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Big Ten Baseball Weekly Review: 2012 Week 4

Getting into the season a bit now and we're starting to see things shake out a bit. Keep in mind that most Big Ten schools are still playing the majority of their games on the road for another week. Only Nebraska and Minnesota (Metrodome) played at home this past weekend, with some of the schools involved in their spring trips in which they're on the road for at least a week.

What a huge disadvantage for the conference. You don't really have to wonder why Minnesota coach John Anderson goes a little bit over the edge in recommending that the Big Ten start playing more games in summer, do you?

Current conference records are as follows:

Purdue 11-1

Nebraska 9-6

Ohio State 8-6

Illinois 7-6

Michigan State 7-7

Minnesota 7-8

Michigan 7-9

Northwestern 4-9

Indiana 4-10

Iowa 3-8

Penn State 3-11



Illinois 2, Oregon 1

Illinois 5, Connecticut 1

Oregon State 8, Illinois 2

Illinois 14, West Virginia 3 (7 innings)

A nice week for the Illini, starting well when pitcher Kevin Johnson threw a complete game, allowing only four hits as the Illini knocked off #18 Oregon 2-1. Only one Duck batter got past second base (the only Duck run of the game). Johnson was rewarded with Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honor.

As if inspired, freshman pitcher John Kravetz allowed only one run and seven scatter hits over 7.2 innings. The performance earned him Big Ten Freshman of the Week.

Unfortunately the pitching didn't last against #22 Oregon State, as the Illini gave up seven walks and four HBP as junior starter Matt Milroy only lasted 1.2 innings, giving up six runs in the 8-2 loss.

In the finale, Illinois scored 14 runs in the first three innings, pounding the Mountainers' Eric Hinkle for eight hits and 14 earned runs (six walks, two HBP).

The Illini have won six of their last eight games after starting the season at 1-4.



Louisville 13, Indiana 4

Indiana State 13, Indiana 8

Indiana 7, Cal State Northridge 3

CSN 12, Indiana 5

CSN 5, Indiana 3

What's to say about the Hoosiers? Louisville recorded five runs before Indiana recorded an out in the first inning of that game, then gave up 14 hits and 13 runs to Indiana State.

It was more of the same in the first game at CSN, with the Matadors scoring three runs in the first inning. Starting pitcher Joey DeNato settled down, pitching seven innings and giving up no more runs after the first inning as the Hoosiers managed 11 hits and seven runs.

In the second game against CSN, the Hoosiers committed seven errors (!!!) to lose, and in the final game the game with tied in the eighth inning when Indiana committed two errors to allow three runs in the loss.

Do I have to tell you that Indiana is last in the Big Ten in fielding having committed 34 errors (11 more than Northwestern) this season? No? Didn't think so.



Georgetown 6, Iowa 1

Illinois State 10, Iowa 6

Iowa 2, Eastern Illinois 1

Iowa is playing in the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational, where they'll play seven games in seven days for their annual spring trip.

Iowa's error count in the three games they played? 4, 4, and 0. Hey, commit zero errors and win a game. How ‘bout that?

It helped that in the win over EIU that Sasha Kuebel threw eight innings, allowing seven scattered hits and one run.



LSU 6, Michigan 0

Notre Dame 2, Michigan 0

LSU 6, Michigan 4

Michigan 6, Notre Dame 5

Michigan played some tough competition at the LSU Tournament in Baton Rouge this past weekend. In the first game against the Tigers, the Wolverines could manage only two hits as LSU pitcher Kevin Gausman threw eight innings, striking out 11 with no walks. That's tough to beat.

Against the Irish, Michigan pitcher Bobby Brosnahan threw a complete game, allowing only five hits and one earned run, but Notre Dame's Will Hudgins went eight innings allowing eight hits, no runs and no walks while striking out 11.

Michigan outhit LSU 11-7 in their second game but couldn't bring enough runners home. The go-ahead run was the result of a walk on a 3-2 pitch count with the bases loaded (crappy way to lose a tight game against a ranked opponent).

The Wolverines lone win came when they scored four runs in the seventh inning to take the final game against Notre Dame.

Wolverine 2B John DiLaura is currently hitting .600 in 20 at bats, but only has one run and one RBI. OF Michael O'Neill leads the Big Ten in hits (26) and stolen bases (10-11), is second in runs (17) and third in RBIs (17). Teammate Patrick Biondi is second in stolen bases (10-14).

