Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Catching Up On The Weekend

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.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Friday Scores

I don't have all the final totals yet, but here are the scores as of this moment. Click on the links for recaps of each contest.

Wake Forest 6 Ohio State 2
Iowa 12 Austin Peay 10
UAB 5 Michigan 4
Charlotte 11 Indiana 3
East Carolina 4 Penn State 3
Florida State 5 Minnesota 0
Louisville 11 Northwestern 0 Game 1
Northwestern 5 Lousiville 4 Game 2

If time allows, I'll elaborate on these games later. Suffice to say, it wasn't a great day for the Big Ten. However, it's only the first of many more games.

Before I depart, a quick shout out to David at Swampball.com for providing a link here in his preview of tomorrow's Ohio State vs. #1 Florida tilt. Thanks, David.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Gang's All Here

All ten conference schools take to the field this weekend. Bob Todd's Ohio State squad looks to have the most daunting challenge ahead, Wake Forest, #1 Florida and #12 Missouri, but a number of Big Ten baseball programs face some difficult competition to open the 2006 season.

Here's a look at the games with some links tossed in for your enjoyment. A great number of these games will be available via GameTracker and some are being broadcast on the 'net. (For Big Ten baseball homepages, look in the sidebar to the right.)

Wake Forest vs. Ohio State
Big weekend for Buckeyes begins with Deamon Deacons. Wake freshman Dustin Hood is hitting .455 with posting a .500 mark in both on base and slugging percentage. Matt Antonelli has gone yard twice and is slugging at a .667 clip. I'm guessing OSU will go with LHP Dan DeLucia in the opener.

Iowa @ Austin Peay
Here's the Hawkeye preview of the weekend. Baseball America tabs Austin Peay as the Ohio Valley conference winner this year. They also project APSU lefty Rowdy Hardy as the OVC Player of the Year. The name alone merits him some recognition.

UAB vs. Michigan
Wolverines open 2006 with Blazers. LHP Drew Taylor is scheduled to take the hill for Rich Maloney's team. Many will be wacthing for the debut of herladed freshman Zach Putnam.

Indiana @ Charlotte
Three game set marks the beginning of Tracy Smith's reign as IU head coach.

Penn State @ East Carolina (Friends of ECU Baseball, Unofficial ECU site)
Nittany Lions open up vs. ECU in first of three. PSU's Lance Thompson gets a chance to defend his conference player of the week award.

Minnesota @ # 6 Florida State (Section B, Unofficial FSU site)
Gophers travel to play three with #6 Seminoles. If OSU's three games aren't the most challenging for the Big Ten, then Minnesota's series with always strong FSU are. Brian Bull is scheduled to start for Minnesota. FSU counters with RHP Bryan Henry (2-0).

Illinois @ Stetson
Dan Hartleb begins his tenure as Illini head man vs. Hatters. All Big Ten starter Brian Blomquist will pitch the season opener for Illinois. Watch out for Stetson, they are a potential tournament team.

Michigan State @ Lamar
Spartans open '06 with four games in the Lone Star State. MSU's David Grewe is another Big Ten skipper making his debut this weekend.

Purdue @ Louisiana-Lafayette
Boilermakers get a weekend of Cajun cookin' to begin the new year. Look for Jay Buente to start on the mound for Purdue.

Northwestern @ Louisville
Cardinals host Wildcats in a Friday doubleheader and a single game Saturday. George Kontos will take the mound for NU in Game 1. Dan Brauer should be Game Two's starter for the Wildcats.

Michigan State @ Lamar (Game 1)
Michigan State @
Arkansas State (Game 2)

Illinois vs. South Florida
Jake Toohey is Coach Hartleb's choice in game two. USF took two of three from Northwestern last weekend.

Iowa vs. Illinois State
ISU has two Baseball America all-conference selections: 1B Kyle O'Brien and SS Ryan Antesberger.

Michigan vs. Troy
Michigan will go with another lefthander on Saturday, Paul Hammond.

Ohio State vs. #1 Florida
OSU sophomore LHP Cory Luebke is the likely starter against the top team in the land. Florida is just plain loaded.

Purdue vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Brett Courdon is scheduled to be the Boilers' second starter.

Penn State vs. #18 North Carolina State

Minnesota @ #6 Florida State
It's Cole DeVries (Minnesota) vs. Michael Hyde (FSU) in the second tilt.

Northwestern @ Louisville
RHP Ryan Myers is due to start this game for NU. Cards have a heralded freshman in 3B Chris Dominguez.

Indiana vs. Charlotte

Illinois vs. Western Carolina
WCU OF Steven Strausbaugh is a pre-season all-conference selection. Illini RHP Scott Shaw should take the mound in the finale of the three game set.

Iowa vs. Dayton
Flyers doubleplay combo Galen Schumm and Michael Massa were named to Baseball America's all-Atlantic 10 conference team.

Michigan vs. South Alabama

Ohio State vs.
#12 Missouri

Michigan State vs.

Purdue vs.
Kansas State
Dan Sattler is the probable starter for Purdue.

