Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Longhorns Still # 1

The Rosenblatt Report has selected Texas as its pre-season # 1. The defending champions appear ready to sweep the initial polls.

Kunkel, Hilligoss Earn All-America Selection

Michigan catcher Jeff Kunkel and Purdue shortstop Mitch Hilligoss were selected to Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's pre-season All-America Team. Kunkel (.384/.462/.516) was named to the second team while Hilligoss, the Big Ten's batting average (.404) and hits (92) leader in 2005, garnered third team recognition.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Holidays

I want to thank all of you who stop in and wish you and yours a happy and safe holiday season.

Texas Tops Poll

Defending national champion, Texas tops Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's initial college baseball poll. The Longhorns are followed by Florida, Oregon State, Nebraska and Rice. No Big Ten school claimed a spot in the Top 40. Ohio State was the only squad from the conference that received votes in the pre-season poll.

While I am discouraged to see only the Buckeyes get any pre-season love from the voters, I was happy to see the Beavers (ranked third) and Notre Dame (#22), two programs in less than ideal climates, make the top 40. In addition, it was very good to see both Central Michigan and Maine on the list of others getting votes. Clearly, I am hoping the cold weather schools can improve on their rankings, or lack thereof, as the season progresses.

Monday, December 12, 2005

OPS: '05 And '06

As some of you might be aware, during the season I try to tabulate OPS numbers for the Big Ten. I attempt to give you a list of those players managing to stay above 1.000. As my blogging declined as the season progressed, I never got a final look at the leaders. However, I've recently had the chance to glance through the 2005 stats and here's what I've come up with.

According to my math, and please feel free to correct me, five Big Ten hitters finished above 1.000 in OPS this past season. Drew Davidson of Illinois was first at 1.041. Pat McMahon, Northwestern's catcher, came in second at 1.028. Steve Caravati of Ohio State, who missed a good portion of the campaign, jumped all the way up to third at 1.026. After the Buckeye star was Dusty Bensko, another Illini member, at 1.023. Yet another member of Illinois' baseball squad rounded out the top five. Catcher Chris Robinson came in at 1.011. (Note to my Detroit readers: Robinson is in the Tigers system now.)

I've also begun a very cursory search of returning leaders. In checking on the Wallace Award nominees out of the Big Ten, McMahon has the highest OPS mark. Jeff Kunkel, Michigan's backstop, would be second at .978. Purdue's Mitch Hilligoss had a very good .964 OPS in '05. Matt Lewis, Penn State, was above 1.000 for much of last year, but finished at .907. Finally, Michigan State's Troy Krider had an .882 OPS.

National Recruiting News

Baseball America has this list of the top 100 high schoolers and where they have committed to play their collegiate ball. To this point, unfortunately, not a single one has opted for a Big Ten institution. In fact, not one of the top 100 players in the land have committed to a school in a cold weather state.

I wonder why some of the financial powerhouse institutions--like Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State--don't put more heat on the NCAA to correct this glaring inequity? We can debate the success of such equality programs as Title IX, but shouldn't this geographic bias stop, as well? I have a difficult time believing that Michigan, OSU and PSU wouldn't be more successful in the recruiting wars if they were being played on a level surface.

I'll save more whining about this subject for a later post. I know you are looking forward to it.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Wallace Award Watch List

The College Baseball Foundation has released its 2006 Brooks Wallace Award watchlist. A number of Big Ten players have made the pre-season list for the Wallace Award, given annually to the top player in college baseball. Jeff Kunkel, Michigan (C), Matt Lewis, Penn State (OF), Pat McMahon, Northwestern (C), Troy Krider, Michigan State (DH/ATH), Brian Blomquist, Illinois (P), Mitch Hilligoss, Purdue (SS), John Gaub, Minnesota (P) and Cory Luebke, Ohio State (P) all garnered nominations.

College Baseball Video Game

Much to my surprise, I stumbled across this article on the 2006 release of a college baseball video game. (Thanks to the Rosenblatt Report and Section B, Florida State's fan site.) EA Sports, a big name in the industry, is behind the project. I'm confident that the game will have some shortcomings, as it's an initial effort, however I am encouraged to see college baseball get more recognition.

Update: Here is press release about the game.

Friday, November 18, 2005

More 2006 Schedules Announced

Michigan State and Illinois have released their 2006 baseball schedules. The '06 season will be the first for head coaches David Grewe with the Spartans and Dan Hartleb at Illinois.

Recruiting News

Here are some press releases about the latest recruiting class at the respective university: Michigan, Michigan State, Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota.

Courtney Linehan, of the Daily Illini, offers this overview of Illinois recruiting class.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Michigan Names Captains

The University of Michigan baseball team announced it's 2006 captains. Click here to see the press release naming seniors Paul Hammond, Drew Taylor, Jeff Kunkel and A.J. Scheidt captains.

MSU Extends Olds Park Deal Thru 2010

Good news for Spartan baseball. Well, it's good news from my prespective anyway. Michigan State University and the city of Lansing have extended their agreement for the Spartans to play in Oldsmobile Park through the 2010 season.

This is the kind of deal struggling cold weather climate schools need. It's nearly impossible for a northern institution to build this type of facility for baseball, nor could they justify it at many schools, as baseball isn't a revenue producer. However, making this kind of arrangement with the local minor league franchise creates an opportunity for all.

The city gets more use out of their investment and the university's baseball squad plays in a tremendous park which almost has to help recruiting to some degree. Better recruits translates into better teams, which translates into better attendance, which creates more revenue, which makes me sound like President Reagan talking about "Trickle Down Economics", but you get the idea.

Friday, October 21, 2005

2006 Schedules

Three schools have already posted their 2006 schedules. Northwestern, Ohio State and Purdue are looking ahead to the upcoming season. The links are to each university's press release.

Big 10 Draft Results

Courtesy of the Big Ten's official site, here are the conference's players that were selected in the Major League draft.

Future CWS Dates

Got any plans to visit Omaha? Here is a list of future College World Series dates.

The CWS is still high on my list of "Things To Do". I've knocked off attending an All-Star Game and visiting the Hall of Fame, again. I doubt '06 is possible, but I had doubts about the ASG and HOF, too. You just never know.

I.U. Provides Hurricane Relief

The Hoosiers' baseball squad lent a hand to Hurricane Katrina victims.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Michigan vs. Notre Dame

I saw the last several innings of the Michigan vs. Notre Dame contest on Comcast Local last night. Michigan prevailed, 7-6. The Wolverines are going to end up with a pretty good RPI number, in light of wins against North Carolina, Georgia and Notre Dame, but if they don't win the conference tourney, they are staying home.

It was great to see yet another college baseball game on television this year. My thanks to the NHL for the lockout which has given ESPN and others time to broadcast more college baseball.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Long Overdue Post

Okay, I've been missing. Well, more like Jennifer Wilbanks, I wasn't really missing, but you didn't know where I was. Just as in the case of the runaway bride, I'm fine, but didn't have much to say. Honestly, it's difficult to produce, or find someone else producing, information on Big Ten Baseball, so I didn't have much to boost the site with. However, I am obviously back and it's time to play catch-up.

Not much has changed since my attention was distracted from this site. Illinois still sits atop the conference standings. According to Boyd Nation, the college baseball stat guru, the Illini have a pseudo-RPI ranking of fifty-two. Not surprisingly, that's the highest number amongst B-10 teams. Of course, the Illini can't get any love from the nation's Top 25 poll voters.

What is surprising about Nation's rankings is that Michigan, with a sub-.500 conference record, is the second highest seed in the Big Ten. Those early non-conference wins versus North Carolina and Georgia have certainly helped Michigan's RPI, pseudo as it may be. However, I still believe that the Wolverines will need to win the conference tournament to get into the regionals.

Minnesota remains in second place in the Big Ten, but is joined there by Iowa. The Gophers have a lowly pseudo-RPI mark of 129, while Iowa chimes in at 155. Like Michigan, the only way the Gophers or Hawkeyes advance to the NCAA's is to win the Big Ten Tourney.

The only way for the Big Ten to land more than one team into the Regionals is to have Illinois capture the regular season title convincingly and have another team win the conference tournament and automatic berth that comes along with that honor.

