Monday, April 30, 2007

The All-Weekend Team

What a weekend for offense! Even as you read this edition of the Big Ten Hardball All-Weekend Team, I'm probably editing the list. In light of the prodigious output, I've made a few concessions. I'm sure you'll note them as you read along. Please save all your questions until the end.

Catcher - Dusty Napoleon, Iowa (8/18, 7 R, 6 RBI, 2B, HR, 3 BB, SB)
Firstbase1 - Bryan Jost, Minnesota (6/16, 9 R, 4 RBI, 2 2B, HR, 3 BB)
Firstbase2 - Nate Recknagel, Michigan (7/15, 6 R, 6 RBI, 3 2B, HR, 3 BB)
Secondbase - Ryan Hastings, Illinois (6/12, 5 R, 3 RBI, 2B, 3B, HR, 2 BB, SB)
Shortstop - Dan Lyons, Minnesota (8/15, 10 R, 6 RBI, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 3 BB, SB)
Thirdbase - Nate Hanson, Minnesota (9/17, 6 R, 6 RBI, 2B, 2 HR)
Outfield - Eric Rose, Michigan (8/15, 6 R, 13 RBI, 2B, 3B, HR, 2 BB, 3 SB)
Outfield - Mike Mee, Minnesota (8/17, 7 R, 7 RBI, 2B, HR, 2 BB)
Outfield - Travis Sweet, Iowa (10/17, 11 R, 7 RBI, 3 2B, 3 HR, 6 BB)
Designated Hitter - Ryne White, Purdue (9/14, 6 R, 5 RBI, 3B, HR, SB)

Bench - Jason Christian, Michigan (7/16, 11 R, 4 RBI, 2 2B, 4 BB, 2 SB)
Bench - Ryan Snowden, Illinois (8/16, 4 R, 3 RBI, 2B, 3B, HR, BB, SB)
Bench - Jon Fixler, Indiana (5/13, 2 R, 9 RBI, 2B, HR, BB, SB)
Bench - Jake Owens, Northwestern (9/17, 4 R, 6 RBI, 2B, 3B, 2 BB)
Bench - Kevin Hoef, Iowa (8/17, 8 R, 4 RBI, 2B, SB)
Bench - Jason White, Iowa (8/23, 7 R, 4 RBI, 2 2B, 3B, HR)
Bench - Kevin Cislo, Michigan (6/13, 5 R, 5 RBI, 2 BB, SB)
Bench - Mike Kalina, Northwestern (6/15, 3 R, 8 RBI, HR, BB)
Bench - Ben Geelan, Iowa (4/11, 4 R, 8 RBI, 2B, 3B, HR, 3 BB)
Bench - Zach Putnam, Michigan (5/17, 2 R, 8 RBI, 2 2B, BB; W vs. MSU w/9 K's)

Pitcher - Cory Luebke, Ohio State (9.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K in win over Purdue)
Pitcher - Matt Bischoff, Purdue (7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K in win over OSU)
Pitcher - Mike Wilson, Michigan (7.0 IP 2 H, o R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K in win over MSU)
Pitcher - Craig Clark, Penn State (7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K in win over IU)
Pitcher - Matt Bashore, Indiana (7.0 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K in win over PSU)
Relief - Trey Fausnaugh, Ohio State (2 APP, 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K in win and save vs. Purdue)

I could have easily limited my hitters to Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota players and still had too many to chose from. Guys like Caleb Curry, Doug Pickens and Matt Nohelty all had weekends that might garner them my weekly recognition, but this was not your typical weekend.

No, I couldn't decide between Recknagel and Jost. Truth be told, I had Ryne White as my third 1B on the original draft, but moved the Boilers slugger into the DH slot. It made me look (slightly) more decisive.

I can see why Rose, Sweet and Luebke claimed Player of the Week honors. I was actually comforted by the fact the conference office couldn't make up their mind, either.

I'm more than ready to admit that I may have inadvertently skipped a pitcher. After running through all those big batting figures, I probably overlooked a deserving arm. Although, the six I've selected had extremely good outings. Between them they allowed only six walks and three earned runs in 32.1 innings. That's made more impressive in light of the pinball scoring that occurred.

As always, let's keep three things in mind. First, my math could be wrong. (This isn't a stat heavy blog for a reason.) Second, the team is entirely arbitrary. (I'm thinking most of you know that by now.) Third, if you know of someone I missed, drop me a note. (Hey, it worked last week.)

Update (5/9/07): A reader points out I gave Travis Sweet credit for only two homers, when he hit three. Sorry, Travis. The change, albeit tardy, has been made.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunday's Touchdowns And Other Scores

Another day of conference action, another day of remarkable offensive production. Oh, am I going to have trouble picking an All-Weekend side this week. I'll have to review nearly everyone's stats for three days. Wait a minute. You don't care about how many box scores I have to review. You just want baseball talk. Have it your way, then. Here's what happened today.

Michigan 21 Michigan State 9 (box)
In a score that looks more like an October meeting on the gridiron, Michigan swept the weekend series from MSU. U of M's Eric Rose's big weekend continued with a three hit, four run, five RBI, stolen base game. Jason Chrisitan had two hits, four runs and three RBI. Doug Pickens homered and drove in three. Needless to say, a number of the Maize and Blue had big days.

Brandon Doherty, Sean Walker and Kyle Day each drove in a pair of runs for the Spartans. Michigan's Ben Jenzen won the game in relief.

Minnesota 15 Illinois 6 (box)
Gophers' LF Mike Mee went 4 for 4 with three runs scored and three RBI. Dan Lyons added three hits, four runs scored and two RBI. Nate Hanson and Mee both homered for Minnesota. Dustin Braebender (5-1) was the beneficiary of the Gophers Sunday production. Illinois' OF Ryan Snowden continued his bid for first team All-Conference notice with a three hit, two run, two RBI performance. Snowden's three hits were a double, triple and homer.

Iowa 14 Northwestern 10 (box)
The Hawkeyes two touchdowns powered Iowa to a sweep of NU. It's the Hawkeyes first conference sweep in sixteen years. Ben Geelan had five RBI on two hits, including a homer. Travis Sweet also went yard for Iowa amongst his three hits. Sweet also scored twice and drove in three. NU's Antonio Mule had two hits, three RBI, two runs scored and hit his sixth homerun. Nick Erdman (4-2) posted the win.

Ohio State 6 Purdue 3 (box)
Taking three of four from Purdue lifted the Buckeyes into third place in the Big Ten. J.B. Shuck (3-1) scattered five hits and two walks over seven innings. Trey Fausnaugh came in to close the closest thing to a pitcher's duel in the conference today. All-Big Ten 2B Jason Zoeller had two hits, his sixth homer, two runs and two RBI. Eric Fryer had two hits and two RBI.

Eric Osborn and Kyle Reesing both went yard for Purdue.

Indiana 8 Penn State 7 (box)
IU's Jon Fixler had four RBI on two hits. Andrew Means had three hits, two runs scored and his twenty-first stolen base. Chris Squires' 3.2 innings of relief earned him his first win of the year. PSU DH Rob Yodice had three RBI on two hits.

After this weekend of football scores, here's what we've got.

1. Michigan 14-1
2. Minnesota 12-3
T3. Ohio State 11-7
T3. Penn State 11-7
5. Iowa 10-8
6. Illinois 8-10
7. Purdue 8-11
8. Michigan State 6-12
9. Indiana 6-14
10. Northwestern 3-16

If the season ended today, Purdue, Michigan State, Indiana and Northwestern would be out of the conference tournament field. However, the Boilers are clearly still in the hunt. I also believe the Spartans and Hoosiers can play their way back into post-season eligibility. It seems NU's young 'Cats have dug themselves a pretty deep hole to emerge from.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Leaders Keep Pace

While scoreboards were changing frequently around the conference, the Big Ten standings didn't change much Saturday. The leaders kept pace with each other. Here's an overview. Please note that the boxscore links are primarily to GameTracker.