Michigan State


MSU 4, Baylor 0

MSU 8, Xavier 5

MSU 4, Seton Hall 3 (15 innings)

Pittsburgh 3, MSU 1

After being swept by Texas A&M the week before, Sparty won a mid-week game against #25 Baylor for their second win against a ranked opponent this season (St John's earlier).

MSU scored three runs in the seventh and two in the eighth to beat Xavier, then against Seton Hall scored four runs in the bottom of the 15th to win 4-3. The game was scoreless until the 15th, when the Pirates plated three. The teams combined for 28 hits (SH 12, MSU 16) and left 35 on base in the game that lasted five hours and 40 minutes. In the 15th, Sparty got a lead off single from 2B Ryan Jones, then three walks brought Jones home. Another single brought home two runs and another single won it. Jones went 5-for-7 in the game.

Pittsburgh's Matt Wotherspoon threw a complete game gem, striking out 13, allowing seven scattered hits and one run. In the bottom of the eighth, the Wolverines had loaded the bases with no outs, but couldn't score as the inning ended on a strike out and a double play. Darn the luck.



Minnesota 3, Hamline 2 (16 innings)

Minnesota 7, Stony Brook 1

Kansas 9, Minnesota 4

Stony Brook 5, Minnesota 4

Hamline University is a Division III school. They made the NCAA tourney last season. In Division III. Don't need to say much more than that.

And Stony Brook? The Seawolves are favored to win the America East this season, and pitcher Travis Jankowski was picked by Baseball America as a preseason first-team All-American. They don't suck.

Minnesota's 7-1 win featured the Big Ten's top pitcher, TJ Oakes, moving to 4-0 on the season while throwing 6.2 innings, allowing 10 hits with one earned run and four strikeouts. OF Andy Henkemeyer had an inside the park home run.

Kansas scored eight runs in the second inning after the Gophers had scored four in the first, the difference being that Jayhawk pitcher Frank Duncan settled down to pitch seven innings while Gopher pitcher Tom Windle only lasted 1.2 innings.

The Gophers and Seawolves were tied at 4-4 when Stony Brook scored a run in the top of the seventh, but Minnesota couldn't score in the final three frames.

Minnesota is now second in team pitching at a 3.16 ERA, but second to last in batting at .231. The Gophers have only three batters hitting over .300 (Jake Bergren .429, Dan Olinger .404, Bubby Juan .300).



Nebraska 9, Kansas State 6

Nebraska 4, UNK 1

Cal 11, Nebraska 8 (11 innings)

Nebraska 12, Cal 5

Cal 4, Nebraska 0

Nebraska 9, Cal 4

Overall it was a good week for Husker baseball. Nebraska took care of business in their mid-week games against old Big 12 foe Kansas State and in-state small college University Nebraska - Kearney.

Then came the California Golden Bears. While it remains to be seen how good the Bears are this season, it was a good series opponent for the Huskers. Friday's extra innings game had Cal jumping out early, scoring 7 runs in the first three innings. The Huskers battled back..... oh, you know what? CN now has jdhusker who is doing postgame reviews for most of the Husker games, so make it a point to read them.

Here's the thing. Nebraska is currently second in team batting in conference, behind Purdue. The Huskers are fourth in team pitching with a 3.97 ERA, and first in team fielding. Not a single Husker pitcher is in the top ranks of the conference, but the season has only just begun. Richard Stock and Michael Pritchard are two of the top hitters in the conference (HEY BIG TEN, WHAT'S WITH THIS MINIMUM 0 AB/GAME TO BE LISTED ON THAT STAT ANYWAY, THAT'S BLOODY RIDICULOUS. IT GIVES NO INDICATION AS TO WHO'S ACTUALLY BATTING WELL. NINE OF YOUR TOP BATTERS HAVE HAD LESS THAN 10 AB'S. WTF???????)



Illinois Chicago 5, NU 2

Illinois Chicago 14, NU 6

NU 11, Illinois Chicago 10

Illinois-Chicago currently has a RPI of 52. That doesn't mean much other than I'm trying to come up with an explanation of why NU would lose two games to them.

The Wildcats are currently third in the B1G in team batting at .294, but are second to last in pitching with a 5.45 ERA. They're also second to last in fielding, having committed 23 errors.

Is Northwestern usually bad at baseball? ‘Cause it looks that way.

