 - 17 runs on 17 hits for Iowa, with every starter getting a hit and Sasha Kuebel threw a complete game, giving up 9 hits, 2 runs (1 earned).

Game 3 - A home run by Buckeye Troy Kuhn broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth and that was the series winner.

I'd have to say that Iowa is a better overall team than they were a year ago. They're obviously missing some pieces, but they are playing much better than in the past.

Michigan

2-2

Michigan 3, Oakland 1

Northwestern 5, Michigan 3

Michigan 18, Northwestern 6

Michigan 5, Northwestern 3

Game 1 - Northwestern scored all their runs in the 5th inning.

Game 2 - Michigan took a 9-0 lead in the first inning.

Game 3 - The Wolverines scored two runs in the top of the 9th to take the series.

Michigan State

0-3

Illinois 5, Michigan State 4

Illinois 5, Michigan State 4

Illinois 10, Michigan State 9

The Spartans just couldn't put a good game together. This series should remind everyone of the Nebraska - Ohio State series with how close the games were. A bounce, a pitch different, and this is a different series.

Minnesota

0-3

Florida State 5, Minnesota 4

Florida State 3, Minnesota 2

Florida State 7, Minnesota 1

A disappointing weekend for the Gophers. It's not like the Seminoles destroyed them, two of the games were decided by a single run.  Friday's game was postponed due to rain, so Saturday was a doubleheader.

Game 1 - Minnesota scored three runs in the 9th, but Florida State won with two runs in the bottom of the 9th.

Game 2 - Minnesota outhit FSU 9-7, but fell behind 3-0 and couldn't fight the way back. The Gophers lead off the 9th with a double, got a runner to third, but the final two batters were struck out.

Game 3  - Minnesota scored first, and that was it. FSU outhit the Gophers 12-8 but Minnesota just doesn't have the offense to keep up with a team like FSU.

Everyone's favorite crab leg thief Jameis Winston missed this series, but he was reinstated Sunday night after completing his community service hours.

Nebraska

4-0

Nebraska 4, Nebraska -Omaha 1

Nebraska 13, Penn State 3

Nebraska 9, Penn State 2

Nebraska 8 , Penn State 4

Brian did a detailed run down of the series yesterday.

Nebraska has a series at Michigan State coming up this weekend, and then finishes at home against Illinois.

Northwestern

1-3

Northern Illinois 4, Northwestern 0

Northwestern 5, Michigan 3

Michigan 18, Northwestern 6

Michigan 5, Northwestern 3

A win for the Wildcats, and their RPI is at 248.

Ohio State

2-2

Louisville 7, Ohio State 3

Ohio State 9, Iowa 4

Iowa 17, Ohio State 2

Ohio State 3, Iowa 2

Ohio State has series against Michigan and Northwestern left. They will end up with enough wins (thanks to Penn State, Northwestern and Purdue being horrible) to make the Big Ten tourney, but they're still not at a level at which Buckeye fans can be anything but disappointed.

Penn State

0-3

Nebraska 13, Penn State 3

Nebraska 9, Penn State 2

Nebraska 8 , Penn State 4

See Nebraska.

Purdue

1-3

Purdue 8, Illinois State 6

Indiana 6, Purdue 0

Indiana 7, Purdue 3

Indiana 12, Purdue 3

Purdue won a game this week.

Player of the Week

Casey Fletcher, Illinois

Jr., OF, Oakwood, Ill./Oakwood

  • Belted five home runs last week, hitting three against Southern Illinois on Wednesday and two more versus Michigan State on Saturday, and drove in 10 runs to help Illinois to a 4-0 record
  • Became the seventh Illini player to hit three home runs in a game, driving in five runs against the Salukis
  • Drove in three runs in Saturday's win against the Spartans, including a walk-off RBI single in a 5-4 victory
  • Notched his second walk-off hit of the weekend on Sunday, singling home two runs to secure a 10-9 triumph to end the week with a 1.824 OPS
  • Wins his first career Big Ten Player of the Week award
  • Last Illinois Big Ten Player of the Week: Ryan Nagle (March 3, 2014)

Pitcher of the Week

Joey DeNato, Indiana

Sr., LHP, San Diego, Calif./Torrey Pines

  • Pitched seven shutout innings to earn the win on Friday night against Purdue
  • Struck out seven while scattering just five hits to record his 10th win of the season
  • Carries a 2.06 season ERA and improves his career record to 34-9
  • Wins his third career Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honor
  • Last Indiana Big Ten Pitcher of the Week: Joey DeNato (April 21, 2014)

Freshman of the Week

Ben Miller, Nebraska

DH, Clive, Iowa/West Des Moines Valley

  • Hit .600 during a three-game sweep over Penn State, scoring five runs while driving in two more
  • Had two hits in each game versus the Nittany Lions and scored two runs on Saturday and Sunday
  • Went 1-for-3 in a midweek win against Nebraska-Omaha with a walk and a run scored
  • Wins his first Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor
  • Last Nebraska Big Ten Freshman of the Week: Ryan Boldt (April 28, 2014)
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