Of course, the downside of that is that the rest of the country will not be happy to see a bubble school from a power conference get left out because a Big Ten upstart, with an RPI in the 100's, crashes the party by winning the conference tournament. I say "Tough", but I can see the argument against having such low seeds make the regionals.

For those of you who have had sleepless nights awaiting my Big Ten OPS report, here it is. Seven conference players have managed to keep an OPS above 1.000. Dusty Bensko of Illinois has an OPS of 1.084. Indiana's Zach Boswell follows at 1.049. Third belongs to Pat McMahon, who I don't think has spent a single week off this list. The NU catcher is at 1.044. Jeff Kunkel of Michigan makes his first appearance in the club at 1.028. Kunkel's teammate, Matt Butler is next at 1.013. Jay Brant, Indiana, is in sixth place at 1.009. Michigan State's Ryan Basham closes out the field at 1.006.

This weekend's conference schedule looks like this. The first place Illini host Northwestern. Purdue visits Michigan. Ohio State is at Penn State. Indiana plays host to Michigan State. The big tilt is in Iowa City where the Hawkeyes host Minnesota with second place in the conference at stake.

Here are some links to prepare for your college baseball weekend. Yahoo! provides three links to Big Ten school newspaper reports from Indiana, Minnesota and Illinois. Will Kimmey's Weekend Preview is here. If you scroll way down, you can find a tidbit on ex-Gopher Glen Perkins here. Boyd Nation's weekly feature, Breadcrumbs Back To Omaha is here.

Enjoy the weekend.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

TV Time

While watching this evening's contest between Tulane and LSU, I learned that the first night game in the history of Michigan's Ray Fisher Stadium is going to be televised by ESPN. Friday night's game between the Wolverines and arch-rival Ohio State is being covered by ESPNU and broadcast on ESPN. The national television coverage has pushed the start time back to 7:00pm. Here is the Michigan press release.

ESPN is already running promos for the game on their "Bottom Line" feature at ESPN2. I know the university was hoping for a record crowd and they are pre-selling tickets at their website. I encourage all Michigan, Ohio State and baseball fans to attend. (I, unfortunately, had to cancel my plans on attending due to a surprise party.)

It's great to see college baseball make a return to ESPN and cable television in general. It's even better to see the Big Ten get some airtime. Hopefully, the schools will put on a good show.

Gassner Gets Win

Former Purdue standout Dave Gassner posted a win in his big league debut Saturday. The lefthander helped the Minnesota Twins defeated the Cleveland Indians, 6-4. Here is the game story from the Twins' website. Here is the boxscore.

Gassner is a BTH favorite and we congratulate him on his first win in The Show. We hope he has many, many more.

And Then There Were Six

The number of Big Ten regulars with an OPS of 1.000 or higher is now six. Illinois' Dusty Bensko maintains the top spot at 1.190. Zach Boswell of Indiana follows at 1.111. Third is Boswell's teammate, Jay Brant at 1.084. Pat McMahon, Northwestern, is next at 1.063. Drew Davidson, Bensko's Illini teammate, is fifth at 1.050. Matt Butler of Michigan holds down the final spot at 1.005.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Friday Recap

Illinois 4 Michigan 3
Iowa 6 Indiana 0
Michigan State 2 Ohio State 0
Penn State 13 Minnesota 5

Tim Day (MSU) and Luke O'Loughlin (Iowa) were the pitching stars Friday. Day shutout the Buckeyes and O'Loughlin shutdown a potent Hoosier lineup. Day, a redshirt junior, hurled a complete game allowing eight hits. Hawkeyes' righthander O'Loughlin pitched eight scoreless innings walking only two. IU managed just five hits in those eight frames. Iowa is tied for third in conference play at 6-3.

Illinois rallied behind an eighth inning bases loaded single from Chris Robinson to beat Michigan in front of the Illini's biggest crowd since 1998. The Illini (8-1) are now alone in first place as Penn State (6-3) pounded Minnesota (7-2) ace Matt Loberg. The Nittany Lions banged out twenty hits and inched closer to the top of the Big Ten themselves.

I continued to be surprised. I never would have imagined OSU getting blanked on a Friday night at home versus MSU. Nor did I envision Iowa keeping pace with Indiana's bats. Penn State's victory only avoids the surprising tag because I cannot figure out Minnesota this year. Illinois' triumph was expected here, as the Illini are starting to look like the class of the Big Ten, but Michigan's continuing slide is far beyond baffling.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Weekend Preview

Let's start with the conference match-ups this weekend.

Michigan State (3-5, 12-17) @ Ohio State (3-5, 17-10)
Minnesota (7-1, 15-13) @ Penn State (5-3, 17-10)
Michigan (1-7, 18-10) @ Illinois (7-1, 18-8-1)
Indiana (2-6, 18-12) @ Iowa (5-3, 11-15)
Northwestern (4-4, 14-12) @ Purdue (3-5, 9-19)

A couple of projections still have the Big Ten getting two schools into the NCAA Tournament field. I'm a bit surprised by that idea, but embrace the concept nonetheless. If forced to pick which two schools, right now, I would take the conference leaders-Illinois and Minnesota.

However, that opinion can change pretty rapidly. Two weeks ago, I would have thought Ohio State and Michigan were locks for post-season play. Now, both need to compile both quantity and quality victories to regain their pre-conference stature.

In the end, I'll guess that the conference's regular season champion as well as the conference tourney champ will get in. Based on the unexpected outcomes thus far, I cannot believe that regular season winner will claim the conference tournament title as well.

Allow me to suggest some other reading to prepare for the weekend's action. Boyd Nation's Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha, his weekly column, can be found here. Will Kimmey, of Baseball America, offers his weekly preview here. Sports Weekly's Dana Heiss Grodin's weekly college baseball feature is here.

Top Ten In Big Ten OPS

This week only ten conference regulars have an OPS above 1.000. The list is headed by Illinois' Dusty Bensko at 1.178. In second place is Zach Boswell of Indiana at 1.158. Third and fourth are held down by two more members of the Fightin' Illini. Drew Davidson is third at 1.136 and J.R. Kyes makes his first appearance on the list in the fourth slot with a 1.133 OPS. Indiana secondbaseman Jay Brant completes the first five at 1.109.

The final group is led by Matt Butler of Michigan at 1.074. Seventh place belongs to Northwestern catcher Pat McMahon at 1.070. Another backstop, Iowa's Kris Welker is right behind at 1.053. Michigan State's Ryan Basham is ninth at 1.025. Joe Kemp of Indiana closes out the field at 1.011.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Here are this week's polls:

Baseball America
Collegiate Baseball
Sports Weekly/ESPN

I have a cold, so I may have missed something, but did anyone notice Illinois receiving a single vote in any of the polls? I expected Baseball America to give the Illini a snub. Even the Sports Weekly/ESPN poll omission doesn't surprise me much, but neither Collegiate Baseball or the NCBWA have the Illini ranked?

If Minnesota and Michigan were both ranked reasonably high at the beginning of the season, how can Illinois get stiffed when they lead the conference? I know people complain about the college football polls, in large part as they help determine a championship match-up, but college baseball polls are definitely an interpretative art form.

Saturday, April 09, 2005


Illinois 12 Michigan State 3
Minnesota 5 Indiana 0
Iowa 13 Michigan 12
Northwestern 3 Penn State 2
Purdue 7 Ohio State 1

Illinois 9 Michigan State 2
Illinois 6 Michigan State 5
Minnesota 7 Indiana 1
Minnesota 5 Indiana 4
Michigan 4 Iowa 2
Iowa 5 Michigan 3
Penn State 4 Northwestern 2
Penn State 2 Northwestern 1, 14 innings
Ohio State 6 Purdue 4
Ohio State 5 Purdue 1

Illinois and Minnesota may lap the rest of the field. The Illini and Gophers are now 7-0, three games clear of Penn State and Northwestern. Regardless of Sunday's results Illinois should start to merit some votes in the polls come Monday. I don't expect the Fightin' Illini to be ranked, but they do deserve to be included amongst the schools garnering votes.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Up To The Minute

Friday's Big Ten contests have begun. Illinois, behind another solid outing from Brian Blomquist(6-1), beat Michigan State 12-3. Dusty Bensko had five RBI for the Illini.

Penn State and Northwestern are tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth. Sean Stidfole struck out eight Wildcats in six and two-thirds innings. Jon Mikrut has both NU runs batted in.