Ohio State


OSU 17, Marist 2

Coastal Carolina 4, OSU 1

OSU 13, Toledo 1

Coastal Carolina 3, OSU 2 (12 innings)

The Buckeyes played in the Chanticleer Classic tournament at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. They crushed Marist and Toledo with big innings, as they scored seven in the fourth against Marist and eighth in the sixth against Toledo. Pitching came through in the wins as Brett McKinney threw eight innings against Marist, giving up 11 hits but only two runs while John Kuchno threw six innings against Toledo, giving up three hits.

The Chanticleer's Josh Conway threw a complete game, giving up three hits and a run, wasting a good effort by Buckeye Jaron Long, who went 7.1 innings, giving up six hits and one run. Coastal Carolina scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth as Buckeye reliever Trace Dempsey lasted only .1 inning, facing three batters and giving up three hits and three runs, all earned.

In the finale, Coastal Carolina scored three runs on eleven hits while the Buckeyes could only manage five hits against six Chanticleer pitchers.

I have yet to figure out the Buckeyes, who seem like they should be doing a little better than they are. They're sixth in conference in team batting at .267, but ninth in pitching with a 5.04 ERA. They are second in fielding right behind Nebraska, however.

Penn State


Samford 7, PSU 3

Mississippi State 7, PSU 3

Mississippi State 10, PSU 6

UAB 9, PSU 3

UAB 3, PSU 2

PSU 5, UAB 4

Penn State can't hit - last in the Big Ten at .218. They can't pitch, last in the conference with a 5.46 ERA. They're a little better at fielding, though, ranked seventh. Only one player, Jordan Steranka, is batting over .300 and only three pitchers have ERA's less than 4.00.

Is Penn State always this bad, or is this a down year? Honestly, having not followed B1G baseball, it's one of the things I still need to learn.



Purdue 5, Murray State 2

Purdue 22, Murray State 1

Purdue 13, Murray State 2

The competition wasn't as tough as the week before, but Purdue took care of business, sweeping another opponent and extending their winning streak to seven games. Your item of interest about Murray State. Their official nickname is the "Racers", but the baseball team is known as the "Breds", short for "Thoroughbred", the nickname before "Racers" was adopted in 1961. There you go, your useless trivia item of the week.

At 11-1, still the best start since 1959 (that team went to 12-1 before losing another game, so this year's team is close to being the best, historically). The season's performance has brought them notice as they're now ranked in three of the four baseball polls. Collegiate Baseball has them at #26 of 30, Baseball America has them at #24, and the NCBWA has the Boilermakers at #28 of 30.

The Boilermarkers are getting it done with offense, currently leading the conference in batting average at .373, .062 ahead of second-place Nebraska at .311. Purdue is third in pitching at a 3.80 ERA, and sixth in fielding. They lead the B1G in double plays and have allowed only 2-6 on stolen bases against them.

Saturday's 22-1 win featured a team-record 30 hits (!) and the Boilermakers did not commit an error in the three game series.

Illinois and Purdue Claim Weekly Conference Honors

Player of the Week

Stephen Talbott, Purdue

OF - Jr. - Freehold, N.J. - Freehold Township

  • Hit .588 and combined for an OPS of 1.647 as Purdue swept a three-game series against Murray State to improve to 11-1 on the season
  • Recorded multiple hits in each game, including two four-hit performances
  • Four of his eight hits went for extra bases, as he slugged a double, two triples and a home run over the weekend
  • Scored five runs, including at least one in each game, and drove in five during the series
  • Earns his first career Player of the Week award
  • Last Purdue Player of the Week: Eric Charles (Feb. 27, 2012)

Pitcher of the Week

Kevin Johnson, Illinois

RHP - Jr. - Midlothian, Ill. - Mount Carmel

  • Tossed his third career complete game lead Illinois to a win over No. 18 Oregon at the Nike College Showcase
  • Struck out a season-high five batters, allowing just one run on four hits and a walk
  • Held the Ducks to a .133 average in the game, allowing just one runner past second base and throwing almost 70 percent of his pitches for strikes
  • Earns his first career weekly honor
  • Last Illinois Pitcher of the Week: Will Strack (March 30, 2009)

Freshman of the Week

John Kravetz, Illinois

RHP - Lansing, Ill. - Mount Carmel

  • Earned the win in Illinois' 5-1 victory over Connecticut at the Nike College Showcase, allowing just one run in 7.2 innings of work
  • Tied his career high with six strikeouts, scattering seven hits and a walk
  • Ranks among the Big Ten's top 10 with a 1.90 ERA and a .224 opponents' batting average this season
  • Collects his second honor of the season
  • Last Illinois Freshman of the Week: John Kravetz (Feb. 20, 2012)