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Big Ten Baseball Weekend Preview

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There’s a lot going on this weekend in the Big Ten conference.

Brent Fields

I don’t really want to look at this any more than you do, but it’s time to check in on the overall standings in baseball in our beloved Big Ten Conference. If nothing else, you can be more disgusted about how we’re doing, and everyone likes to be angry about something.

Michigan is on a tear. 20 straight wins. Remember that they started the season 4-11. Where they will end up is anybody’s guess, but if you are a college baseball fan, at least it’s something to stay interested in with regards to Big Ten baseball.

There are some interesting series this weekend. Bottom dwellers Northwestern and Penn State play each other which means that other conference teams that are good are fighting for spots and standings in the post-season conference tournament.

Standings

Rankings

  • D1Baseball - #15 Indiana, #21 Minnesota
  • NCBWA - #15 Indiana, #27 Minnesota
  • Baseball America - #18 Indiana, #23 Minnesota
  • USA Today Coaches Poll - #16 Indiana

Schedule

Michigan at Iowa

Michigan has won 20 straight games, but you’ll notice that their RPI is still only 50 and they remain unranked. They travel to Iowa this weekend - wonder if the Hawkeyes can break their streak. BHGP previews the series.

Minnesota at Ohio State

Interesting series. The Gophers have battled their way into the rankings. They are atop the conference team batting with a .304 average, lead the conference in on base percentage at .400, are second in runs scored (269), and are third in team ERA with at 3.50.

Ohio State would love this series to boost themselves higher in conference standings AND increase their NCAA tourney chances. The Buckeyes are close to Minnesota in offense - second in team hitting at .293, first in runs scored (272), hits (392), RBI (248), and they are fourth in team ERA at 3.63.

Illinois at Indiana

Illinois has run into a bit of a rough spot the past few weeks. They’ve lost four of their last five, including dropping a series to Grand Canyon (who?) last weekend, and mid-week losses to Valparaiso (although Valpo doesn’t suck) and Bradley.

Indiana remains ranked in every poll. They have the top RPI in conference. Why is Indiana ranked?

• The IU pitching staff leads the nation in ERA (2.45), is first in the Big Ten in shutouts (7, 3rd nationally), WHIP (1.22, 15th), walks per nine innings (3.10, 19th), and strikeout to walk ratio (2.53, 41st), and is third in hits per nine innings (7.9, 40th) and opponent average (.237).

• Offensively, Indiana is first in the Big Ten in slugging percentage (.454, 25th nationally), doubles (76) and total bases (.591), is second in home runs (40, 34th), on base percentage (.393, 37th), and hit by pitch (52), and is third in batting average (.291, 44th), hits (379), runs (253) and sacrifice flies (19).

ChampaignRoom previews the series.

Rutgers at Purdue

Get this - Purdue has yet to win a conference home game this season. They are 0-6 at home.

And check this, from notes:

Rutgers is enjoying its finest season since joining the Big Ten for the 2014-15 school year. The Scarlet Knights have already surpassed last year’s win total (19) and are chasing their first winning season since 2014. They’re also looking to qualify for the Big Ten Tournament for the first time. Since 2015, Penn State is the only other conference school that has not qualified for the eight-team field at least once.

Nevada at Nebraska

This series has already started with Nebraska taking last night’s game 9-5. If there is one bright spot for the Huskers this season, it’s Scott Schreiber. Check this from team notes:

  • Team-high .391 batting average:
  • fourth in the Big Ten and 28th in the nation
  • Team-high 63 hits: first in the Big Ten and 18th in the nation
  • Team-high 44 runs scored: second in the Big Ten and 25th in the nation
  • Team-high 11 doubles: tied for fifth in the Big Ten
  • Team-high 14 home runs: second in the Big Ten and sixth in the nation
  • Team-high 118 total bases: second in the Big Ten and fifth in the nation
  • Team-high .733 slugging percentage: ninth in the nation

Nebraska has three conference series left - against Maryland, Indiana, and Illinois. That’s not exactly the easiest way to finish the season. Dang.

Maryland at Michigan State

The Terps sit at 3-8 in conference. I’m surprised at that, but, hey, Nebraska is down there too and sometimes that’s just the way things go. As it sits right now, the Spartans would make the Big Ten tournament. I find that rather surprising, but.. well, I guess there are other bad teams in the conference. Note that they are one spot ahead of Iowa.

Northwestern at Penn State

Here’s a series that’s sure to have a ton of attendance.

RPIs

Big Ten Baseball RPIs for April 27th

Team RPI
Team RPI
Indiana 27
Ohio State 39
Minnesota 40
Iowa 47
Michigan 50
Illinois 57
Purdue 68
Maryland 109
Nebraska 119
Rutgers 148
Michigan State 198
Penn State 201
Northwestern 235