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Big Ten Baseball Weekend Preview!

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The race for the Big Ten regular season title is coming to an exciting finish the next two weekends.

Big out of conference series for the Gophers this week

THE RANKINGS

D1Baseball.com ranks Michigan at #16.

NCBWA ranks Michigan at #20, despite the Wolverines being tied for fourth with Iowa in the Big Ten right now.

Baseball America ranks two Big Ten teams – Michigan at #21, and Nebraska at #25.

USA Today Coaches Poll has Michigan at #17.

RPIs

Big Ten Baseball RPIs - May 11, 2017

Team RPI Last Week
Team RPI Last Week
Indiana 23 25
Maryland 25 20
Michigan 36 31
Nebraska 41 44
Minnesota 73 85
Iowa 88 102
Michigan State 90 82
Rutgers 96 84
Purdue 116 94
Illinois 120 134
Ohio State 156 157
Penn State 221 213
Northwestern 226 240

NCAA Tournament Projection

Baseball America projected NCAA Baseball Tournament has four Big Ten teams in:

  • Michigan as a #2 seed in the Lexington, Kentucky regional
  • Maryland as a #2 seed in Charlottesville, VA
  • Indiana as a #3 seed in Hattiesburg, MS
  • Nebraska as a #2 seed in Palo Alto, CA

Series

These are going to be very abbreviated this week as I ran out of time, honestly. There’s a fair amount of copying and pasting from team notes... which is soooo much different than re-writing of team notes, which is was is typically done when covering sports.

Michigan State at Nebraska

Look at those standings. Nebraska is in first place, and controls their own destiny with regards to a regular season Big Ten baseball title. There can be a co-champion if records are equal, but there’s that damned tricky tie against Indiana sticking out there for the Huskers.

Good news - Nebraska owns tie breakers against Maryland, Minnesota, and Indiana.

Michigan State comes into the weekend battling for the last spot in the Big Ten tournament, tied with Northwestern of all teams.

Northwestern at Maryland

Here’s what you need to know about this series:

The Wildcats are looking to make postseason play for the first time since 2010.

The Terps are 19-1 at home this season with their only defeat coming in the form of a 6-2 decision to Michigan on March 26.

This is Maryland’s last Big Ten conference series this season.

Michigan At Purdue

One victory this weekend for the home side would assure Purdue of its first winning record at home since 2012. That season was also the last time the Boilermakers scored a victory against a nationally ranked opponent, rallying for a comeback win at UCLA. The Wolverines have been ranked for much of the season after opening the year 7-2 and 16-4. Michigan’s 36 wins are tops in the Big Ten. However, seven of U-M’s 12 losses have come in league play.

It’s still odd that Michigan has been the Big Ten team ranked all season, but they’re just mostly above average. Although....

Along with win percentage, Michigan currently leads the Big Ten in numerous statistical categories, including areas of pitching, hitting, and defense. Offensively, the Wolverines rank tied for second in the Big Ten in batting average (.289) while leading Big Ten opponents in on-base percentage (.389), runs scored (328), RBI (294), walks (230) and stolen bases (103). The Michigan pitching staff also has the lowest ERA in the Big Ten (3.25) while leading the conference batters struck out (455), and opponent batting average (.224). Additionally, the Wolverine defense is the best in the Big Ten with a .984 fielding percentage.

Hmmmmm..... we’ll see how they fair against Purdue.

WEEKEND PROMOTIONS

  • Friday: Third & final set of Purdue baseball cards (first 500 fans); $2 domestic draft beers
  • Saturday: Fan appreciation night; leftover promotional giveaway items available to all fans
  • Sunday: Senior Day; first 500 fans receive 1980s-era Purdue Pete bobblehead

Illinois at Rutgers

Rutgers baseball starts a stretch of eight Big Ten games in nine days to close the regular season with a three-game series against Illinois at Bainton Field.

Remember that Rutgers will travel to Minnesota to make up two of the three games series mid week.

Illinois (21-24, 7-11 Big Ten) needs to make up one game of ground on Northwestern and two on Michigan State over the season's last six Big Ten games in order to have a chance to qualify for the conference tournament.

Ohio State at Iowa

I’d like to see Ohio State take this series. I mean, Iowa, right?

The Buckeyes chances at making the Big Ten tournament are on life support at this moment, if not completely gone, but it’d be nice to see Iowa knocked back down a bit in the standings.

Penn State at Indiana

Let’s just say Indiana should sweep this series and leave it at that. Look at where Indiana is in the conference standings and their RPI, then realize that they’re probably a lock for the NCAA tournament at this point.

Long Beach State at Minnesota

The Dirtbags are highly ranked and headed into Gopher territory. It’d be a nice win overall for the conference if Minnesota could take this series!

The Dirtbags are ranked No. 10 by D1Baseball.com and are 30-15-1 overall.

Minnesota has a .297 team batting average and is led by Jordan Kozicky's .357 batting average, which is second highest in the conference. The Gophers have a 4.01 team ERA while Lucas Gilbreath leads all starting pitchers with a 2.30 ERA and 74 strikeouts. The lefty is also 5-0 this season and his ERA is third lowest in the Big Ten while opponents have a .167 batting average against versus him. Brian Glowicki has recorded 15 saves (most in the NCAA) in 23 appearances and has posted a 2.16 ERA and 30 strikeouts.

More....

Long Beach State has a .277 team batting average and are led by Ramsey Romano who has a .346 average. Romano also leads the team with 32 RBIs while Lucas Tancas leads with eight home runs. Jaren Duran leads the Dirtbags with 14 stolen bases.

Good luck to Minnesota, actually...