Michigan 8 Michigan State 0 (game one box)

Michigan 10 Michigan State 4 (game two box)
Mike Wilson tosses the shutout for U of M in the opener. Wilson allowed only two hits, walked three and fanned four. Nate Recknagel went yard and drove in two. Eric Rose was 3 for 3 with two RBI. Doug Pickens was also a perfect 3 for 3.

In game two, Eric Rose homered and drove in five. (A grand slam, perhaps? I can't tell on Gametracker.) Adam Abraham was 4 for 4. Chris Berset had two hits and two RBI. Andrew Hess improved to 6-0. Sean Walker led the Spartans offense with two hits, two runs and two RBI. One of Walker's hits was a homerun.

Minnesota 19 Illinois 4 (game one box)
Minnesota 14 Illinois 5 (5th)
Nate Hanson led the Gophers hit parade in game one. Hanson went 5 for 5 with four runs scored and drove in three. Hanson homered amongst his five safties. Kyle Baran and Derek McCallum also drove in three runs a piece. Gary Perniar benefited from the Minnesota offensive charge and posted his third win.

Game two is still being played. Minnesota is still not having much trouble scoring runs in Champaign.

Penn State 6 Indiana 2 (game one box)
Indiana 3 Penn State 1 (game two box)
Craig Clark pitched a seven inning complete game. Clark gave up six hits and no walks. Scott Gaffney homered and drove in three runs for the Nittany Lions. Matt Cavagnaro, Brian Ernst and Gaffney each had two hits a piece. IU's Keith Haas had two hits, as well.

The Hoosiers captured the finale of the twinbill behind freshman Matt Bashore. Bashore (4-4) tossed a seven inning complete game. He scattered nine hits and three walks while striking out four. Jon Fixler's homer and two RBI led the IU offense. Rick Marlin had two hits and the lone PSU RBI.

Purdue 16 Ohio State 0 (game one box)
Ohio State 3 Purdue 2 (game two box)
Boilermakers All-Big Ten 1B Ryne White led the barrage in game one. White went 4 for 5 with four runs scored and four RBI. White, Eric Osborn and Drew Madia each went yard. Matt Bischoff tossed a four hit, seven inning, complete game shutout. The frosh also fanned five Buckeyes. Eric Fryer's two hits were the highlight of OSU's output.

OSU freshman Ryan Dew had a pair of hits in the finale. Fellow first year players Cory Kovanda and Cory Ruppert each had a RBI each. Trey Fausnaugh earned the win in relief and Jake Hale posted save number ten. Jeff Mojzik was 3 for 4 (he was 2 for 2 in the opener) and drove in one of the two Purdue runs. Jon Moore had two hits and the other RBI.

Iowa 15 Northwestern 10 (game one box)
Iowa 13 Northwestern 8 (game two box)
The Hawkeyes bats continue to be red hot. Kyle Riffel was 3 for 3 with three RBI and two runs scored. Travis Sweet had two hits, including a homer, scored three times and drove in two. Dusty Napoleon had two hits, two runs and two RBI. (No word on who was credited with the win, thus I'm not providing the info, either.) NU countered with Max Mann's two homer, four RBI and two run game. Mike Kalina was 3 for 3 with two RBI.

In the nightcap of the slugfest, Iowa's Justin Toole and Ben Geelan each drove in three runs. Jason White and Dusty Napoleon homered. George Rasiarmos won his first game of '07. NU's Mike Kalina had three hits, including a homer, three RBI and two runs scored. Freshman catcher Chad Noble homered and drove in three.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Semi-Live Friday Blogging

In between watching the Twins/Tigers game and wondering just how badly the Detroit Lions are going to screw up their selections in tomorrow's NFL Draft, I'm watching Game Tracker of the Michigan at Michigan State game this evening.

The Wolverines lead 5-4 in the bottom of the fourth. I also saw on the CSTV crawl that Illinois is up on Minnesota early, 3-0. I think it was the third inning. Zach Putnam, Michigan's starting pitcher, has just doubled in two more runs. It's 7-4, Michigan. It's about 7:34 pm.

7:38 pm The scoreboard crawl also indicates the Penn State has beat Indiana, 6-4. The Nittany Lions appear to be in ready to stay in the conference tournament hunt for the long haul. I'll try to provide a link to today's game.

7:40pm Ohio State won the opener of their series at Purdue, 6-2. A nice road win for the Buckeyes. Cory Luebke pitched a complete game allowing both Boilermaker runs on seven hits, no walks and struck out seven Purdue batters. Matt Angle, Cory Kovanda and Justin Miller had three hits a piece. Jacob Howell drove in two runs. Ryne White had two hits, a run and a RBI for Purdue.

7:46 pm Here's the PSU link to today's game against IU. Scott Kelley homered, drove in two and scored twice to lead Penn State. Jim Leitgeb had a pair of hits, two RBI and scored one. Seth Whitehill notched win number four, Drew O'Neil posted save number six.

7:50pm It's still Michigan, 7-4. The game has moved to the bottom of the fifth.

8:01pm Did I mention that Jon Fixler drove in three of IU's runs vs. PSU? Sorry about that. Keith Haas was two for two, scored twice and walked three times. That's pretty much exactly what you want from your leadoff hitter, isn't it?

8:05pm A quick trip to the Iowa site reveals the Hawkeyes thumped Northwestern, 16-6. Kevin Hoef had three hits, three RBI and scored twice. Travis Sweet had three hits, including a homer, scored four runs, drove in two and walked three times. Obviously, when you score 16, a number of players were productive. Check out the link to see all the big, crooked numbers.

8:12pm Nate Recknagel gets a sac fly, Michigan is up 8-4.

8:15pm Northwestern's Jake Goebbert, a freshman firstbaseman that's moved into the Wildcats' clean-up spot, went 3 for 4 with a run and a RBI. Antonio Mule cranked out his fifth homer of the year. Iowa's Mike Jacobs picked up the win in relief.

8:20pm I love the new GameTracker feature that allows you to view multiple game at once. No, it's not like watching TV, but it's a big step-up from what little coverage college baseball has had over the years.

8:23pm With this new feature, I see Illinois is still leading Minnesota. It's 6-3 heading to the top of the fifth. The Gophers have been charged with three errors thus far. Both sides have six hits.

8:25pm Derek VanBuskirk doubled home Adam Abraham and Michigan has upped it's lead to 9-4.

8:37pm Minnesota has cut Illinois' lead to 6-5. Things are getting interesting in Champaign.

8:42pm Michigan State has plated three in their half of the seventh and it's now 9-7 in East Lansing. Lots of tight games emerging.

8:45pm The Spartans still have only one out in the bottom of seven. There is also a runner on. Ben Jenzen is coming out of Michigan's pen.

9:00pm MSU is down only one, 9-8.

9:10pm Illinois scores four in their half of the sixth and now lead Minnesota, 10-5.

9:25pm Michigan has scored two in the top of the ninth to extend their lead to 11-8 over MSU.

9:38pm It appears to be over in East Lansing. (Remember, it is GameTracker. Sometimes it's hard to tell for sure the game is over.) If it has gone final, Michigan prevails, 11-8.

9:42pm They are heading for the top of the ninth in Champaign. The Gophers are down to their last three outs trailing, 10-5.

9:44pm GameTracker indicates the Gophers went 1-2-3 in their last at bat. Illinois wins a big home game over Minnesota.

That's all for tonight's blogging. Thanks for stopping in. It appears the weather may cooperate in Big Ten country for the second weekend in a row. If you can, get out to the ballpark near you.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

CSTV Profiles Illini's Hudson

University of Illinois two-sport star Kyle Hudson is featured in a piece by CSTV's Doug Kroll.

NCAA Releases It's RPI Numbers

Now, we can see the actual numbers. The NCAA has released it's official Ratings Percentage Index figures for college baseball. This is the first time the NCAA has released this data.

