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Big Ten Baseball Weekend Preview!

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Minnesota vs Nebraska, Maryland vs Michigan State are the BIG series this weekend!

Baseball Background Jon Johnston

Michigan remains the only Big Ten team ranked, and they are ranked in every poll. D1Baseball.com has them the highest at #13.

RPIs

  • Michigan 24
  • Maryland 33
  • Indiana 40
  • Minnesota 48
  • Nebraska 50
  • Michigan State 70
  • Iowa 83
  • Rutgers 111
  • Purdue 112
  • Illinois 148
  • Ohio State 153
  • Penn State 189
  • Northwestern 257

Nebraska at Minnesota

Biggest series of the weekend. Nebraska is getting down to the point that they can't lose another series and still make the NCAA tournament without having to pull off some type of rally in the Big Ten tournament. Notice the RPIs and where everyone is - the NCAA isn't going to take five Big Ten teams, so the Huskers need to get their butts in gear.

Both teams have some serious pitching prowess. Nebraska’s Jakes - Hohensee and Meyers are in the top of the conference, as is Lucas Gilbreath from Minnesota. Lucas Gilbreath leads all starting pitchers with a 2.28 ERA (third lowest in the conference) along with a 4-0 record and 50 strikeouts in 43.1 innings pitched. His 50 strikeouts are sixth most in the Big Ten. Brian Glowicki leads the Big Ten with 12 saves and boasts a 0.44 ERA with 24 strikeouts.

Where Nebraska is lacking is in offensive firepower. Minnesota is second in team batting at .292, Nebraska is down the list at seventh at .269. Minnesota is second in team fielding at .983, while Nebraska is an uncharacteristic sixth at .976.

Minnesota

Michigan State at Maryland

The Spartans make their first-ever trip to Maryland this weekend, where they’re in even a worse spot than Nebraska. They need to take this series on the road, or they’ll need to make a big splash in the Big Ten tournament.

Michigan State is third in the Big Ten in team batting (.289), fourth in pitching (3.71), and eighth in fielding (.968). Maryland is fifth (.276), third (3.63), and 10th (.965), respectively.

This series will feature four of the Big Ten’s top pitchers. Spartan Alex Troop leads the Big Ten in ERA (1.50), while Brian Shaffer is right behind at 1.83. Shaffer leads the conference in strike outs at 67, while Troop is fourth at 53. Add to these two MSU’s Walter Borkovich (2.31 ERA), and Tyler Blohm (2.76), and you might have a fascinating series.

Indiana at Michigan

The Hoosiers surprisingly won their series against Minnesota last weekend, and now they get the chance to knock off the best team in the conference. Make no mistake about that - despite the Wolverines being in third... they are ranked first in team batting (.299), team pitching (3.04 ERA) and team fielding (.984). Include also on-base percentage (.402), runs scored 68), hits (376), RBI (241), walks (191) and stolen bases (87).

The Wolverines are off to their best start since the 2008 season.

The Hoosiers currently lead the Big Ten in homers with 40 and are led individually by sophomore infielder Matt Lloyd, who boasts a team-leading .327 batting average, 27 RBI and 16 walks. Along with being tops in homers, the Hoosiers are fifth in slugging percentage (.417), RBI (188), and sixth in runs (198). In conference games only, IU is first in runs (73), hits (119), home runs (19) and RBI (72), second in doubles (22) and walks (41), fourth in slugging percentage (.469) and total bases (198) and sixth in batting average (.282).

Illinois at Purdue

It’s a fight to see who will stay out of the bottom of the conference. Remember that only the top eight teams in conference make the Big Ten tournament.

Both teams are in the lower half on the conference in team statistics. Illinois is eighth in team batting at .262, Purdue is two spots below at .261. Purdue is ninth in team pitching (5.52), Illinois is second to last (6.13). Illinois is seventh in team fielding (.973), while Purdue is tenth (.963).

Check this from Purdue’s notes:

The Boilermakers are 7-2 on Fridays, suffering their only losses at Cal State Northridge (March 10) and Ohio State (March 31). With a 1-7 record on Sundays, those Friday wins have also helped Purdue avoid being swept in a series so far this year.


WEEKEND PROMOTIONS

  • Friday: Greek Life challenges and meet Purdue Grand Prix drivers
  • Saturday: Alumni Night; Free 2012 Big Ten champions mini-pennant for first 500 fans
  • Sunday: PUDM and Riley Family Day; $12 family four-pack ticket special

Rutgers at Iowa

It’s the first trip ever for Rutgers to Iowa. You wonder what those Jersey boys will think when they hit that midwest hog manure smell for the first time.

Hey! Rutgers won its last series against Purdue, and those damned Iowegians beat Nebraska last week.

Rutgers has a really bright spot in Mike Carter, who leads the conference in batting. Here, from their notes:

Overall, Carter ranks No. 27 nationally and leads the Big Ten with a .397 batting average. He also enters the weekend tied for first in the league with 54 hits, third with a .465 on-base percentage, tied for fourth with 11 doubles, sixth with a .559 slugging percentage and tied for 12th with 29 runs scored. Seeing time at designated hitter, first base and left field, Carter has reached base in 32-of-34 games and is closing in on 200 career hits at 192.

Were that Nebraska had that guy to shore up their offense.

The Hawkeyes are 19th nationally with a .979 team fielding percentage. Iowa has turned 36 double plays this season to rank 26th nationally.

WEEKEND PROMOTIONS

  • • Free #Hellerball T-shirts will be distributed to the first 200 fans on Friday
  • • Fans can enter to win an Iowa Price Pack on Saturday; it's also "Have a Catch Saturday' where adults and children can play catch in the outfield for 30 minutes at the conclusion of the game.
  • • Fans can enter to win an Iowa Prize Pack on Sunday; it's also "Sunday Runday" where children can run the bases following the game.

Northwestern at Penn State

Northwestern has the chance to put their foot on Penn State's head and drive it into the very deep bottom of the conference. That’s all I’m going to say about this series.

UNC Greensboro @ Ohio State

First-ever trip for UNC Greensboro to Columbus, and only the second meeting ever in the 27-year history of UNCG Baseball. UNCG enters this weekend at 22-14 on the season. Ohio State enters the weekend 15-22. Both teams dropped their last matchups. UNCG has lost four of their last five, while Ohio State have lost five of their last six.

Wow, Ohio State.