Iowa just posted a ten run eighth inning to take the lead over Michigan, 13-11. Andy Cox has three hits and three RBI for the Hawkeyes. Kyle Bohm has five RBI for Michigan.

Ohio State and Purdue get underway at 6:30 pm EST.

Matt Loberg is having another Pitcher of the Week type performance. The Gophers starter has pitched eight innings of shutout baseball. Loberg hasn't walked a batter and has fanned four Hoosiers while yielding only six hits. Jeremy Chlan has two hits and two RBI for Minnesota.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Swisher Goes Yard Twice

Ex-Ohio State star Nick Swisher hit two homeruns in Oakland's 9-0 win over Baltimore. Swisher, who became famous (infamous?) in the book Moneyball, had a so-so spring training. A couple of A's fan sites were kind of down on Swisher fearing he was more hype than substance. However, BTH hopes that this is a sign the former Buckeye can live up to the hype.

Upsets And More Upsets

What in the wide world of sports is going on? Illinois just lost it's second consecutive game to Western Michigan, this time to the tune of 22-15, and Oakland just beat Ohio State, 6-5, in Columbus by scoring three runs in the top of the ninth. If that wasn't enough, and it is, Northern Iowa shutout Minnesota, 2-0.

Losing games to WMU, OU and NIU isn't going to boost the schools' respective RPI numbers or help the conferences' image one tiny bit. (In the interest of honesty, I should point out that I am a former Oakland University student and I do root for the Golden Grizzlies. They have the ability to become a baseball power in the Mid-Con, but that's a post for another day.)

Every time I start to get the sense Big Ten baseball is turning the corner, these are the kind of scores that pop-up. These results will not help the conference's chances of landing more than a single bid, the conference tournament winner, to the NCAA tournament field.

In other Big Ten scores, Indiana dropped Indiana State, 6-4. Penn State beat Pittsburgh, 9-0. Michigan beat Central Michigan, 7-2. Iowa is playing Nebraska on CSTV tonight. Good luck to the Hawkeyes.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Stidfole Streak Continues

Penn State's Alan Stidfole extended his scoreless inning streak Sunday. In blanking the Boilermakers, Stidfole has pitched twenty-one consecutive scoreless innings. The mark has garnered the PSU hurler some national attention including a note in Will Kimmey's wrap-up at Baseball America.

Players Of The Week

Drew Davidson, Illinois, and Matt Loberg, Minnesota, are the Big Ten's Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively. Both players helped power their schools to sweeps this weekend. Davidson's Illinois team took four games from Ohio State, while Loberg's Gophers won every game from Michigan. It was the second week in a row that Loberg earned the POTW honor.

Big 16 In OPS

This week finds sixteen members of the Big Ten Conference carrying an OPS mark above 1.000. The top dog is Indiana's Zach Boswell with an OPS of 1.232. In second place is Michigan outfielder Matt Butler at 1.215. Butler is followed by Jay Brant, Indiana (1.188), Brant's IU teammate Corby Heckman (1.166) and Matt Lewis of Penn State (1.162).

The next five spots go to Joe Kemp of IU (1.149), another Hoosier, Ryan Parker at 1.140, Ryan Basham of Michigan State (1.133), Illinois' Dusty Bensko (1.130) and two players tied for tenth in on base plus slugging percentage. Neal Gorka of Purdue and Jason Zoeller of Ohio State have identical 1.078 OPS figures.

Trevor Huisinga of Illinois leads the final wave at 1.051. The Illini outfielder is followed by Iowa's Andy Lytle at 1.050, the Fightin' Illini's Ryan Rogowski at 1.041, Pat McMahon of Northwestern records a 1.039 mark while Michigan's Kyle Bohm closes out the group with a 1.013 OPS.

As is standard around here, the numbers are not guaranteed to be exact. They are mostly done, as is much of the blog, solely for my entertainment purposes.

Monday, April 04, 2005

So Much For Multiple Bids

I've finally got some of my side interests taken care of, plus I've dismissed the technical difficulties that plagued my sidebar link section (notice it has returned to it's rightful place at the top of the page), so it's time to get back to Big Ten Hardball.

Heading into to the opening weekend of conference play, I would have guessed that Michigan and Ohio State were heading for NCAA tournament play. After this weekend, I'm not sure either can get it without winning the conference tournament. In fact, I don't know if the Big Ten can land more than the single bid the conference tournament winner claims.

Michigan, who headed to Minnesota nationally ranked and on a winning streak, got stomped on by the Gophers. The defending conference champions played like it this weekend taking all four games from the boys from Ann Arbor.

The Buckeyes appeared to have all kinds of momentum heading into their conference tilt with the Illini. So much for momentum. Itch Jones' squad dispatched OSU in four straight contests. Now, the Gophers (4-0) and Illini (4-0) sit atop the Big Ten while Michigan and Ohio State, arguably the conference favorites five days ago, are in the cellar and winless (0-4) in conference play.

While a tip of the hat is in order for both Illinois and Minnesota, on the surface, this doesn't bode well for the conference's NCAA tournament bids. I suppose Illinois or Minnesota could go on to dominate conference play, but if neither wins the conference tournament, would the other get a nod from the committee?

The same holds true for Michigan and Ohio State. Their remaining schedules feature games of note mostly against Big Ten opposition. Games versus Central Michigan and Oakland are not going to help your RPI. Even if they both dominate their remaining schedules', I'm not sure either would merit an at-large berth. A conference tournament victory would seem like a must now.

Still, I should not jump to conclusions. There is quite a bit of time remaining. The conference could still pull off more than a single entry into the NCAA field. However, with Minnesota and Illinois having either played poorly against tough competition (the Gophers) or not having any victories of significance (the Illini), and Michigan and Ohio State getting swept right out of the gate in conference play, it's hard to imagine how two of these four teams can make the NCAA tournament field.

I should mention there are six other schools still vying for a Big Ten championship. Northwestern, Penn State, Michigan State, Purdue and Iowa all have two wins. All but NU (2-1), have two losses, as well. Indiana is the only one not mentioned and they sit at 1-2 in conference play.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Conference Action Opens

Illinois and Minnesota posted big wins on Friday. The Illini dropped Ohio State, 7-1, while the Gophers dispatched the #18 Wolverines, 1-0. Pitching was the story in both games. Brian Blomquist continued his fine season by posting a complete game triumph over the Buckeyes. Blomquist is now 5-1.

The red-hot Wolverines got cooled down by the Gophers' combination of Matt Loberg and John Gaub. Loberg (4-2) went eight innings, Gaub the final stanza. Jim Brauer went eight innings for Michigan, but took his first loss of the year (4-1). Fox Sports Net North is televising Sunday's final game of the Michigan-Minnesota series.

In the other Big Ten games yesterday, Michigan State beat Iowa, 3-1 and Penn State was three better than Purdue, 6-3. The Northwestern/Indiana series begins Saturday afternoon.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, this is a hectic week, so I haven't posted as much as I would have liked. Hopefully, in a few more days most of the craziness will have passed.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

National Exposure

The advent of networks like ESPNU and Fox College Sports have given college baseball more opportunity to appear on national television. Along with already established CSTV, college baseball has its largest television schedule in years, maybe ever. Here is a link to Baseball America's story about the increasing chances of watching college baseball on cable television.

Of course, for those of us in Big Ten country, there are two problems. First, I think only the regional Fox stations are available on my cable package and they come as a premium on the digital package. Second, aside from the conference championship tilt, only one Big Ten team appears on the schedule. Iowa's game versus Nebraska made CSTV's coverage.

Michigan Moves Up

The University of Michigan continues to move up in the national polls. The NCBWA version has the Wolverines at number eighteen, while Collegiate Baseball lists coach Rich Maloney's squad at # 19. Michigan remained outside both Baseball America's and the Sports Weekly/ESPN polls, but did gain more votes this week in the latter. Ohio State also got it's first vote from the coaches this season, as well.

Nationally, the polls are split as to whom is the top dog. Depending on which flavor of poll you prefer, you either get Texas or Georgia Tech as the number one team in the country. To see the entire poll dating for the week, click on the links below.