For those wanting to skip searching the entire list for your school, here is the Big Ten breakdown:

17. Minnesota
33. Michigan
72. Ohio State
88. Iowa
98. Penn State
119. Michigan State
147. Purdue
187. Illinois
191. Indiana
243. Northwestern

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Gophers Get Some Notice

Baseball America's Aaron Fitt had some nice things to say about Minnesota Golden Gophers. Fitt mentions the Gophers strong season and gives special attention to Mike Mee and Josh Oslin, to name just two.

The Big Ten has been getting lots of love the last several days. If the national media keeps this up, perhaps, I can head into an early retirement from college baseball blogging.

Illini Pics

Tom of The Baseball Zealot informs me he took pictures of last night's Eastern Illinois at Illinois game. I'm thinking Tom probably has lots of photos of Illini players. There's only one way to find out. Head over to Tom's photo album and see if any EIU players made the cut.

A Little Home Cookin'

I've mentioned here once or twice (or forty times) before, but many years ago Oakland University cashed some checks I wrote in return of a few semesters of higher education. As such, I have a soft spot for the Golden Grizzlies. Now, OU is primarily a basketball school (with apologies to the fine soccer and swimming programs), so when a baseball Grizzly nabs some national attention, it bears repeating. (No pun intended.)

OU senior firsbaseman Ryan Heath cranked out three, count 'em, three, grand slams in a Sunday doubleheader. Heath also added another homer for good measure, giving him four homers, a double, five runs scored and an incredible fourteen RBI. In two games! That amazing performance led to Heath being named the Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week. Heath's once in a lifetime twinbill also garnered him the Hitter of the Week Award from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

I don't care what level of baseball you are at, when you go 5 for 7 in a doubleheader with four homers, including three grand slams, and drive in fourteen runs, that's a mighty fine outing. One that deserves mentioning even if this is a Big Ten baseball weblog.

It's Stat Night At BTH

It's time for another rousing edition of Wednesday Night OPS. Today, er, tonight, we have nine participants in our weekly stat breakdown. Let's meet our players.

From the University of Illinois, our champion from last week (and the week before, and the week before that, and the week before that.....), we have Lars Davis with an OPS of 1.206. Lars is having such a good season he's even getting votes from someone on CSTV's National Player of the Year panel. Our next player, with an OPS of 1.123, is Nate Recknagel of the University of Michigan. The Wolverines star firstbaseman started a bit slow, homers aside, but has been collecting hits in bunches as of late. Our third OPS star is the Player of the Week in the Big Ten, the University of Iowa's Jason White. White's phenomenal weekend propelled his OPS to 1.116.

While he's re-taken the batting lead from Illinois' Davis, the University of Minnesota's Mike Mee is three spots behind Davis in OPS. The Gophers' OF is next at 1.104. Purdue University's Jordan Comadena checks in as our fifth leading OPS producer. Comadena's at 1.084. Another Hawkeye, catcher Dusty Napoleon, has made it through to our weekly list, again. Napoleon's season OPS is 1.063.

Firstbaseman Ryne White, our second Boilermaker, is the seventh member of Wednesday Night OPS fame. White has an OPS of 1.055. Our eighth participant is Iowa's Caleb Curry. If not for teammate Jason White, Curry may have been the Big Ten Player of the Week. Curry's strong weekend showing lifted his OPS to 1.023. The last spot amongst this week's players belongs to Michigan's Jason Christian. Christian has been a consistent member of this list and rounds out this week's edition with an on base plus slugging percentage of an even 1.000.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Adding Roof To The List

At the end of my All-Weekend Team post, I toss in an open invitation to nominate someone I missed. I've been cranking out the line for weeks to no avail. Either everyone agreed with my selections or they chose not to take me up on the offer to add a nominee. Until today.

I opened my email this afternoon to find a reader suggest I review the candidacy of Illinois shortstop Shawn Roof. Roof hit .500 (6 for 12) for the weekend with three doubles, five runs and two RBI. All solid numbers. In and of themselves, probably enough to merit a bench slot, but that's not the end of Roof's numbers.

The Illini infielder drew a walk and got plunked four times! He was hit by three pitches on Sunday alone. I'm in pain just thinking about it. Once Roof landed on base, and he did that at a .647 clip, he stole six of seven bases. Not surprisingly, Roof paces the Big Ten in both HBP (17) and steals (30). He leads both categories by healthy margins.

In light of this information, I have added Shawn Roof to the All-Weekend Team. Let this be a lesson to us all. We should be aware that I am more than capable of missing the utterly obvious. You should also note that I do take your All-Weekend Team suggestions seriously.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Welcome To The Party, NCBWA

The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association has finally seen fit to rank Michigan in its Top 30. While the Wolverines sneak into the NCBWA poll at number twenty-nine, at least they are in. Finally. Even the notoriously anti-northern school, Baseball America (I can feel an email coming in as I type that) had Michigan ranked before my NCBWA brethren saw fit to.

I also see that Minnesota and Ohio State garnered votes this week. I know it must pain you folks to have to vote for northern schools, but take some solace knowing you did the right thing. I don't care what any of them do the rest of the year, but all three merit votes at this moment.

Should I mention that Penn State sits in third place in the Big Ten and handed North Carolina a loss in Chapel Hill? I'm asking for too much, aren't I? (Since I'm asking for stuff, where is my NCBWA membership card? The season is almost over. No doubt it will get permanently lost in the mail after this post.)

Not only did the NCBWA relent, the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' poll conceded today and they included Michigan, as well. (Does ESPN really deserve to be associated with the coaches' poll? They don't even show up until tournament time. And don't even mention ESPNU. When it's in more than ten households, let me know. Yes, I'm hammering everyone tonight.) The writers and the coaches voted for Michigan? I say we make tomorrow a holiday.

Don't fret too much poll voters. Look on the positive side. If Big Ten programs can start competing with the traditional superpowers of college baseball, it will just bring more fans, more television ratings, more exposure and more money to the sport. Isn't that what we all want?

The Big Ten Is "IT"

I missed this post from Eric Sorenson, CSTV's baseball guru, on Thursday, but it is still worthy of sharing. Eric did a list of the "IT" things in college baseball. Well, guess who he selected as the "IT" conference?

- The IT conference: The Big 10 I'm not saying they've got the best win percentage or best RPI or anything, but this has been a great year for the Big 10ers. Michigan and Minnesota lead the way with a number of marquee wins. In a nutshell, everyone has improved significantly this season.

To quote the late Mel Allen, "How about that?!".

(Sorry, I missed that post, E. These adult responsibilities keep me from reading everything I should. At least that's the excuse I'm currently using.)

The All-Weekend Team

Some weeks, I have to really dig to find enough players to fill out the All-Weekend Team. This, however, was not one of those weeks. There were plenty of quality performances to choose from. The leader of the pack was Iowa's Jason White who didn't have a great weekend, he had a great career crammed into a weekend. A three homer game, including a walk-off shot, followed by hitting for the cycle? Are you kidding me? Without question the best performance by anybody during any weekend this season.