Penn State vs. West Virginia

Minnesota @. #6 Florida State
The finale has Dustin Brabender against FSU's Barrett Browning.

Indiana @ Charlotte

That's it for previews. I've got other things to attend to, so I must move on. For next weekend, I'm going to look at altering this format some, probably sticking more to links. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the first big weekend of action for Big Ten baseball. Thanks for stopping in.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Heading Into Sunday

Penn State has dropped both games to Tulane, 9-4 on Friday, 11-0 today. (PSU recaps, Tulane recaps.) The Nittany Lions did outhit the Green Wave Friday evening, 13-9, but still came out on the short end. PSU OF Lance Thompson paced the Lions offense with three hits and a RBI. RF Brian Ernst also had three hits for PSU.

2B Brad Emaus homered and had three RBI for Tulane in the opener. Green Wave redshirt freshman OF Warren McFadden had two hits and three RBI, as well. Alan Stidfole took the loss, Brandon Gomes notched the victory.

Today's contest was dominated by Tulane RHP Sean Morgan. The sophomore struck out a career high eleven batters in six innings of work. The Wave also pounded out 15 hits. Cat Everett continued his strong start collecting three safties in Saturday's affair. (Note to self: Tulane is good. Very good.)

Nittany Lions' catcher James Spinelli was the bright spot on offense with two hits. PSU's Mark Wyner took the loss. (My apologies, Mark. PSU doesn't provide a link to your bio as of yet.)

On a happier note, Northwestern has a chance to win their series tomorrow. The Wildcats have split their two contests against VCU. (NU game one recap.) NU dropped the opener, 4-3. VCU's Scott Sizemore's two out double in the bottom of the ninth won it for the Rams.

Wildcats' DH Antonio Mule continued his fast start, hitting his second homer of the year. NU's George Kontos went seven innings allowing five hits and walking four. He allowed two runs, but only a single run was earned. Kontos didn't figure in the decision, Dan Schwartz took the loss, and wasn't the pitching story of game one. That belonged to Virginia Commenwealth's Harold Mozingo.

The Rams hurler fanned thirteen NU batters in seven innings. Mozingo yielded four hits and all three Wildcat runs. In spite of his prodigious strike out total, Mozingo didn't get a decision, either. The win went the reliever Brett Walker who only faced two batters.

Rams' LF Kwan Evans' three hits, including a round tripper, topped the VCU attack in the opening game of the three game set.

In game two, Northwestern scored twice in the ninth inning and three more in the tenth to topple VCU, 6-5. Centerfielder Aaron Newman led the offensive charge with three hits and two RBI for Northwestern. Jake Owens, Jake Wilson and Tommy Finn each had two hits a piece for NU.

The win went to Wildcat reliever Andrew Smith who pitched four innings. Starter Dan Brauer went five innings fanning seven and relinquishing only one run. Schwartz notched his first save of 2006. VCU starter John Leonard, like Brauer, also went five and struck out seven. The loss went to Rams' reliever Jared Bolden.

Sizemore remained a pain for NU pitchers in game two. The secondbaseman had two triples and scored three times. (Note: Sizemore is good. Very good.) Tim St. Clair also homered for the Rams.

Both the PSU vs. Tulane and NU vs. VCU series wrap up tomorrow.

I wouldn't count on me providing such link filled recaps on a regular basis, but I had the time today and college baseball players need all the publicity they can get. Even if its only a tiny blog like this one.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A Look At The Weekend

Two Big Ten schools have games this weekend. Northwestern continues on with a three game set against Virginia Commonwealth. Penn State's season begins with a visit to New Orleans to take on #9 Tulane.

The Wildcats (1-2) have a tough battle with VCU (2-0) beginning Friday night. The Rams feature all-conference 2B Scott Sizemore. Sizemore (.364/12/56) is considered by some to be the front runner for the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year. Sergio Miranda, Sizemore's doubleplay partner, was also named a pre-season All CAA player by Baseball America.

RHP Harlod Mozingo (1-0) should probably take to the hill in Game 1. Mozingo was named BA's Pitcher of the Year and is also considered the best pitching prospect in the CAA. Northwestern will probably counter with George Kontos.

NU's Antonio Mule hit .400 versus South Florida last week earning the sophomore the Big Ten Player of the Week honor. Mule's teammate, Dan Schwartz was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week for his win over USF.

The Nittany Lions season begins with a three game series versus the Green Wave (3-1). The series should be quite a test for Robbie Wine's squad, as Tulane is ranked as high as ninth nationally (NCBWA poll) and, in spite of their youth, clearly look like a tournament team again in 2006. The Green Wave squad also has the advantage of having four games under their belt including a victory over defending national champion, Texas. Not that they need any extra help.

Tulane is led offensively by three Baseball America pre-season all-conference selections: Mark Hamilton (1B), Brad Emaus (3B) and Nathan Southard (OF). The Wave can also boast of incoming freshman, Aja Barto (OF) who BA selected as it's Conference USA Freshman of the Year. Sophomore 2B Cat Everett has started '06 on fire. Everett is pacing the Green Wave with a .429 average through the first four contests.