Baseball America Top 25
Sports Weekly/ESPN Top 25
NCBWA Top 35
Collegiate Baseball Top 30

Monday, March 28, 2005

I'm Working On It

The mystery that is my sidebar continues to baffle me. Apparently, something I've typed or linked to is beyond the parameters of the page. The question is which item(s)? I am in the process of editing March posts, as February's archives have the links correctly placed at the top of the page, so don't be shocked if a link in a post that once was there is gone later.

I just wanted everyone to know that I am trying to correct the annoying little problem. If you need to see the links in my sidebar, they remain at the bottom of the page. Once again, I apologize. Hopefully, I can get to the bottom of this before the weekend. Thank you for your patience.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Weekend Wrap-Up

Today was the beginning of what appears to be a very busy week. Allow me to apologize in advance if the quantity and/or quality of my posts diminishes over the next seven days. I realize it's difficult to imagine things getting worse, but they can. Enough of that, onto scores from the weekend.

Indiana 10 Longwood 4, Game 1 (Box)
Longwood 4 Indiana 1, Game 2 (Box)

Wichita State 17 Iowa 6 (Box-Saturday)
Wichita State 7 Iowa 3 (Box-Sunday)

#22 Michigan 5 Oakland 4, Game 1 (Box-Saturday)
#22 Michigan 8 Oakland 2, Game 2 (Box-Saturday)
#22 Michigan 7 Oakland4 (Box-Sunday)

Michigan State 4 Western Illinois 3 (Box-Saturday)
Western Illinois 3 Michigan State 0 (Box-Sunday)
Michigan State 2 Western Illinois 1 (Box-Sunday)

Butler 2 Minnesota 1 (Box-Saturday)
Minnesota 9 Butler 4 (Box-Sunday)

Ohio State 11 Cornell 2 (Box-Saturday)

Purdue 9 Western Michigan 5, Game 1 (Box-Saturday)
Purdue 4 Western Michigan 0, Game 2 (Box-Saturday)
Purdue 6 Western Michigan 0 (Box-Sunday)

James Madison 12 Penn State 3, Game 1-Saturday
Penn State 3 James Madison 2, Game 2-Saturday
Penn State 1 James Madison 0 Sunday

Once again, my apologies for not providing the usual details. If I get a chance, I may add the notes tomorrow. Just don't hold me to that. Next week should be much less busy. The Big Ten begins conference play next weekend, so things will become even more interesting.

Congratulations to Minnesota's hockey team on advancing to the Frozen Four and to Illinois and Michigan State for make the Final Four in men's hoops. A tip of the cap from BTH.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Friday's Mess

Today was just a mess. First, there is my sidebar's plunge to the bottom of the page. (Scroll down, it's there. Really.) Then there is the weather. Michigan State's Kobs Field is in such bad shape, courtesy of our crummy winter, that the Spartans are playing at Western Illinois this weekend. Indiana's contest against Longwood fell victim to poor weather, too.

Then there is Northwestern's doubleheader with Vermont. Somehow, I didn't find this two game tilt on NU's original schedule. There is probably an 80% chance, I just screwed something up. However, in no other sport do schools have only partial schedules, or incomplete schedules, on Opening Day, the way college baseball does. It makes following the sport a tad frustrating to follow. Again, it could just be me, but I've seen these late additions/subtractions/changes before. (I'll get back to the 'Cats games in a minute.)

I even called this post "Saturday's Mess", as having an extra day off work apparently confuses me. Basically, it was a messed up day on many fronts around BTH this Friday. However, some positive news did emerge, as a number of Big Ten schools came out on the winning end. Here is a review of all of Saturday's action. (Well, all meaning all I am aware of currently.)

Ohio State swept a doubleheader from Dartmouth. The Buckeyes took game one 4-1 behind another strong outing from Cory Luebke. Luebke, one of Baseball America's top freshmen, went eight innings allowing only one unearned run and three hits. Trey Fausnaugh earned his second save.

The Buckeyes took game two, 5-3. 2B Jason Zoeller led the OSU offense with three hits. The win went to Jeffrey Carroll in relief.

#22 Michigan opened its home campaign with a 10-0 triumph over Oakland. Jim Brauer improved to 4-0 with six shutout innings. Clayton Richard came on in relief and combined with Brauer to toss a four hit shutout. Mike Schmidt homered for Michigan.

Jimmy Conroy led Illinios past Cornell 12-0. Conroy threw six innings yielding four hits, no walks and no runs while fanning five. James Morris and Dusty Bensko, who played first and walked four times, completed the shutout. Ryan Rogowski went 3 for 5 scored three times and stole two bases.

Wichita State dropped Iowa, 6-1. Kris Welker got two of Iowa's seven safeties on the day. Shockers' starter Mike Pelfrey struck out 11 Hawkeyes in seven innings and is now 4-2 on the year.

Matt Loberg's eight shutout innings led Minnesota past Butler, 7-0. The Gophers' righthander struck out a career high nine batters. Luke MacLean had three hits, including a triple, and three RBI to lead the Gophers' attack.

As for the NU-Vermont doubleheader, the Catamounts took the opener, 3-1. Mark Ori had two hits for NU. The Wildcats claimed the nightcap, 4-3. NU scored three in the bottom of the seventh inning to win it. Jon Mikrut's single drove in the winning run.

Finally, congratulations to Michigan State and Wisconsin on advancing to the Elite Eight. The Spartans knocked off #1 seed Duke tonight, 78-68. The Badgers dropped NC State, 65-56. Now, it's Illinois' turn.

Hopefully, the weather and this blog will improve tomorrow.

Technical Difficulties

It appears all of my links are now at the bottom of the right hand column. I have no idea how soon I can get this repaired, as I'm not even sure what the problem is, but I apologize for the inconvenience.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Big Ten OPS

Here is my weekly look at the OPS (on base + slugging percentage) leaders in the Big Ten.

1) Zach Boswell, Indiana 1.325 2) Pat McMahon, Northwestern 1.264 3) Matt Lewis, Penn State 1.234 4)Jay Brant, Indiana 1.210 5) Ryan Parker, Indiana 1.188 6) Joe Kemp, Indiana 1.165 7)Andy Lytle, Iowa 1.164 8) Jason Zoeller, Ohio State 1.128 9) Ryan Basham, Michigan State 1.127 10) Matt Butler, Michigan 1.120

Near as I can tell, seven other Big Ten regulars cracked the 1.000 mark. In order, they are Kyle Bohm, Michigan (1.094), A.J. Scheidt, Michigan (1.084), Neal Gorka, Purdue (1.057), Dusty Bensko, Illinois (1.048), Trevor Huisinga, Illinois (1.017), Jedidiah Stephen, Ohio State (1.014) and Chris Getz, Michigan (1.001)

As usual, these are not official numbers. My math is subject to question. The stats are through March 22 and reflect the OBP and SLG figures I obtain via the Big Ten's official stat page shown here.

Spring Is In The Air

Somewhere spring has sprung. However, in the heart of Big Ten Country, spring is still a rumor. That's not quite right, either. It was spring-like yesterday. Mid-40s and sunny. Then came today. In my little corner of the world, we received about two inches of unnecessary snowfall. Apparently, some other areas got less than ideal baseball weather, as well.

The Ohio State vs. Dartmouth game was cancelled, as was Indiana vs. Ball State. The long winter refuses to give up, but the teams are heading north regardless. Here's hoping the baseball programs bring the sun and warmth with them.

I'm A Bit Confused

The nice folks at the NCBWA have released their poll for the week. Tulane has assumed the number one ranking on the heels of Baylor's sweep of previous #1, Texas. The second place club is Cal State Fullerton. Didn't the defending champs take two of three from the Green Wave, at Tulane, about a week ago? How can you rank the Wave ahead of the Titans? There must be something I am missing.

Then there is the Big 10 snub. Michigan fell a spot to twenty-third in the land. They didn't lose, but dropped a spot. Again, on it's own, I might dismiss it, but combined with the rankings at the top, I am curious as to what the voters were thinking.

Thankfully, in the end, we don't have to worry much about the polls. They just make for interesting discussion for fans and the media during the season (hey, I got an extra post out of it), but the championship is decided on the field.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Monday Scores

Ohio State 4 Illinois-Chicago 2 (Box)
Cody Caughenbaugh's two run double capped a three run eighth inning and led OSU to a comeback win. Trey Fausnaugh got the victory.