Catcher - Joe Blackburn, Penn State (7/13, 4 R, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 2B, SB)
Catcher - Lars Davis, Illinois (5/14, 3 R, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 2B, 2 HR)
Firstbase - Justin Miller, Ohio State (7/13, 3 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB)
Secondbase - Justin Toole, Iowa (7/10, 6 R, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 2B, 3B, SB)
Shortstop - Jason White, Iowa (11/18, 9 R, 9 RBI, 2B, 3B, 4 HR, SB)
Thirdbase - Tony Kennedy, Ohio State (6/11, 5 R, 5 RBI, 2B, SB)
Outfield - Mike Mee, Minnesota (10/16, 4 R, 8 RBI, 3 2B, HR, BB, SB)
Outfield - Caleb Curry, Iowa (7/15, 5 R, 6 RBI, 2B, 3B, HR, BB, SB)
Outfield - Rick Marlin, Penn State (5/16, 2 R, 7 RBI, 2 2B, 2 GW RBI)
Utility - J.B. Shuck, Ohio State (6/10, 2 R, RBI, BB, 8.0 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 8 K in win over IU)

Bench - Matt Nohelty, Minnesota (5/9, 4 R, 5 RBI, 3 BB, HR)
Bench - Adam Abraham, Michigan (6/11, 4 R, 3 RBI, 3 BB)
Bench - Jason Christian, Michigan (6/14, 5 R, 5 RBI, 2B, HR, BB)
Bench - Jake Owens, Northwestern (7/15, 3 R, 3 RBI, 2B, 2 BB)
Bench - Shawn Roof, Illinois (6/12, 5 R, 2 RBI, 3 2B, 1 BB, 4 HBP, 6 SB)

Starter - Craig Clark, Penn State (7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K in CG win over NU)
Starter - Tanner Roark, Illinois (7.0 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K in win over Iowa)
Starter - Tom Buske, Minnesota (7.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 bb, 0 K in win over MSU)
Starter - Andrew Hess, Michigan (7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K in CG win over Purdue)
Starter - Dustin Braebender, Minnesota (6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K in win over MSU)
Starter - Chris Fetter, Michigan (6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K in win over Purdue)
Starter - Tony Sedlmeyer, Purdue (5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K in win vs. Michigan)
Relief - Andrew Groves, Purdue (4.0 IP, 2 H, o R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K in save vs. Michigan)
Relief - Josh Oslin, Minnesota (2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K's in two saves vs. MSU)

If it wasn't for Jason White, Mike Mee would have been "The Man" this past weekend. Of course, White's running mate, Justin Toole, had one of the better showings by a secondbaseman this year, as well. We are all used to seeing Lars Davis' name, so that's nothing new. Craig Clark, Joe Blackburn and Rick Marlin highlight the Nittany Lions resurgence.

As always, drop me a line if I missed somebody who is deserving.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Note To Michigan And Purdue Fans

For those who might be interested, Samara was taking photos of Purdue's visit to Michigan on both Saturday and Sunday. Last I looked, the photos from Saturday were available, but I expect Sunday's action to be uploaded soon. (Probably in the wee hours of Monday morning, but some of you are students like Sam and will be awake at that time.)

Now, Boiler fans keep in mind we are talking about a Michigan student here. That means she probably bleeds more than her share of Maize and Blue. (She hammers my Oakland University Golden Grizzlies mercilessly.) However, Sam did take photos of the Purdue players, as well.

Sam's Flickr site is chocked full of interesting photos, not just baseball related, either. The captions are pretty darn entertaining, as well. (Some may be considered PG-13. You've been forewarned.)

Michigan, Minnesota Remain 1-2

So much to type, so little time. Let's go with the basic BTH recap of Sunday's action.

Michigan 10 Purdue 1 (box)
SS Jason Christian had three hits, including homer number three, drove in two, scored three times and drew a walk to lead Michigan. OF Zach Putnam had two hits, three RBI and scored a run. OF Derek VanBuskirk had a pair of hits and RBI. Starter Chris Fetter worked six innings giving up six hits, a walk, one earned run and fanned three. Purdue's Dan Black and Jon Cummins had two hits a piece and Spencer Ingaldson drove in the Boilers' lone run.

Minnesota 12 Michigan State 2 (box)
OFs Matt Nohelty and Mike Mee both went 3 for 5 with four RBI. Both went yard once. Nohelty scored three times, Mee once. Gophers SS Dan Lyons also had a three hit game, scored three times and had a RBI. Dustin Braebender (4-1) gave up six hits, one walk, two earned runs and struck out six Spartans over six innings. Tyler Oakes was flawless through the last three to post his first save. MSU OF Eli Boike had two hits, two stolen bases and scored once. Fellow Spartans freshman OF Chris Roberts hit his first collegiate homer.

Penn State 6 Northwestern 4 (box)
PSU firstbaseman Cory Wine had two hits (his third homer amongst them), two runs and three RBI to help lift the Nittany Lions to victory. C Joe Blackburn had three hits, a run scored and a RBI. OF Rick Marlin drove in a pair of runs. Drew O'Neil (2-1) won the game pitching the last two frames. NU's Antonio Mule had two RBI. Jake Owens and Aaron Newman had two hits a piece.

Ohio State 11 Indiana 3 (box)
The Buckeyes swept the series with IU. OSU 1B Justin Miller knocked out three hits, had three RBI, scored twice and walked to led the barrage. SS Jason Zoeller homered (6), drove in three and scored twice. DH Jacob Howell also hit a big fly (4) and drove in two. The win went to J.B. Shuck who pitched eight innings scattering nine hits and a walk. Shuck fanned eight Hoosiers. IU's Chris Hervey had a three hit day. Andrew Means had two hits and two RBI.

Iowa 17 Illinois 12 (box)
In a game that saw each school send six pitchers to the mound, Iowa prevailed to take the series. Hawkeyes' SS Jason White hit for the cycle. White went 4 for 6 with four runs scored and four RBI. 2B Justin Toole was 3 for 3 with two RBI and three runs scored. Dusty Napoleon and Caleb Curry had two hits and two RBI a piece. 3B Kevin Hoef was 3 for 5. Jason Belk's two innings of scoreless baseball earned him his first win.

Obviously, Illinois had their share of offensive stars, as well. Not surprisingly, Lars Davis led the Illini charge with three hit, three RBI effort. Two of Davis' three hits were homers and the Illinois' catcher also scored twice. 1B Mike Rohde had three hits, scored twice and drove in two.

The result of this weekend's action reveals that Michigan (still) sits atop the Big Ten at 11-1. Minnesota is right on their heels at 9-2. Penn State has moved into third at 9-5. Ohio State has rebounded and finds themselves in fourth at 8-6. In spite of losing their last three games, Illinois is next at 7-7 in conference play. Iowa and Purdue are tied for the sixth, and final conference tournament slot, at 7-8. Eighth is Michigan State at 6-9. Indiana is 4-12, Northwestern is 3-13.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Sweep Saturday

All five of Saturday's Big Ten doubleheaders were won in sweeps. Michigan downed Purdue, Minnesota beat Michigan State, Penn State took out Northwestern, Ohio State dropped Indiana and Iowa won both from Illinois.

I was in Ann Arbor to watch conference leading Michigan take two from Purdue. The Wolverines captured game one, 6-5. Michigan's Nate Recknagel and Jason Christian each had two hits and two RBI. Mike Wilson (6-0) stayed undefeated. Michael Powers worked the last three innings to post his second save. The Purdue star of the opener was Spencer Ingaldson who was 3 for 3 with three RBI and two runs scored.

Game two saw Michigan claim a 7-2 triumph. Andrew Hess (5-0) tossed a seven inning complete game. The Wolverines starter gave up six hits, a walk and two earned runs. Michigan 3B Adam Abraham had two hits, two RBI and scored once. Purdue's Jeff Mojzik had two hits. Boilermakers' starter Rickey Heines also worked all six innings, but took the loss.

Iowa SS Jason White was the story in the Hawkeyes' game one victory over Illinois. White went 3 for 4 with all three hits being homeruns, the last a game winning walk-off shot. The Hawkeyes prevailed, 10-9. White drove in four runs and scored three times. OF Caleb Curry also had a three hit game with a homer. Mike Schurz (4-1) pitched the last inning to get the win. Illini OF Ryan Snowden had two hits and two RBI.

The Hawkeyes rolled to a 10-4 win in game two. Iowa CF Travis Sweet went 3 for 3 with three runs scored, a RBI and a stolen base. Caleb Curry and Dusty Napoleon each drove in two runs. Casey O'Rourke continued his comeback by posting his third win against one loss. Illini OF Kyle Hudson was 3 for 3 with a RBI.

In game one from sunny Minneapolis, the Gophers beat Michigan State, 9-2. Minnesota OF Mike Mee continued his assault on Big Ten pitching by going 3 for 4 with four RBI. Gary Perniar got the win and Kyle Carr got credited for his fourth save. MSU's Eli Boike's solo homerun was one of three Spartans hits in the game.

