Yes, I'm running behind. My apologies for that. It's not like I've gone totally blogging nuts. I still have some life sans Blogger. Anyway, to my loyal readers, I am sorry for not being more timely. Regardless, let's see if I can get a handle on what happened around the Big Ten this past weekend.
Clearly, Iowa was the Big Ten's big winner over the weekend. The Hawkeyes charged out of the gate at 3-0. Jack Dahm's squad dropped host Austin Peay, then Illinois State and finally Dayton to capture the Austin Peay Tournament.
CF Nate Price went six for fifteen, scored four times, drove in five and stole three bases to lead the Hawkeyes potent offense. Travis Sweet had six hits in fourteen at bats scored four times and had five RBI. Tim Gudex got off to a strong start, as well. The Iowa closer notched his first win and initial save of 2006 during the three game set.
Around the rest of the conference, Purdue split their opening weekend of games. The Boilermakers beat Louisiana-Lafayette, but lost to Kansas State. Purdue starter Jay Buente's eleven strikeout performance against ULL earned him the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week Award. The righthander went eight innings giving up three hits and three walks, but only a single run.
Ohio State fell to 1-2 with losses to Wake Forest and (then) #1 Florida before earning their first win, a 4-2 triumph over Missouri. Freshman J.B. Shuck went seven innings on Sunday allowing only three hits, an earned run, fanning six and yielding only a single walk. OSU reliever Rory Meister claimed the save over the Tigers.
Both Northwestern and Michigan came out of the gate at 1-2. NU dropped two of three to Louisville. Antonio Mule continued his strong start hitting .400 over the weekend for the Wildcats.
The Wolverines fell to UAB Friday, then split a Sunday doubleheader. South Alabama beat Michigan in Game 1, but Rich Maloney's team rebounded to defeat Troy in Game 2. OF Doug Pickens led Michigan's attack and garnered the Big Ten's Player of the Week honor. Pickens went five for eleven in the three games including his first homer and a GWRBI vs. Troy.
Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota and Penn State all went without a win. Lars Davis went seven for eleven with six RBI in the Illini's three defeats. 2B Ryan Hastings returned to the Illinois lineup, after missing all of '05, and had five hits over the three games.
Jay Brant began this year as he did last year, hitting. The IU leftfielder went yard twice over the weekend and had a three hit affair on Saturday. Michigan State's Adam Tripp probably had the Spartans highlight this weekend. The junior had two hits, including his first homer of the season, with three RBI and two runs scored on Saturday.
The Gophers fell in three straight to #6 Florida State. Gophers 1B Andy Hunter did collect six hits in eleven at bats, but it wasn't enough to help Minnesota avoid a sweep in Tallahassee. Penn State fell to 0-6 this season. OF Lance Thompson is still hitting, six for eleven in three games, but PSU's defense seems to be a problem so far.
Not a great weekend for the Big Ten. Some did earn strength of schedule points, (especially the Gophers and Buckeyes) but a few more win would have helped the conference come tournament time. However, last weekend is over and the next one is on the horizon. Perhaps, some better results will appear.