Illinois 11 Dartmouth 6 (Box)
Chris Robinson's four RBI led the Illinois offense. J.R. Kyes had three hits and two RBI. Matt Whitmore earned his first win of the year.

Kent State 4 Northwestern 1 (Box)
Jon Mikrut went two for four with a RBI for NU. Andrew Davis had two hits and two RBI for the Golden Flashes.

Myers, Boswell Earn Weekly Awards

Northwestern's Ryan Myers and Indiana's Zach Boswell were named the Big Ten's Pitcher and Player of the Week, respectively. Here is the conference's official release. Boswell gets some love from the IU website here and the Wildcats' press release for Myers is here.

Myers' amazing effort also netted him one of Louisville Slugger's National Player of the Week Awards.

The Polls Are Out

As is normal for Monday night, the USA Today Sports Weekly/ESPN poll, the Baseball America poll and the Collegiate Baseball poll are all out. Cal-State Fullerton, the defending national champions, have claimed the top spot overall.

Collegiate Baseball has Michigan ranked twenty-second, up one spot from a week ago. Coach Rich Maloney's squad also earned votes in the coaches' poll, but failed to crack the top 25.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Weekend Recap

So, are your brackets looking as bad as mine? Yeah, that's what I figured. Although, my final game is still possible-Illinois vs. Kentucky. Nonetheless, it's baseball we are here to discuss.

Pitchers took center stage this weekend. Jim Brauer (Michigan), Derek Feldkamp (Michigan), Brian Blomquist (Illinois) and Josh Lewis (Indiana) all posted their third win of the year. However, it was today's efforts from Ohio State freshman Cory Luebke and Northwestern sophomore Ryan Myers that will catch the most national attention.

Indiana 11 Kent State 6
Josh Lewis improves to 3-0. IU's Zach Boswell goes five for five with four RBI.

#22 Michigan 5 Ohio 0
Jim Brauer worked eight innings, fanning nine Bobcats, allowing three hits and no runs. Brauer is now 3-0. A.J. Scheidt led the Wolverines offense going three for three with a RBI.

Penn State 6 Delaware 1
Sean Stidfole pitched a complete game. The junior struck out eleven Blue Hen batters. Aaron Greenfield went yard for the Nittany Lions.

Penn State 12 Delaware 6
PSU's Matt Lewis had four RBI and stole a base. Craig Clark was credited with his first win of 2005.

Bradley 7 Michigan State 3
Tony Clausen and Adam Tripp each went yard for MSU. Bradley's Brandon Magee (3-1) struck out eleven Spartans in eight innings.

Michigan State 5 Bradley 1
Ryan Basham hit a homerun (4) and knocked in four runs for the Spartans. Chris Malec (2-1) got the win. He whiffed eight Braves in eight innings of work.

Illinois 4 Miami (Ohio) 2
Brian Blomquist improved to 3-1. Blomquist went 7.2 IP, allowing one earned run and walking no one. Jake Toohey earned his second save of the year. Dusty Bensko hit his third homer for the Illini.

Rutgers 6 Minnesota 2
Rutgers SS Todd Frazier had three hits including his fifth homerun. The Gophers' Tony Leseman went three for four with a RBI.

Northwestern 18 St. Francis 2
Caleb Fields went three for four and drove in four runs. Max Mann went three for three and scored three times for NU. Andrew Smith (1-2) worked eight innings and yielded one earned run.

Ohio State 14 Bucknell 3
Bucknell basketball success didn't translate onto the diamond. OSU's Adam Schneider had three hits and three RBI. Jedidiah Stephen powered his third homer for the Buckeyes. Rory Meister got the win in relief.

Indiana 9 St. Francis 0
Zach Boswell collects two more hits and has two RBI in the Hoosier triumph. Jay Brant and Joe Kemp each homer for IU. Brian Lortz claimed the victory going five innings allowing two hits, no runs and walking zero.

#22 Michigan 10 Ohio 4
SS Leif Mahler had three hits and two RBI for Michigan. Matt Butler hit his third HR and plated three more Wolverine tallies. Michael Penn (2-1) got the win.

#22 Michigan 8 Ohio 2
Mike Schmidt had three doubles and drove home four to lead the Michigan offensive attack. Derek Feldkamp earned the win. He is now 3-0 on the year.

Penn State 7 Delaware 1
Matt Lewis went three for four with two runs scored and two RBI. Lance Thompson hit a two-run homer and scored twice. Alan Stidfole struck out eight in six innings and earned the win.

Bradley 6 Michigan State 5
Four Spartans collected two hits a piece, but it wasn't enough. Michael Christl fanned seven MSU batters in 3.2 innings of relief, although didn't get the win. That went to Peter Elmer (1-0) who worked the last three frames for Bradley.

Kent State 5 Illinois 4
Dusty Bensko hammered his fourth homer for Illinois. Kent State Kurt Eichorn drove in three runs. Chad Wagler (3-1) got the win in relief. Wagler pitched four innings, striking out five.

Illinois-Chicago 5 Iowa 4, 10 innings
Nate Yoho, Kris Welker and L.J. Mims each went two for four. Mims also stole two bases for the Hawkeyes.

Rutgers 7 Minnesota 6
Matt Fornasiere homered and drove in four Gopher runs, however the Scarlet Knights swept the weekend series with Minnesota.

Northwestern 8 Cornell 7
Ryan Myers pitched a legendary relief performance. After starter George Kontos got chased after 1.1 innings, Myers entered the game. In the next 7.2 innings, Myers struck out fifteen batters. He relinquished only four hits, a walk and no runs. Pat McMahon had three NU hits, Anthony Wycklendt homered for the 'Cats.

Ohio State 4 Wisconsin-Milwaukee 1
OSU freshman Cory Luebke pitched a complete game. Luebke, a lefty, surrendered only four hits and one run. He struck out nine UWM batters and had a no-hitter through 6.2 innings of work. Cody Caughenbaugh had two RBI for OSU.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

PSU Board Approves Stadium Plan

Penn State's Board of Trustees approved the preliminary plans for a new ballpark. Here is the link to the press release courtesy of

Steroids On Campus?

USA Today Sports Weekly columnist Dana Heiss Grodin tries to get some answers about steroid use in college baseball.

PSU-Delaware Preview

Nate Heckenberger of the Daily Collegian gives us this preview of the Nittany Lions weekend against the Blue Hens.

Friday, March 18, 2005


It's the weekend. Finally. For some national perspective, Will Kimmey provides his weekend preview here. From a Big Ten angle, let's see who is on the schedule.

Minnesota: Rutgers
Indiana: Vermont, Kent State
Purdue: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Ohio State: Northern Iowa, Bucknell, Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Iowa: Illinois-Chicago
Michigan State: Bradley
Northwestern: St. Francis, Cornell
Penn State: Delaware
#22 Michigan: Ohio
Illinois: Miami (Ohio)

You may note a number of schools that have made some big news in the Big Dance are on the slate. Vermont, Bucknell and Wisconsin-Milwaukee all posted opening round upsets in the hoops tourney. I can only hope that their baseball teams are quite as successful.

As I didn't get around to posting this information until Saturday morning, a quick recap of Friday's action is in order.

Rutgers 13 Minnesota 2 (Box)
Matt Fornasiere led the Gophers with a hit, run and RBI. Steve Hook drove in three for the Scarlet Knights.

Vermont 5 Indiana 3 (Box)
The Catamounts managed to slow down the IU bats. Corby Heckman pushed across two Hoosier runs. Raymond Montanez hit walk-off homer to win it for Vermont.

Texas A &M-Corpus Christi 9 Purdue 2 (Box)
Mitch Hilligoss and John Hunter had four of the Boilers' six hits. Josh Mitchell pitched a complete game of TAMUCC.

Ohio State 11 Northern Iowa 3 (Box)
Paul Farinacci collected four RBI and Jedidiah Stephen drove home two, scored twice and had two hits. Trent Luyster improved to 3-1. The game marked the return of All-America candidate Steve Caravati. The Buckeye outfielder had two hits and two RBI.

Illinois-Chicago 2 Iowa 1, 10 innings (Box)
Ryan Zink pitched a ten inning complete game for UIC. Zink allowed ten hits, but fanned nine Hawkeyes and walked none. Andy Lytle's three hits paced Iowa's offense.