Marcus Mackenzie upped his record to 6-0 by holding off MSU, 5-4, in game two. Gophers closer Josh Oslin came in and posted his ninth save. Jon Hummel drove in two runs for Minnesota. Spartans' SS Brandon Doherty had two hits and two RBI. (I'm awake at a rather late hour finishing this post and watching the second game of the MSU @ Minnesota twinbill on Fox College Sports.)

Penn State's Craig Clark pitched a seven inning complete game one hitter. Clark didn't allow a run or a walk in PSU's 1-0 triumph over Northwestern. Clark (2-4) fanned six Wildcats. Brian Ernst got two hits and drove in the lone run of the game. NU's Caleb Fields had the only hit off of Clark. Ryan Myers of NU worked the full six innings and allowed only three hits, but took the loss.

Shortstop Scott Gaffney's three hits, three runs scored and two stolen bases led the Nittany Lions to a game two win. PSU topped NU, 11-5. Joe Blackburn, Landon Nakata, Brian Ernst and Rick Marlin all had two hits. OF Marlin also drove in three runs. John Karr's 1.2 innings of relief were enough to earn the win.

Ohio State beat Indiana, 4-3, in game one of their doubleheader. Rory Meister earned his third win of the year. Jake Hale posted his ninth save. J.B. Shuck and Justin Miller each had two hits, Tony Kennedy had two RBI. IU's Chris Hervey had two hits and two RBI in the loss.

The Buckeyes posted three in the bottom of the seventh to take the nightcap from IU, 9-8. OSU C Eric Fryer had two hits, two RBI and scored three times. J.B. Shuck had three hits, a run scored and a RBI. Matt Angle had two hits, two RBI and scored once. Jake Hale got the win in game two. IU's Jon Fixler and Andrew Means each had three hits, two runs scored and a RBI.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Boilers Stop Wolverines & The Rest Of Friday

Purdue freshman Tony Sedlmeyer moved into the Friday starter's role and shut down Michigan, 7-2. Sedlmeyer's five hit, two walk, two earned run performance over 5.2 innings helped the Boilers pin the first conference loss of the year on the Wolverines (8-1 in the Big Ten). Andy Groves came in and kept Michigan from scoring over the final four innings and earned his second save in the process.

John Cummins and Dan Black each had two hits and three RBI for Purdue (7-5 in Big Ten play). Ryne White had a pair of hits and scored three times. Michigan 2B Kevin Cislo was a perfect 3 for 3 and drove in one of the Michigan tallies. 3B Adam Abraham had two hits and scored once.

Illinois beat Iowa, 6-2. Tanner Roark improved to 4-0 with the win. Roark gave up seven hits and three walks over seven innings. The Illini righthander fanned six and allowed only one earned run. Nick Stockwell had a pair of hits and two RBI to lead the Illini offense. Freshman 3B Brandon Wikoff had three hits and drove in a run. SS Shawn Roof had two hits, scored twice and drove in one. Iowa SS Jason White paced his team with a 3 for 5 game. Illinois is 7-4 in the Big Ten, Iowa is 4-8.

Minnesota beat Michigan State, 3-2. Tom Buske tossed four hit baseball over 7.1 innings en route to his second win of the year. The sophomore allowed no walks, didn't strike anyone out, but yielded two runs only one of which was earned. Josh Oslin reclaimed the conference lead in save posting his eighth. Gophers' LF Mike Mee was 3 for 5. 2B Derek McCallum and 1B Bryan Jost both went 2 for 4 with an RBI.

Evan Friedland had two hits for the Spartans (6-6, in the Big Ten). Minnesota improved to 7-2 in conference action.

Ohio State dropped Indiana, 6-4. OF Matt Angle and C Eric Fryer each drove in two runs to lead OSU. 3B Tony Kennedy was 3 for 4 with two runs scored. Cory Luebke improve to 5-0. The Buckeyes lefty went eight innings Friday giving up eight hits, a pair of free passes and three earned runs. OSU closer Jake Hale tied Minnesota's Oslin by posting his eighth save of 2007. An impressive crowd of 3,957 turned out to watch the home team win.

Indiana SS Keith Haas ignited the Hoosiers offense going 3 for 4 with two RBI. LF Brian Lambert was 3 for 3 with a run scored and a RBI. OSU is now 5-6 in conference play, IU fell to 4-9.

Penn State scored four times in the bottom of the ninth to sneak past Northwestern, 7-6. C Joe Blackburn and OF Rick Marlin each had a pair of hits and two RBI to lead PSU's attack. Marlin's GWRBI in the bottom of the ninth sent a record crowd of 2,232 home happy. (Minus the NU supporters that made the trip, of course.) Paul Hawkins (2-0) pitched the last 1.1 innings and got the win.

Northwestern SS Tommy Finn was 4 for 4 with two runs scored and two RBI. 3B Jake Owens was 3 for 5 with three RBI. Dan Schwartz struck out nine in 8.1 innings but the bullpen couldn't close the door on the last inning Nittany Lions rally. The loss dropped NU to 3-10 in Big Ten action, while the win moved PSU to 6-5.

Let me make my weekly plea to get out and support your college baseball team this weekend, even if they are not in the Big Ten.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Some National Love From CSTV's Doug Kroll wrote a piece on northern baseball, in particular, focusing on the new facilities in the Big Ten Conference. It's worth a read for those interested in such things. (A baseball column about northern schools? Maybe Sorenson is wearing off on the CSTV staff?)

Speaking of Eric, he has both Michigan and Minnesota in his Mid-Major Top 10. Now, thinking of Big Ten programs as mid-majors is no doubt going to cause some discomfort for old school football and basketball fans. To which I say "Good". Be annoyed enough at the thought of your program being a mid-major to, at very least, put some more money into baseball. At most, write a few checks, show up at the yard and support your team. Besides, we would love to see you.

Thursday OPS

Since I'm running a day behind my self-imposed time line, I'm only going to charge you half price on this week's OPS totals. Think of it like going to the bakery and getting day old doughnuts at 50% off, but without the trans fat.

The Big Ten leader in on base plus slugging percentage remains Illinois' Lars Davis. Davis' OPS is 1.181. Charging into second place is Michigan's Nate Recknagel. The Wolverines' 1B is at 1.114. Third is Purdue's Ryne White at 1.094. Dusty Napoleon of Iowa is next at 1.093. The Hawkeyes' catcher is followed by another Boilermaker, Jordan Comadena. The Purdue outfielder has an OPS of 1.084.

Two players are tied for the sixth. Zach Putnam of Michigan and Minnesota's Mike Mee have an OPS of 1.045. Next is Jason Christian of Michigan who has a 1.009 OPS. Ohio State 2B Jason Zoeller is the last everyday player on the list at 1.007.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Midweek Scores And Observations

Michigan split a doubleheader with Eastern Michigan today. The Eagles topped the Wolverines in the opener, 10-2. Michigan captured the finale, 10-7. Nate Recknagel's bomb in the first contest was really the only highlight for the Big Ten leaders. I caught the majority of the nightcap on Comcast Local. I didn't even know it was on. Channel flipping does pay off. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. A few things immediately caught my attention.

First, Michigan apparently didn't play very inspired baseball in the opener and Coach Maloney discussed that during his game two interview. He didn't look too happy. Losing by eigth at home doesn't make coaches happy.

Second, I saw fellow blogger Sam hard at work taking photos and keeping score, of course. It wasn't hard to spot Samara. She was one of about thirty in attendance. Regardless, I am in awe of Sam's persistence. If I were a betting man, I'd bet Sam has these photos uploaded sometime tonight. Probably very late tonight/early tomorrow between following the Red Sox game, studying and yet another cup of coffee.

Third, EMU was up in the second game, 5-0, after one inning.

