Hey, lookie what’s going on this week!
Michigan AND Maryland are ranked in the Top 25. D1Baseball.com has Michigan at #18 and Maryland at #24. NCBWA - Michigan at #19, Maryland at #28, Baseball America has Maryland at #25, and the USA Today Coaches Poll isn’t ranking anyone in the Big Ten.
Rutgers at Minnesota
The Gophers are already at 6-0 in conference, with sweeps over Ohio State and Michigan State on the road - expect them to be 9-0 or 8-1 at worse at the end of the weekend... although news now is that the Friday game has been cancelled due to weather and Rutgers’ flight being cancelled.
The Gophers are on a 10-game winning streak. They’re at fourth in conference in team batting at .282, and second in fielding at .981, having committed only 20 errors so far this season.
Rutgers is... well, rutger. The good news for the Scarlet Knights is that Mike Carter leads the conference in batting average at .382 and hits with 42. Other than that... Rutgers is dead last in conference in pitching (6.47 ERA) and fielding (.952, 50 errors).
Maryland at Nebraska
YUUUUUGEEE Series! As stated previously, Maryland comes into Nebraska as a ranked team. Here’s Keith’s series preview.
I did a Facebook live video where I spent ample time talking about Nebraska baseball. I need to get better at these, I know.
Illinois at Michigan
As stated above, Michigan is ranked and Illinois is not good. Michigan is second in conference in team batting average at .290, first in team pitching with a 3.07 ERA, and first in team fielding at .982, having committed only 19 errors so far this season. Illinois is second to last in team pitching at 6.20 ERA. What do you think this series will look like?
Check this out:
Michigan's offense has been dominant as of late, with the Wolverines out-scoring their opponents 68 runs to 16 over the last six games and 208 runs to 102 so far this season. Sophomore Jonathan Engelmann currently leads the team with a .338 batting average, while sophomore Nick Poirier boasts a .329 average.
Indiana at Purdue
Another interesting series for Purdue. One of these teams is gonna go up, and the other is gonna go down. How’s that for a Captain Obvious statement?
It continues to be interesting to see how far Purdue can go, while Indiana fights to stay above that “middle of the pack” group.
Offensively, Indiana is second in the Big Ten in home runs (29), fourth in slugging percentage (.415), hits (256), triples (7) and total bases (407), fifth in RBI (143) and doubles (50), and sixth in runs (152).
It’s rather surprising that Nebraska shut that offense down last weekend.
Ohio State at Penn State
One wonders what will happen at Ohio State should they not make the Big Ten tournament this season. Would Greg Beals be out? I don’t know, but it’s amazing this is where the Buckeyes are at right now. Good thing Penn State baseball is here to bail them out!
I would hope that the Buckeyes, for their sake, would take this series, but it wouldn’t shock me to see Penn State win it. The Buckeyes are second to last in conference in team batting (.238) and in team fielding (.961). They have committed 41 errors so far this season, and turned only 13 double plays, which is tied with rutger.
Iowa at Northwestern
I don’t care. Ok, that’s not entirely fair to Iowa. They’re not that bad, and given they play Northwestern this weekend, they could easily end up at 5-1 and at the top of the Big Ten standings after it’s over.
Iowa is getting it done with offense. The Hawkeyes are third in conference in team batting average at .282 (tied with Minnesota), third in team fielding (.979), but seventh in pitching with a 4.15 ERA.
From Northwestern notes:
Three Hawkeyes rank in the top-10 in the conference for individual batting. Robert Neustrom ranks second in the league with 41 hits and third with a .282 batting average, while teammates Ben Norman (.344) and Jake Adams (.340) have the eighth and 10th best averages.
Fresno State at Michigan State
This series had to be moved to Grand Rapids, MI. The weather. It’s always something with the weather in Big Ten baseball, which makes it so schizophrenic.
Michigan State is 15-10 on the season, having lost its last five outings, including four of those five losses by one run. Fresno State comes in at 16-12 overall and is 6-6 in Mountain West Conference so far.
The Spartans lead the conference in batting average at .294, are third in team pitching with a 3.38 ERA, and are eighth in fielding (.965). They seemed on the verge of great things until being swept by Minnesota last weekend. We’ll see how they fare against the Bulldogs.