Caravati's return is the news of the day. I expect OSU, who was a pretty good hitting club anyway, to really start to post some big numbers with Caravati back in the lineup.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

NCBWA: Michigan # 22

Michigan moved up eight spots in the NCBWA poll. The Wolverines are now ranked twenty-second in the nation. Both Minnesota and Ohio State continue to garner votes in the weekly poll, as well. For a look at the entire poll, click here.

Online With Stanford's Mayberry

ESPNU, the new college-only network from the media giant, had this interview with Stanford's John Mayberry, Jr. I know Stanford's not in the Big Ten, but I really need to post more about college baseball in general, so you get this.

As an additional note of little interest to you, I know that I am really old as I remember John Mayberry, Sr. as a Kansas City Royal. In the Seventies.

Midweek Meanderings

As I try to decide if I like Vermont over Syracuse and do I have the courage to pick Utah State over Arizona, let's take a peek around the Big Ten to see what I've been missing on the diamond over the last day or two.

The most obvious thing is that Indiana is still white hot. The Hoosiers just pounded on Illinois State Tuesday, 17-7. I'll bet IU supporters wish their football team scored as much as the baseball squad does. Corby Heckman led the way with four hits, three runs scored and two RBI. Zach Boswell plated four runs the old fashioned way. He hit a grandslam. Nearly every Hoosier is raking at the moment and it shows. (Here is the boxscore.)

Purdue's brutal non-conference slate continues in Texas. The Boilermakers lost to Rice, 9-1. Neal Gorka continues to shine through the losses. Gorka had two more hits vs. the Owls. Here is the boxscore. Purdue faces Lamar today. I give the Purdue administration points for courage for scheduling the programs they have this year.

Minnesota returned to the win column with a 10-6 triumph over Minnesota-Duluth. Andy Hunter paced the Gophers attack with three hits. Minnesota plays St. Cloud today. (I thought it was St. Cloud State? Remind me to check on that.)

A quick peek at the upcoming schedule reveals that this weekend doesn't feature quite as many big-time match-ups as previous weekends. Although, as the Big Ten struggles with strength of schedule questions, RPI rankings, national perception and the like, the programs of the conference had best just polish off all opponents regardless of their stature.

Good luck to all the Big Ten schools in the Big Dance.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Number Crunching

The Big Ten has posted its official statistics. Not surprisingly, Indiana has a number of players amongst the conference leaders in a variety of offensive categories. While it's hard to pick just one Hoosier who merits attention over the others, I think Jay Brant's numbers are noteworthy.

Brant is fourth in the conference batting race at .462. He is also fourth in slugging percentage at .712, on-base percentage at .541 (Yeah, his OPS is really good. More on that in a minute.) and tied for fourth in RBI at 12. Brant also leads the Big Ten in runs scored (21), hits (24) and stolen bases (7). Brant, who has junior eligibility, is second in the conference in total bases (37) and doubles (5).

Obviously, a number of Big Ten players deserve some mention. However, Brant's is clearly a player having a dynamic start to the season. To get a look at all the stat leaders click here. On to those OPS figures.

While Brant leads the conference in a number of categories, it is Iowa's Andy Cox who currently paces the Big Ten in OPS. The Hawkeyes' senior has an OPS of 1.389. Northwestern's Pat McMahon is in second place at 1.287. Third is Ohio State's Jason Zoeller at 1.264. Fourth is last week's leader, Penn State's Matt Lewis at 1.256.

Next comes our Indiana contingent. IU's Brant checks in at 1.253. He is followed by teammate Ryan Parker at 1.238. Seventh in the Big Ten is Neal Gorka of Purdue at 1.216. Joe Kemp, another Hoosier hitter, is eighth overall at 1.188. The Hawkeyes' Andy Lytle (1.167) and Michigan's Kyle Bohm (1.161) round out the top ten.

As always, don't hold me to the OPS numbers, as my math skills are questionable. I may review some pitching number next time. Or I may not.

Three Earn Weekly Award

The Big Ten Conference has named Indiana' Jay Brant and Iowa's Andy Cox as co-Players of the Week. Michigan's Jim Brauer was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week. Click here for the link to the conference's press release.

The Hawkeyes' press release can be found here. Michigan's official kudos to Brauer can be found here. Nothing on the Hoosiers' site about Brant's honor as of yet.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Monday Games

Indiana 8 Yale 0 (Box)
Another day, another offensive explosion for IU. Jay Brant goes 4 for 5 and Joe Kemp gets two hits, two runs and two RBI. Brad Davidson (2-0) pitches seven innings allowing no runs, five hits and a single walk. The freshman lefhander also struck out six.

Iowa 20 Rider 4 (Box)
The Hawkeyes Hit Machine keeps pouding away, as well. Nate Yoho and Andy Cox each went yard twice. Yoho drove in five, Cox added three RBI. Tim Gudex didn't allow an earned run in six innings. It was Gedux' first win of the year.

The Hawkeyes have one more game today. They finish their doubleheader versus North Florida.

Michigan Moves Up

The University of Michigan moved up to number twenty-three in Collegiate Baseball's poll. The Wolverines (8-3) are not in Baseball America's or the USA Today Sports Weekly/ESPN polls. However, the USA Today Sports Weekly/ESPN Coaches poll does have Michigan getting ten votes, one more than last week.

Overall, Texas has become the consensus number one team in the land. To get a look at all the polls, sans the NCBWA model, click on the links below. I'll add the writers' version when it becomes available.

USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches Poll
Baseball America Top 25
Collegiate Baseball

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Sunday Recaps

#29 Michigan 9 Central Connecticut State 0 (Box)
Wolverines' 2B Chris Getz stayed red hot going three for five. Brad Roblin went three for four with two RBI. Mike Schmidt homered and Derek Feldkamp got the win.

Illinois 1 Texas-Arlington 0 (7th inning)
Dusty Bensko homered for the lone tally thus far.

#1 Texas 7 Purdue 0 (7th inning)
Texas DH Calvin Beamon is three for three.

#16 Florida 10 Michigan State 0 (Box)
The Gators sweep MSU. Florida hit three homers and Stephen Locke moved to 3-0 on the year. The Spartans' Adam Tripp went two for four.

Illinois 3 Texas-Arlington 2, 10 innings (Box)
Bensko ended up 3 for 5 as did Trevor Huisinga. Joel Barickman got the win in relief for Illinois.

Iowa 16 Rider 2 (Box)
Andy Lytle, Skylar Moss and Andy Cox each homered for the Hawkeyes. Nate Yoho went 3 for 4 and Casey O'Rourke improved to 2-0 on the year going seven innings while allowing one walk and six hits.

Indiana 14 Bucknell 4 (Box)
Hoosier 2B Jay Brant led the twenty-one hit IU attack going five for five. Ryan Parker hit his third HR and knocked in four runs. Reggie Watson, Joe Kemp and Zach Boswell each had three hits a piece. Brian Lortz started and earned his first victory of 2005.

#1 Texas 8 Purdue 0 (Box)
Neal Gorka went three for four in a losing effort. P Kyle McCulloch improved to 4-1 for Texas. Beamon and Thomas Incaviglia each had two RBI for the Longhorns.

Harvard 9 Minnesota 1 (Box)
Schuyler Mann went five for five with two RBI and scored three times for Harvard. David Hrncirik's three hits were the highlight of the Gophers' offense.

A quick review of the non-conference standings after weekend play shows Indiana atop the Big Ten at 9-3. The Hoosiers are followed by #29 Michigan at 8-3. Then, it's Illinois (5-3), Penn State (5-5), Ohio State (4-4), Michigan State (5-6), Iowa (3-4), Northwestern (4-6), Minnesota (2-7) and Purdue (1-8).

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Saturday Scores

Illinois 4 Texas-Arlington 2 (Box)
Chad Frk, Dusty Bensko and Mike Rohde each had two hits. Jimmy Conroy yielded seven hits in seven innings. Conroy got the win Jake Toohey the save.

Indiana 12 Bowling Green 2 (Box)
Joe Kemp had three hits and four RBI to pace the Hoosier attack. Josh Lewis won his second game against no losses by allowing five hits and striking out seven in eight innings.

Iowa 13 Toledo 9 (Box)
Andy Lytle hit a walk off grandslam to win it for Iowa.