Now, the Eagles aren't a bad baseball team, but Michigan is ranked as high as eighteenth. If they want to keep that spot, they need to play like the 18th best team in the land in their own backyard. In addition, Big Ten schools simply cannot afford to dismiss these games. I know coaches struggle to find dependable midweek pitchers and they love to rest an everyday player or two, but the programs in the Big Ten must win these midweek encounters.

You are not guaranteed a spot in the NCAA tournament unless you win the conference tourney and just about anything is possible in a double elimination format. Thus, it's imperative for Michigan, or anyone else in need of an at-large bid, to win these midweek games. Losing them only hurts your RPI and diminishes your at-large chances. Last year, midweek losses hurt both the Wolverines and Ohio State. I'm not sure Michigan makes the field last year if they don't win the conference tournament.

I began to think EMU was going to pull a sweep when a six run fourth inning catapulted Michigan to a triumph in the finale. Doug Pickens had three hits, Chris Berset and Jason Christian each drove in two runs. Adam Abraham pitched the last four innings and got his second win of the year.

Illinois beat Illinois State, 18-4. Coach Hartleb's squad put aside any thoughts of losing early with a five run second inning followed by four in the third. Freshman 3B Brandon Wikoff had three hits, including his first HR, and drove in three. Lars Davis, continuing his bid for Player of the Year, homered, drove in two and walked twice. (Hey, I wouldn't pitch to the guy, either.) Mike Rohde, fresh off being named to the BTH All-Weekend Team, stayed hot by going 2 for 4 with three RBI and scoring twice. CF Craig Lutes had three hits, drove in four and scored twice. Aaron Martin's (2-2) six hits over six innings was good enough for the win.

Iowa beat Northern Illinois, 4-3. I don't see a boxscore, so as to not repeat what the Hawkeyes' SID typed, you can read his recap. I can tell you Mike Schurz posted his seventh save, which I am guessing leads the Big Ten. Chase Stephens collected his first win.

Minnesota did lots of yardwork in their 7-6 win over South Dakota State. Nate Hanson led the way with two homers. Matt Nohelty hit his first big fly of the year and Dan Lyons went yard for the fifth time in '07. Hanson had three hits, four RBI and scored twice. Lyons had two hits, two runs and two RBI. Phil Zander's four innings of one hit relief earned him his first win. Josh Oslin matched Iowa's Mike Schurz with his seventh save. (I still think that must be tops in the conference.)

Ohio State followed in Michigan's path as the Buckeyes dropped the opener of their doubleheader with Ball State. BSU won, 5-0. I'm searching for an OSU highlight. The Bucks managed only four hits in the loss. Just like their arch-rival, Ohio State rebounded to take game two of the twinbill. The Buckeyes prevailed, 3-2. All-Conference catcher Eric Fryer had two hits and drove in all three OSU runs. Josh Edgin picked up with win. Jake Hale notched, of course, his seventh save. Didn't everybody get save number seven today? Can you tell I edit this as I go instead of waiting to do it all at the end?

As I had to finish up the All-Weekend Team, watch the EMU at Michigan game and toss in this recap, OPS Wednesday will have to be OPS Thursday this week. That's the plan for now, anyway.

All-Weekend Team

Yes, it's here. Another BTH All-Weekend Team. This week's squad is filled with Wolverines. Not surprising as they not only won all four games, but posted big numbers all three days. If I made an oversight, please let me know.

Catcher - Dusty Napoleon, Iowa (6/14, 5 R, 5 RBI)
Firstbase - Nate Recknagel, Michigan (7/14, 8 R, 7 RBI, 5BB)
Secondbase - Kevin Cislo, Michigan (6/15, 6 R, 2 BB)
Shortstop - Jason Christian, Michigan (6/18, 4 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB)
Thirdbase - Adam Abraham, Michigan (7/17, GS HR, 4 R, 9 BI, 3BB)
Outfield - Alex Jaffee, Purdue (10/17, 2 HR, 8 R, 7 RBI, BB, SB)
Outfield - Tijl Vanderwege, Minnesota (5/13, HR, 3 R, 6 RBI, BB)
Outfield - Brad Roblin, Michigan (6/16, 8 R, 4 RBI, 3 BB, SB)
Designated Hitter - Mike Rohde, Illinois (6/16, 4 R, 5 RBI, 3 BB)
Utility - Zach Putnam, Michigan (5/15, HR, 4 R, 5 RBI, 5 BB)

Bench - Rick Marlin, Penn State (5/11, 2 R, 6 RBI)
Bench - Joe Blackburn, Penn State (8/17, 4 R, 2 RBI)
Bench - Kyle Day, Michigan State (8/15, 2 R, 2 RBI)
Bench - Lars Davis, Illinois (7/15, 4 R, 2 BB, SB)

Pitcher - Tanner Roark, Illinois (7.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K in win vs. NU)
Pitcher - Mike Stankiewicz, Illinois (7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 r, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K in win vs. NU)
Pitcher - Cole Livermore, Northwestern (10.0 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K in win vs. ILL)
Pitcher - Ricky Heines, Purdue (7.0 IP 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 4 K in win vs. IU)
Pitcher - Mike Wilson, Michigan (6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 4 K in win vs. OSU)
Pitcher - Jon Kibler, Michigan State (7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K in win vs. PUR)
Pitcher - Chris Fetter, Michigan (7.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K in win vs. OSU)
Relief Pitcher - Jake Toohey, Illinois (3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 r, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K in 2 saves vs. NU)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Valpo steamrolled Northwestern, 10-1. I'm just not sure what to say.

Indiana State's triumph over Indiana, 9-7, is equally puzzling. Andrew Means had four hits, scored three times and drove in two. Jon Fixler had three hits and three RBI.

Michigan's Adam Abraham, Purdue's Alex Jaffee and Illinois' Mike Stankiewicz were named the Big Ten's (Co-)Players and Pitcher of the Week, respectively.

We've got regional projections! takes a stab at the 64 team field. Both Michigan and Minnesota are in.

CSTV's Eric Sorenson named Michigan as his Midwest team of the week. Eric also called out the polls for not having the Wolverines in the Top 25. See, it's not just me.

Here are Warren's RPI figures for your review. For comparison, here are the latest pseudo-RPI numbers from Boyd's World.

Ping! has the University of Michigan as it's Spotlight Team of the Week. (Yeah, it's a season preview piece, but I'll take all the Big Ten love I can find.) The gang at Ping! also have Michigan ranked number 25 this week.

Ohio State designated hitter Jacob Howell is one of thirty finalists for Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Howell is the only Big Ten player on the list.

Paul Cordes of The Minnesota Daily wraps up the Gophers homestand against Iowa.

The Indiana Daily Student's Lee Hurwitz previews IU's game against Indiana State. (Yes, I gave the result of this game earlier. Work with me here, I'm trying to dig up every piece of Big Ten baseball news I can find.)

Alex Prosperi of The Michigan Daily profiles Doug Pickens.

The finale of the Penn State at Michigan State series is reviewed by Tom Keller of The State News.

Jake Simpson of The Daily Northwestern recaps NU's Sunday encounter with Illinois.

The Daily Collegian's Chris Agostini notes Penn State's big win over MSU Sunday.

Purdue's offense versus Indiana is the topic for Brian Petraits of The Exponent.

Yes, boys and girls, I'm working on the All-Weekend Team. Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow. Be patient.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Monday Finals

Iowa beat Minnesota, 8-7. Caleb Curry had three hits and three RBI to pace Iowa's offense. Dusty Napoleon had a pair of hits, scored twice and had a RBI. Nick Erdman picked up win number three. Mike Schurz claimed save number six. Tijl Vanderwege homered and had three RBI for Minnesota, who won the series. Nate Hanson and Kyle Baran had three hits a piece for the Gophers.

Penn State took the series from Michigan State by winning today, 10-4. PSU's Rick Marlin had five RBIs, two hits and scored twice. Brian Ernst and Joe Blackburn had three hits each. Scott Kelley had two hits and three RBI. Paul Hawkins grabbed the win in relief of Scott Gaffney. Matt Ogrodnik posted the save. Kyle Day had three hits for MSU.

