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Big Ten Baseball Weekend Preview

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Another exciting weekend of college baseball action!

Brent Fields

Things are looking rather tough this season for your favorite team... unless your favorite Big Ten team is Illinois or Indiana, both of whom are looking pretty decent so far this season.

Standings

Rankings

  • D1Baseball - Indiana #11, Illinois #25
  • NCBWA - Indiana #15, Illinois #25
  • Baseball America - Indiana #19, Illinois #24
  • USA Today Coaches Poll - Indiana #16

Baseball Schedule

Nebraska at Ohio State

Nebraska lost its opening series to Minnesota last weekend, 1-2. Ohio State lost a game to Georgetown in a series last weekend, but destroyed Toledo midweek, 19-4, to win nine of their last 10 games. Good news is that the Buckeyes are dead last in fielding, having committed 41 errors so far this season.

We knew this would be a rough season when pitchers started dropping. Unfortunately, the offense hasn’t made up much for that with the Huskers batting eighth in conference with a team batting average of .260.

Nebraska needs to find something. They don’t want to come out of this weekend against a hot Buckeye team fighting an uphill battle to stay relevant in conference.

Iowa at Illinois

Iowa split a pair of games last week with Indiana. The third game in the series was canceled due to weather. Illinois swept Northwestern last weekend, and has won 15 of their 17 last games.

Iowa has used the same starting weekend rotation in each of the frst six weeks of the season. The trio of Nick Allgeyer, Brady Schanuel, and Cole McDonald are a combined 7-5 with a 2.67 ERA with 85 strikeouts in 91 innings.

Bren Spillane is leading the Illini and the Big Ten in nearly every offensive category. He has been one of the hottest hitters in the nation so far in 2018, leading the nation in slugging percentage (1.077) and ranking second in batting average (.474), second in OPS (1.625), fourth in homers (11), fourth in on-base percentage (.548), seventh in doubles (12) and 11th in RBIs (33).

Interesting series.

Rutgers at Michigan State

Sparty isn’t doing well at baseball. They are on a six-game losing streak. They are last in the conference in fielding at .956, having committed 40 errors.

Rutgers is on a seven-game losing streak to Sparty. Their last victory against Michigan State came on March 19, 1985. You can bet the Scarlet Knights will get a victory this weekend, maybe even a sweep as Michigan State is struggling mightily.

Purdue at Penn State

Penn State is last in the Big Ten with a .230 team batting average and doesn’t bunt much either, recording just five sacrifices in 19 games. Ryan Sloniger (.329) is PSU’s lone regular batting over .300. He also leads the way with 10 extra-base hits and 19 RBI.

Northwestern at Maryland

The Wildcats are dead last in the conference in pitching, with a team ERA of 5.83. They are 10th in batting, with a team average of .235. They’re also 10th in fielding at .963.

Maryland is at least good at fielding - at third in conference at .972. Otherwise, they are 11th in batting at .232, and 11th in pitching at 5.26.

Northwestern could lose this series and find themselves in quite a hole to start the conference season.

Butler at Indiana

Offensively, Indiana is second in the Big Ten in home runs (23) and slugging percentage (.446), fourth in on base percentage (.374) and doubles (44), and fifth in batting average (.278) and total bases (322).

The IU pitching staff is first in the Big Ten in ERA (2.77), runs allowed (72), earned runs allowed (60) and fewest walks (63).

Butler comes in at 15-4 with a RPI of 110. They’ve mostly feasted on teams at the lower end of the spectrum.

St. John’s (NY) at Minnesota

St. John’s has already taken game one of this series last night, 11-5. As of today, St. John’s has a RPI of 70.

The Gophers lead the conference in team batting (.299) and are second in team pitching (3.64). They’re also second in fielding at .978.

Delaware at Michigan

Michigan swept Michigan State last weekend.

Delaware is 13-9 and comes into Michigan with a RPI of 259. They’ve already beaten Maryland twice in mid-week games this season, and they made the NCAA tournament last season.

The Wolverines are on a nine-game win streak after dropping its home opener to Lawrence Tech (March 14). Since March 15, the Wolverines as a team hit for a .317 batting average and out-scored their opponents 74-35. Michigan has also compiled a .448 slugging percentage and .420 on-base percentage during that period, with 20 doubles and six home runs. From the mound, the Wolverine pitching staff has posted a 2.89 earned-run average with 69 strikeouts.

RPIs

Nebraska, Ohio State take significant falls since last week, while Iowa jumps.

Big Ten Baseball RPI - March 30

Team RPI
Team RPI
Illinois 32
Indiana 35
Ohio State 44
Maryland 48
Minnesota 59
Iowa 66
Nebraska 95
Rutgers 103
Purdue 107
Michigan 115
Penn State 214
Northwestern 218