#16 Florida 13 Michigan State 2 (Box)
Jared Kubin had two hits and three RBI for the Gators. Sean Walker led the Spartans with two hits.

#29 Michigan 6 Lamar 1 (5th inning)
Matt Butler has three hits and Chris Getz has two for Michigan.

#24 Louisiana-Lafayette 2 Minnesota 0 (6th inning)
Gophers have mustered just three hits so far.

Bradley 4 Ohio State 3 (Box)
The Braves scored four unearned runs on three eighth inning Buckeye errors. Cody Caughenbaugh and Jason Zoeller each got a hit, run and RBI for OSU.

#1 Texas 8 Purdue 6 (Box)
The Boilermakers hung tough today, but the 'Horns continue to be just too much. Eric Osborn had three RBI for Purdue and Neal Gorka pounded out two more hits. Texas' Drew Stubbs went yard twice and pushed across three runs.

Penn State vs. Gonzaga
Server problems have foiled my attempts to get a score on this game. I'll try again later.

Lamar 7 #29 Michigan 6 (Game 1-Box)
All-America candidate Chris Getz went 4 for 4 and Kyle Bohm had three hits and three RBI for Michigan. Michael Ambort hit his fifth homer of the year for Lamar.

#29 Michigan 11 Lamar 1 (Game 2-Box)
The Wolverines get revenge for their Game 1 loss. Jim Brauer (2-0) fanned nine Cardinals in seven innings. 2B Getz and CF Matt Butler ended the game with three hits a piece.

#24 Louisiana-Lafayette 3 Minnesota 2 (10 innings) (Box)
Kevin Ardoin struck out 11 Gopher batters in seven innings, but the win went to Kraig Schambough in relief. Jeremy Chlan went two for four for Minnesota. Phillip Hawke had thee hits for ULL. Dallas Morris drove in the winner in the tenth.

Ohio State 15 Rider 9 (Box)
Well, I messed this one up. The score I posted was, apparently, not a final. My apologies. The Buckeye bats awoke in the second game of the doubleheader. Ohio State 2B Jason Zoeller went five for six with three runs scored and three RBI. 3B Ronnie Bourquin went three for four with two runs and two RBI.

Gonzaga 8 Penn State 6 (Box)
The 'Zags had four hitters with two hits a piece. PSU finished the Johnny Quik Classic Tournament in fourth place. Both P Craig Clark and OF Matt Lewis made the all-tournament team.

Friday, March 11, 2005

National Weekend Preview

Will Kimmey of Baseball America previews this weekend's action around the nation including the big, big series between defending national champion Cal State Fullerton and Tulane. The Titans are currently ranked third in BA's poll, while the Wave are #1 according to the publication.

Live Updates

Ohio State 15 North Florida 9 (Bottom of the seventh inning)
Jason Zoeller and Jedidiah Stephen each have three RBI a piece for OSU.

#29 Michigan 12 New York Tech 4 (Bottom of the fifth inning)
U of M cleanup hitter Kyle Bohm has five RBI thus far.

OSU's Ronnie Borquin just went deep. OSU 16 UNF 9 (Ninth inning)

It appears OSU has held on to win 16-10 over North Florida. It's kind of hard to tell on CSTV's Gametracker, but I count three outs in the bottom of the ninth, which sounds like a Buckeyes win to me.

New York Tech posted five runs in the bottom of the ninth, but Michigan held on to win 14-9.

Michigan is also batting in the top of the ninth, with the bases loaded, and leads 13-4 over NYIT. Bohm's five RBI come via two homers.

Ohio State 16 North Florida 10 (Box)
As I guessed earlier, the Buckeyes held off UNF. Trent Luyster got the win. Zoeller, Stephen and Borquin all hit big flies for OSU.

#29 Michigan 14 New York Tech 9 (Box)
The Wolverines survived a late scare and beat New York Tech 14-9. NYIT plated five runs in the bottom of the ninth. See

#1 Texas 9 Purdue 1 (Box)
In a game completed just a few minutes ago, the top ranked Longhorns handled Purdue.

Texas-Arlington 5 Illinois 1 (Box)
Apparently, Texas is not the place for the Big Ten to play in today. Chris Robinson and Trevor Huisinga each had two hits for the Illini. UTA's Michael Gardner got the victory. The Mavs Daniel Macha went three for three and scored twice.

#16 Florida 17 Michigan State 1 (Box)
UF's Bryan Ball (4-0) allowed only one run in eight innings. Brian Leclerc hit a grandslam and Gator freshman Jared Kubin collected three hits and three RBI. Ryan Sontag drove home the lone MSU score.

Minnesota 4 St. John's 2 (Box)
A two run first inning and another two runs in the third were all Minnesota needed. Matt Fornasiere had three Gopher hits and scored twice. Mike Mee hit his first HR of the year. Matt Loberg got the win, Joh Gaub was credited with his first save of 2005.

San Francisco 6 Penn State 1 (Box)
The Nittany Lions fall to 4-5. They will play in the third place game of the Johnny Quik Classic tomorrow against an opponent yet to be determined.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

PSU Wins, MSU Losses

Penn State 13 Southern Utah 2 (Box)
The Nittany Lions improved to 4-4 with today's win at the Johnny Quik Tournament. All the PSU starters got a hit. Conference batting leader Matt Lewis homered. Steve Cline picked up the win.

Toledo 8 Michigan State 7 (11 innings) (Box)
Adam Tripp and Troy Krider each had two hits and three RBI in the losing effort. Dan Ruth and Travis Pilewski had two RBi a piece for the Rockets. Toledo's Greg Gomph won in relief.

Weekend Links

A week after dropping a three game set to #17 Mississippi, Purdue's stern pre-conference road trip continues this weekend in Austin, Texas. The Boilermakers get a series with the nation's top ranked Longhorns beginning tomorrow. BTH obviously wishes Purdue all the best as they stare down UT.

Michigan State has a large opportunity, as well, this weekend. The Spartans head to Gainesville to face #16 Florida in a three game set. Penn State's schedule will be determined day-to-day, as the Nittany Lions continue the Johnny Quik Tournament in California.

Here are the links to all the Big Ten opponents this weekend.

#29 Michigan vs. New York Tech
Penn State vs. TBA
Purdue @ #1 Texas
Ohio State vs. North Florida
St. John's @ Minnesota
Michigan State @ #16 Florida
Illinois vs. Texas-Arlington

#29 Michigan @ Lamar
Penn State vs. TBA
Purdue @ #1 Texas
Ohio State vs. Bradley
Ohio State vs. Rider
#24 Louisiana-Lafayette @ Minnesota
Michigan State @ #16 Florida
Iowa vs. Toledo
Illinois @ Texas-Arlington
Indiana vs. Bowling Green

Illinois @ Texas-Arlington
Indiana vs. Bucknell
Iowa vs. Rider
#29 Michigan vs. Central Connecticut State
Michigan State @ #16 Florida
Purdue @ #1 Texas
Harvard @ Minnesota

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Catching Up On Scores

I haven't been quite as diligent about keeping on top of scores the last few days. My apologies to all. Here are the recaps I've missed.

Penn State 6 Monmouth 3 (Box)
PSU's Joe Blackburn remains hot. The catcher's three run homer powers the Nittany Lions to a win in the Johnny Quik Classic.

Gonzaga 14 Penn State 6 (Box)
The Lewis and Blackburn Road Show continues. Matt Lewis collects three hits and Joe Blackburn hits his third homerun of the year, but PSU falls 14-6 to Gonzaga.

Michigan State 10 Campbell 6 (Box)
Tony Clausen and Ryan Basham each went yard twice as the Spartans downed the Camels. Clausen had five RBI, Basham four.

Indiana vs. Xavier, ppd.
Another game lost to bad weather.

Penn State 7 Dallas Baptist 5 (Box)
The Nittany Lions blow a 4-0 lead, but bounce back to overtake Dallas Baptist. Craig Clark pitches seven scoreless innings for PSU (3-4).

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

NCBWA: Michigan # 29

The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Top 35 Poll has Michigan (5-2) ranked twenty-ninth in the nation. Ohio State (2-3) and Minnesota (1-5) were the only other Big Ten schools receiving votes in this week's survey. Texas maintained the top spot overall with the writers. Click here to get a look at the complete poll.