Michigan Climbs In Polls

The University of Michigan is gaining some national attention. Powered by their sweep of Ohio State over the weekend, Rich Maloney's Wolverines are now ranked twenty-second by Baseball America and seventeenth by Collegiate Baseball.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Michigan Stays Perfect And The Rest Of Sunday

The University of Michigan swept Ohio State Sunday and remained undefeated in conference play. Rich Maloney's Wolverines posted 6-3 and 13-3 wins over the Buckeyes and are now 8-0 in Big Ten action. The first game saw Mike Wilson improve to 5-0 by going six innings and giving up one unearned run on two hits and five walks. Michael Powers faced four batters to post the save.

Nate Recknagel was the offensive star of the first contest driving run three runs on two hits. Adam Abraham and Kevin Cislo both had two hits a piece in the opener. The finale saw another Michigan run explosion. Brad Roblin had three hits, score four times, drive in two runs and steal a base. Doug Pickens had three RBI. Zach Putnam and Abraham each had two hits and two RBI.

Chris Fetter (4-1) worked seven innings allowing four hits, no walks and striking out three Buckeyes. The righthander allowed three runs in total, none of which were earned. Fetter, Ben Jenzen and Sam Yashinsky held OSU to five hits over nine innings. 2006 Big Ten Freshman of the Year J.B. Shuck had three of them.

Purdue took two of three from Indiana this afternoon. The Hoosiers took the first game, 11-3. IU firstbaseman Michael Nilles had a triple, a homer and drove in four runs to lead the attack. Andrew Means also went yard for IU. Joe Vicini picked up the win. Jeff Mojzik had two hits, two RBI and stole a base for Purdue.

The Boilermakers got plenty of revenge in the next two games. Purdue won by scores of 13-0 and 11-7. Ricky Heines (6-2) went all seven innings giving up three hits, five walks and no runs. Centerfielder Alex Jaffee was the star with the bat going 4 for 5 with three RBI and scoring three times. One of Jaffee's four hits was his first homerun of the season. 3B Dan Black was 3 for 4.

Jaffee had a strong finale as he went 3 for 4 with three runs scored, three RBI and went yard for the second time. Mojzik tripled and drove in two in the third game of the day. Josh Lindblom (3-4) grabbed the win in relief. IU's Jon Fixler also hit his first homer of the year and drove in four runs in the loss.

Northwestern beat Illinois, 6-5. Freshman Cole Livermore pitched a ten inning complete game. That's right. Livermore threw 120 pitches over ten innings to post his second win of the year. The first year Wildcats pitcher allowed nine hits, two walks and only two earned runs.

Antonio Mule had three hits and drove in two for NU. Tommy Finn was 3 for 3 and scored twice. Illinois' Lars Davis, who entered the weekend leading the conference in batting average, went 4 for 5 and stole a base. Illini DH Brandon Webb had two hits and drove in three runs. OF Ryan Snowden saw his 25 game hitting streak come to an end.

Michigan State and Penn State split their Sunday twinbill. MSU took game one, 4-1. Jon Kibler worked a seven inning complete game. Kibler gave up three hits and two walks en route to the victory. Steve Gerstenberger had three hits, two runs and two RBI. Brandon Doherty also had a three hit game for the Spartans. 3B Mike Deese drove in the only PSU tally.

Game two saw the Nittany Lions win, 6-5. The Spartans scored a run in each of the first five innings only to see Penn State plate four in their half of the seventh to win it. PSU's Scott Gaffney had three hits, including a homer, scored three times and had two RBI. Cory Wine also had a three hit game. Michael Lorentson grabbed the win, Drew O'Neil got the save. Kyle Day, Justin Potes and Eli Boike each had two hits for Michigan State.

According to the official Big Ten site, Minnesota has swept the doubleheader with Iowa. 3-2 was the score of the first game, 9-6 was the total in the nightcap. Unfortunately, I cannot find a single link to a story or to a boxscore. Perhaps, tomorrow.

The standings look like this: Michigan is in first at 8-0. In second is Minnesota at 5-1. Michigan State and Illinois are next at 6-4. Purdue is at 5-5, Penn State is 4-5. Ohio State is seventh at 4-6. Eighth belongs to Indiana at 4-7. Iowa is 3-7 while Northwestern is at 3-9.

Some more games have to be played Monday as the schedules were pushed back due to the weather issues.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Rest Of Saturday

I'm finally back at home. I say "finally" because the ride home from Columbus was not pleasant. The rain that forced the cancellation of game two between Michigan and Ohio State became snow on the ride up US-23. For a large portion of our trip, it was nearly a blizzard. April blizzards bring May flowers or something like that. That made the drive a bit longer than we hoped for. (Mrs. BTH came along and went to Equine Affaire while I hung around the ballpark.)

I'm thankful to say that outside of some occasionally difficult driving conditions that everything else went well. Back at BTH World Headquarters, it's time to review what happened around the conference.

Illinois swept their twinbill with Northwestern. Mike Stankiewicz tossed a seven inning, complete game one hitter in the first contest. The Illini prevailed, 1-0. Mike Rohde drove in the lone run and stole two bases. Ryan Myers, NU's starter, pitched all seven innings, but got tagged with the loss. Wildcats' 3B Jake Owens got NU's only hit off of Stankiewicz.

In a run filled nightcap, the Illini emerged with an 8-7 victory. Ryan Snowden had two more hits pushing his hit streak to 25 games, a new school record. The Illini LF also scored two times and drove in two runs. In addition, Snowden stole his seventh base of 2007 and sold hot dogs in between innings. Ben Reeser won the game in relief. Jake Toohey got the save. NU's Caleb Fields had three hits and two RBI.

I believe I mentioned this yesterday, but here's the link to Illinois' Friday night win, 6-2. Tanner Roark fanned nine.

Penn State dropped Michigan State, 3-1. Seth Whitehill (3-4) and three others combined to hold the Spartans to seven hits. Drew O'Neil came in to close out the game and earned his fourth save. PSU catcher Joe Blackburn had three hits and drove in a run. 3B Mike Deese and OF Rick Marlin each had two hits and a RBI. MSU catcher Kyle Day had two hits and had the Spartans' RBI.

Purdue's doubleheader with Indiana was suspended due to our fabulous weather and, if I read the IU press release properly, the two teams will attempt to play two and half games on Sunday.
Minnesota beat Iowa, 9-8. Tijl Vanerwege's fourth hit of the game was a walk-off game winning single in the bottom of the ninth. Mike Mee had pair of hits and drove in three. Bill Johnson pitched the ninth to earn the win. Hawkeye SS Jason White collected two RBI as did 3B Kevin Hoef.

The third game between Michigan and Ohio State will be played tomorrow as part of a doubleheader. The first game will be seven games, the second nine.

Doubleheader Saturday

Another day, another attempt at live blogging from Bill Davis Stadium in Columbus. Unfortunately, yesterday's weather is no where to be found. Sunshine has returned to it's winter hiatus. Basically, it's the same cold, wet day we've been experiencing throughout Big Ten country for weeks. It's just not baseball weather.

Your starters today are Josh Barrera for Ohio State and Michigan sends Andrew Hess to the hill in game one.

1:05pm The game starts right on time. A sparse, brave and soon to be damp crowd is in the house.

1:06pm Leadoff man Jason Christian draws a walk.

1:07pm Brad Roblin follows with a base on balls. A tough spot for Barrera early.

1:10pm Barrera strikes out Nate Recknagel.

1:11pm Zach Putnam gets Michigan's third free pass of the inning. Bases loaded.

1:12pm Adam Abraham hits a grandslam. Michigan leads, 4-0.

1:23pm Ohio State gets it's turn to bat. Michigan State and Penn State are underway. Purdue beat Indiana yesterday, 4-2, in a game I never reported on. My apologies to the Boilers and Hoosiers.