Tulane doesn't lack for pitching promise, either. Sean Morgan went 6-1 with five saves a year ago and is another potential all-conference choice. Closer Daniel Latham led C-USA in saves last season with 13. He has already earned two saves this year. Stephen Porlier (7.0 IP), Billy Mohl (7.0 IP) and Trey Martin (4.0) have each earned a win in '06 and all three have an ERA of 0.00.

There is also a fan run site for Tulane baseball. WaveBaseball.com provides tons of coverage as does the official team site (link in first paragraph).

While Penn State is projected to finish in the bottom half of the Big Ten, there are reasons of optimism in Happy Valley. PSU has, on paper, a decent enough offense. Matt Lewis, Lance Thompson, Joe Blackburn and Scott Gummo had fine seasons in '05. Alan Stidfole (6-4) returns to anchor the Lions staff.

The series will be broadcast on the internet with a link at PSU's site. Gametracker is available for the series, as well.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Nittany Lions Preview

Corey McLauglin, of The Digital Collegian, takes a look at Penn State's squad heading into this weekend's opening series versus Tulane.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Wildcats Win In Extra Innings

In a game dominated by pitching and a lengthy rain delay, Northwestern collected it's first triumph of 2006. The Wildcats beat South Florida, 2-0, in thirteen innings Saturday afternoon. Dan Brauer started for the 'Cats (1-1) and went five innings allowing only one hit and fanning eight Bulls batters. Brauer was followed by Andrew Smith who pitched another five innings of three hit ball. Dan Schwartz went the final three allowing only a single safety to earn the win.

USF (1-1) sent five hurlers to the mound and struck out fifteen NU hitters, but couldn't muster any offense. Wildcats' 2B Jake Owens had hit second straight two hit contest to pace NU's offense. Geoff Dietz and Stanley Finch had an RBI a piece. (Boxscore)

The final game of the weekend series is slated for Sunday afternoon.

Wildcats Fall To USF, 5-2

Northwestern lost it's season opener to South Florida, 5-2, Friday night. (Here is the boxscore.)Ty Taborelli and Mike Consolmagno each drove in a pair of runs for USF. Jake Owens had two hits for the 'Cats.

Casey Hudspeth fanned ten NU batters and picked up the win. George Kontos, NU's starter, struck out six Bulls, but took the loss. The two teams play game two of their three game set this afternoon at Red McEwen Field.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

NU Opens Season Tomorrow

Northwestern will begin its 2006 campaign Friday with a game against South Florida. The Wildcats site provides this preview of their opener. The Bulls official site provides this brief look at the first game and attaches a PDF link for more information. The Adobe file is loaded with quality information. The game is the first of a three game weekend series between the two clubs.

As usual, the Friday night affair could be a very good pitching match-up. Casey Hudspeth is USF's starter while George Kontos counters for the 'Cats. The first pitch is slated for around 7:00pm tomorrow night. Unfortunately, it does not appear as their will be any radio, television or gametracker available.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

New Additions At Indiana

Jake Brown, of the Indiana Daily Student, pens this piece on Indiana new head coach, Tracy Smith. This is Smith's initial campaign with the Hoosiers.

In other baseball news from Bloomington, Smith has added two players from big time programs. Tad Reida and Brett Sager will play for IU this season after playing at Wichita State and LSU, respectively.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Clemens Award Watch List Announced

Apparently, today is the day I find out about "Watch Lists". First, the NCBWA Stopper of the Year, now the Roger Clemens Award Watch List. The Clemens Award Watch List has been out a while, but I didn't see any mention of it. I probably never caught wind of it because no Big Ten pitcher made the list.

I'm kind of surprised that Illinois' Brian Blomquist didn't garner some pre-season love from the Clemens Award committee, but such is the life of a Big Ten hurler. I'd encourage you to check out the list even without any arms from our area.

A side note, USC's Ian Kennedy is pitching tonight against fellow Clemens Award nominee Jared Hughes of Long Beach State.

Meister Makes Watch List

The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association has released its Stopper of the Year Watch List. Rory Meister of Ohio State is the only Big Ten closer to garner a pre-season nod from the NCBWA. Here is the Buckeyes press release regarding Meister's recognition.

This Weekend

Baseball America's Will Kimmey previews the weekend match-ups. Of this weekend's games, the series I most look forward to is Cal State Fullerton @ Stanford. It's the kind of baseball battle, between two tradition powers, that made me a college baseball fan way back when. Besides, I like the Cardinal program.

The USC vs. Long Beach State series, with the Dirtbags hosting two of three, is probably the most significant match-up. Two ranked teams battling in an early season home and home and home series.

I feel for LBSU's Evan Longoria. Although one of the country's top players, being only one letter removed from comparisons to a Desperate Housewife must make life difficult.

The Rosenblatt Report's Kendall Rogers also provides a look ahead to this weekend's hardball action. He thinks the Tennessee vs. Florida Atlantic confrontation might be the best of the bunch.