Monday, March 07, 2005

OPS Leaders

I'm no stat geek. Really. I'm not. However, one of the Bill James-era stats I do like is OPS-on base plus slugging percentage. As the number of games increased, I decided it was time to see how some of the Big Ten hitters' OPS numbers looked like. This is by no means definitive information, as I only reviewed some of the league's other stat leaders, but here is what I found.

Penn State's Matt Lewis, who leads the conference in batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage, has an OPS of 1.478. Which, surprise, surprise, leads the Big Ten. Neal Gorka of Purdue is in second at 1.315. Pat McMahon, Northwestern's catcher, comes in third at 1.287. Ryan Parker of Indiana has an OPS of 1.272, good for fourth in the Big Ten. Joe Blackburn, Lewis' Nittany Lion teammate, comes in fifth at 1.272.

Again, I wouldn't exactly be quoting this data all around town. I didn't run down every single player's numbers and I studied journalism and history, not any form of math, in college. So, there's a decent chance I messed something up. However, I do find this data interesting, so I figured I would share it with the both of you.

Polls Are Out; Michigan Is In

The polls are out. Well, as usual, three of the four polls are available online at this time on Monday. After their tremendous weekend, Michigan has garnered some national attention and claimed a spot in one ranking.

Coach Rich Maloney's squad cracked Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's Top 30 by defeating former top ten teams Georgia and North Carolina on successive days. The Wolverines (5-2)check in at number twenty-four.

I have conflicting information on the Sports Weekly/ESPN Coaches Poll. The one I've linked to below does not list Michigan under "Others Receiving Votes". However, the poll emailed to me indicates the Wolverines got nine points in this week's survey. While I think they should have mustered more than just nine tallies, which probably puts them around a number forty ranking (give or take a couple of spots), it's a start.

Baseball America doesn't have U of M ranked and doesn't reveal all the schools that get votes. I continue to wait for the NCBWA Poll to pop up at their site.

Here is a look at the three polls. Texas and Tulane continue their battle for the consensus number one ranking.

Baseball America's Top 25
Collegiate Baseball Top 30
Sports Weekly/ESPN Top 25 Coaches'

Both the Wolverines and Ohio State's fine showing at the Keith LeClair Classic were the subject of Baseball America's Will Kimmey's College Weekend Recap. The Buckeyes (2-3) were probably a win away from getting votes in the polls, as well. Regardless, you know the Big Ten had a great weekend when they get this kind of ink at BA.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Sunday Review

Some details of today's contests remain unavailable, like box scores. I'll add them as I come across them. It's wasn't a great day overall for the conference, but Michigan did post its second straight triumph over a top ten opponent. BTH salutes the Wolverines on their fine weekend performance.

Illinois 1 Sam Houston State 1 (14 innings) (Box)
Jimmy Conroy and Jake Toohey were the stories for Illinois. The pitched 13 2/3 scoreless innings, but Illini could not muster enough offense to capture a win.

Indiana 16 Arkansas-Little Rock 0 (Box)
Jay Brant had four hits and four RBI. Ryan Parker had three hits and three RBI. Brad Davidson earned his first win of the year.

Southwest Missouri State 8 Iowa 7 (12 innings) (Box)
Iowa catcher Kris Welker was two for five.

Michigan 1 #10 North Carolina 0 (Box)
For the second day in a row, OF Matt Butler drove home the winning run. Butler's lone RBI today, was his second straight game winner versus a top ten opponent.

Michigan State 19 Brown 7 (Box)
MSU's Erik Morris had four hits and three RBI. Adam Tripp had three hits and stole two bases. Tony Clausen drove in four Spartan runs on three hits. Craig Brookes went four innings to claim the win.

Pepperdine 15 Minnesota 2 (Box)
The Gophers closed out the Dairy Queen Classic at 1-2. I should have more details on this game later.

Cal State Northridge 11 Northwestern 8 (Box)
Jon Mikrut and Antonio Mule hit homers, but the Wildcats lost a shootout. John Voita hit two homers for the Matadors, driving in three. Jeff Tezak had four hits in five at bats for the winners.

Arizona State 3 Ohio State 0 (Box)
Dan DeLucia allowed only one run in six innings of work, posting the second strong pitching performance in a row for the Bucks, but ASU's pitching was just a bit better. Pat Bresenhan got his first win for the Sun Devils. Cody Caughenbaugh had two OSU hits.

#17 Mississippi 13 Purdue 6 (Box)
Freshman SS Zach Cozart hit a grandslam for Ole Miss. Anthony Cupps (3-1) won the game for the Rebels. Andy Dahl had three hits for the Boilers. A.J. Prickel and Eric Wolfe each had two runs batted in for Purdue.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Saturday Recap

Southwest Missouri State 8 Iowa 6 (Box)
L.J. Mims had two hits and two of the Hawkeyes RBI. Zach Harris had three hits and Matt Weglarz had three RBI for SWMS. The series concludes with the rubber game on Sunday afternoon.

Michigan 6 #8 Georgia 4 (Box)
Matt Butler hit a walkoff two run homer to lead Michigan over the eighth ranked Bulldogs. Kyle Bohm had three more hits and Chris Getz had two hits, scored a run and drove in another for the Wolverines. Drew Taylor notched the win in relief. Clayton Richard, Michigan's back-up quarterback, made his college debut. Richard pitched a scoreless inning, allowing one hit.

As a bonus, Baseball America's Michael Walby took photos of the game. has a photo gallery here.

North Florida 12 Michigan State 4 (Box)
A.J. Tripp went 2 for 4 with a homerun and driving in two of the Spartans four runs. I can't find a boxscore, yet. I'll post it when I do.

Ohio State 2 #10 North Carolina 1 (Box)
The Buckeyes posted the Big Ten's other big upset at the Keith LeClair Classic. The victory over UNC was OSU's first over a top 25 opponent since 2003. In a game dominanted by pitching, Trent Luyster went six innings, allowing only one run and yielding only a single walk, to claim the win. Trey Fausnaugh pitched 2.2 innings to get the save. Buckeye CF Matt Angle was the only player on either squad to get more than one safety. Angle was 2 for 2.

Minnesota 3 #5 South Carolina 0 (Bottom of the first inning)
Jake Elder has a RBI double and Andy Hunter followed him with a two run double and the Gophers have moved out in front of the fifth ranked Gamecocks.

For those wondering, I haven't been able to track down a Northwestern-Cal State Northridge, Indiana-Centenary or Illinois-Texas Pan American update. I'll try again later.

With two huge upsets over nationally ranked opposition, this has been a big day for the Big Ten. BTH congratulates both Michigan and Ohio State on their triumphs today. We also hope the Gophers can make it three-for-three in posting upset wins.

#5 South Carolina 7 Minnesota 3 (Top of the fifth inning)
The Gamecocks come roaring back with three runs in the second, two each in the third and fourth to pull ahead of the Golden Gophers.

Cal State Northridge 16 Northwestern 0 (Box)
Probably the less said about this one, the better. OF Michael Paulk knocked out two homers and drove in five for the winners.

Northwestern 9 Cal State Northridge 5 (Box)
Pat McMahon goes yard twice for the Wildcats. George Kontos moved his record to 2-1 with the win.

Illinois 3 Texas-Pan American 0 (Box)
Brian Blomquist, who was the conference's pitcher of the week, tossed a complete game shutout. Blomquist yielded only one walk and two hits. The righthander is now 2-0. Toby Gardenhire drove in two Illini' runs.

Centenary 11 Indiana 3 (Box)
Corby Heckman had three more hits and two RBI, but IU fell to the Gents. Joe Kemp continued his strong play with two more hits. Justin Darr had three RBI for Centenary.

#5 South Carolina 13 Minnesota 6 (Box)
A disappointing home loss for the Gophers. Steven Tolleson had four hits for the Gamecocks. Zac McCamie overcame the three run first for Minnesota to pitch six innings while striking out eight Gopher batters. McCamie is now 4-0 on the year.

#17 Mississippi 20 Purdue 7 (Box)
Stephen Head, the starter and winner for Ole Miss, went two for four with four RBI and scored three runs. Head and teammate Brian Pettway, who also had four RBI, each hit their fourth homeruns of the year. Mitch Hilligoss went four for five and scored twice in the Purdue loss.