1:27pm The Buckeyes got three hits, but no runs in the bottom of the inning. IU is ahead of Purdue, 1-0, in the first. A wild pitch, HBP, walk and an error led to run.

1:38pm Michigan plated another run. It's 5-1. I mentioned this on The Baseball Zealot podcast, but it bears repeating -- Bill Davis Stadium is a great facility.

2:05pm The score? Michigan 5 Ohio State 2. It's the top of the fourth.

2:07pm Buckeye Jukebox winner sounded like Journey. We will know in a few innings. Yesterday's Jukebox winner was indeed "Life In The Fast Lane" by The Eagles.

2:08pm OSU pulls Barrera after he yields Michigan's sixth run. A pair of doubles sandwiched between a pop-out and brings on Josh Edgin.

2:21pm The Buckeyes now bat down, 7-2. Michigan State and Penn State are tied at 1-1. Last score I saw between Indiana and Purdue was 3-0, IU in the first.

2:22pm "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey was the Buckeye Jukebox winner. I know. You want to know who lost. Sorry, I can't recall the opposition.

2:34pm I know it's April. I lived in this part of the world my entire life, but it's stinking cold. Somebody get the NCAA Baseball selection committee up here.

2:41pm Ohio State scored twice in the bottom of the fourth. It's 7-4, Wolverines. Penn State has pulled ahead of MSU, 2-1.

2:56pm Michigan gets two more in it's half of the fourth. Rich Maloney's side is up, 10-4. Anyone want to guess if Game Two is played?

3:12pm I'm trying not to replicate GameTracker here, so you are getting delays between posts. Michigan scored again in the sixth. It's 11-4, Wolverines.

3:26pm The Wolverines have pushed across another run in the seventh.

3:30pm Ohio State is down to their last three outs.

3:21pm You know it's cold when Michigan 3B Adam Abraham, a former hockey player, is dressed like a Nordic skier. He played in the tropical climate known as Mississuaga, Ontario. If he thinks it's cold, it's really cold.

3:41pm That's the end of game one. Michigan wins, 12-4. The ground crew is covering the field. I can't blame them. I'll skip harping on the weather. It is what it is.

3:45pm Rumor is game two may be washed away. If that's it, then I'm done live blogging from Columbus. Hope you enjoyed it. I'll try to catch-up on the other scores tomorrow. No promises, though.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Live From Columbus, It's Friday Night

Tonight, I'm sitting at the wi-fi friendly Bill Davis Stadium for Game One between Michigan and Ohio State. I'm going to try and do as much live blogging as my notebook's battery will allow. (Tomorrow, I may have to go shopping for an extended life model.) We are about ready for the national anthem, so sit back and let's see how long this will last.

Our starters this evening are Cory Luebke for Ohio State and Zach Putnam for Michigan.

The first thing that strikes me is the weather. IT'S NOT SNOWING!!!!!

Nate Recknagel just doubled to right-center scoring Jason Christian. Michigan, 1-0.

Zach Putnam homers to right, 3-0, Wolverines.

It would probably help if I added the time, wouldn't it? Ok, it's 6:43pm EST.

6: 44pm The forecast for Saturday is not good.

6:46pm It's fireworks night here at Davis Stadium. The national anthem was followed by a the first burst of fireworks. The second burst came in the top of the first from Michigan's bats. Let's see if Ohio State's potent offense keeps pace.

6:55pm Yes, OSU answers. Jacob Howell scores when J.B. Shuck grounded into a fielder's choice 3-1, Michigan.

6:58pm I see that Illinois has beaten Northwestern, 6-2. Oh, Matt Angle just made a great diving catch to rob Kevin Cislo.

7:00pm Tanner Roark fanned nine in seven innings to get the win for the Illini. Jake Toohey posted the save. The Buckeyes are up after Michigan went down 1-2-3.

7:08pm The Bucks plate a run on a walk, stolen base, error and wild pitch. Michigan still leads OSU, 3-2.

7:10pm Battery life is already at 63%. No complete game out of the laptop tonight. I guess shopping has been added to the agenda for tomorrow.

7:14pm Buckeye Jukebox. Fans clap to pick which of three songs will be played later in th game. Sounded to me like The Eagles won. Hopefully, I'll be able to pass that vital result on to you.

9:40pm Computer problems stopped the blogging. Obviously, things have improved. An amazing game has gone into the tenth. Michigan, however, has exploded for four runs in the frame and lead OSU, 8-4.

9:44pm 10-4, Wolverines. Every bad hop is going against the Buckeyes now. Michigan has batted around.

9:47pm The Bill Davis Stadium crowd has shrunk as the Bucks face Mike Powers in the bottom of the 10th. I'm going to try and do a complete recap once I get back to the hotel.

9:55pm Ohio State is down to their last strike.

9:56pm While it feels anti-climatic now, this was one wild, tense affair. Jacob Howell fans and Michigan prevails, 10-4 on Fireworks Night in Columbus.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

OPS And Other Things

Regular visitors here are probably wondering "What happened to OPS Wednesday?". Well, a couple of things only one of which you will find relevant. Tom at The Baseball Zealot, and resident fan of the Illini baseball club, invited me to participate on his podcast. For those interesting in hearing me stammer through yet another interview, here is a link to TBZ Radio.

Our brief chat and some other things, far less interesting, tied up my midweek evening. However, I'm back tonight to review some numbers. Perhaps, I'll toss in a few other items just for my amusement.

I'll begin with those much anticipated OPS numbers. The leader of the pack is still Lars Davis, Illinois' catcher, at 1.184. Mike Mee, who is vying with Davis for the batting crown in the Big Ten, is also second in OPS at 1.122. All-Conference second baseman Jason Zoeller of Ohio State is third at 1.120. Dusty Napoleon, Iowa's Johnny Bench Award nominee, is fourth at 1.099. The fifth and sixth spots belong to Purdue players.

Jordan Comadena, Boilers' OF, has an OPS of 1.084. Ryne White, Purdue's 1B, is next at 1.071. The list closes with four straight Michigan players. Nate Recknagel is at 1.068, Zach Putnam is in at 1.047, Jason Christian's OPS is 1.039 and Doug Pickens makes his first appearance at 1.008.

Breaking news out of Columbus, The Lantern's Dustin Ensinger reports All-Big Ten starter Dan DeLucia is done for the season. DeLucia, a senior, was Ohio State's Friday starter. Coach Todd informed Ensinger that DeLucia was being operated on by the noted surgeon, Dr. James Andrews.

I have a new blog to alert you to. Gopher Nation has kindly linked a few things I have written, so it seems appropriate that I return the courtesy. It appears this Gophers fan is going to try and follow all sports at The U. As usual, I'll be adding this Minnesota blog to my link section. When is the question.

The official Illinois Athletics site has a profile of your OPS leader, Lars Davis. So much for the tools of ignorance, Davis, the Illini backstop, is studying molecular and cellular biology.

Iowa closer Mike Schurz gets similar treatment from the official Hawkeyes website.

Former Michigan pitcher Jim Abbott and former Minnesota head coach Dick Siebert have been named as inductees to the College Baseball Hall of Fame. Yes, Virginia, the Big Ten does have a history of success in baseball.

Weather has already altered some weekend plans. Penn State's trip to Michigan State has been pushed back a day and will begin Saturday. The same thing has happened to Minnesota's visit to Iowa. (No Floyd of Rosedale on line in this one. I'll let you decide if that's a pro or a con.)

The Golden Gophers (does anyone call them that anymore?) won a midweek game against Northern Iowa, 7-1.

Andy Reid of The Michigan Daily looks at Adam Abraham's journey from hockey to Ray Fisher Stadium.

The Daily Northwestern's Jake Simpson discuss Wildcats' Randy Myers post outing workout and Tommy Finn's struggles at the plate.

If you get the chance, head out to the ballpark near you. Have a good weekend and enjoy the games.