Friday, July 20, 2007

2008 Iowa Schedule

While it still has a few TBD's on it, the University of Iowa has released its 2008 baseball schedule.

Iowa will open in the year in Florida in a tournament hosted by Notre Dame. The Hawkeyes follow that with a tournament in Nashville hosted by Vanderbilt. Then, there's a three game set at Missouri State before the Spring Break Tournament in Orlando. Coach Jack Dahm's side finishes the prolonged season opening road trip against Stetson in Deland, Florida.

The Big Ten portion of their slate begins with four at Michigan. Purdue will visit Iowa City the following weekend. It's then at Indiana, home to Northwestern, at Michigan State, home to Minnesota, at Penn State and the conference season concludes with a visit from Ohio State.

The most notable non-conference midweek game is when Nebraska comes to Iowa City April 8.

Kudos to Iowa's Sports Information Department and the baseball staff on making this information available so quickly.

Wolverines, Gophers Head West In '08

Scanning the globe for off-season college baseball news, I've found that the University of Michigan will be playing in the Coca-Cola Classic in Surprise, Arizona next season. According to this link to the University of Hawaii's 2008 schedule, the tournament appears to feature Portland and Arizona State in addition to the Warriors and Wolverines.

A match-up with potential pre-season #1 Arizona State would certainly make for an interesting contest. If the Wolverines and Sun Devils do cross paths, I hope someone would televise it. Of course, it would probably end up on CSTV or ESPNU and I couldn't watch anyway.

The University of Minnesota will have a three game set against Pacific University according to the Tigers' 2008 schedule. The Gophers will take on Pacific March 14 - 16. Yes, I'd like to watch this series, too.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Letting Others Do My Work

Let's take a moment and see what the programs around the Big Ten are saying about themselves. Commentary on my part is probable.

* Minnesota 3B Nate Hanson was named the MVP of the Northwoods League All-Star Game.

* The "U" also provided some final notes on the 2007 season.

* The Gophers also inked another recruit. A question to those running the Gophers website: "Do you have any other picture of Coach Anderson?" It's not a bad photo, it's just that I've been looking at it for months. The guy is an icon up there (or should be), you've got to have another pic lying around somewhere.

* It's time to talk recruiting class in East Lansing. A review of Michigan State's newcomers is now posted. Coach Grewe gets points for landing kids from out-of-state.

* Danny Lopaze is a new assistant coach for the Spartans. Lopaze was formerly a volunteer assistant. It's always nice to see a volunteer land a regular paying job in coaching.

* Where in the wide world of sports did Ohio State's website go? My link, the one I've used all season, is clearly dead. After this post, I'm going to search for the Buckeyes new URL.

* Michigan's Rich Maloney was named a regional coach of the year by the American Baseball Coaches Association.

* Here's a breakdown of where the Wolverines are playing summer ball. I probably missed one or two in my overviews.

* For those wondering about the progress of Ray Fisher Stadium, here is the link to the webcam. I hadn't checked on the progress in weeks, but the place is starting to take shape.

* Iowa catcher Ben Geelan made the Northwoods League All-Star Game.

* Indiana has added three new recruits. The young Hoosiers get even younger.

* I can't recall if I mentioned this before, but IU also broke ground on their numerous facility upgrades. The baseball complex is scheduled to be completed by November 2008. How about a webcam?

* Dominic Altobelli, Ben Reeser and Aaron Martin of Illinois were all named as Coastal Plains League All-Stars.

Update: What once was lost, now is found. The Ohio State University apparently dumped their CSTV association and went solo. Their new site is simply The baseball link, which I've changed in the sidebar is here. The new place gets an initial thumbs up. We will see how I feel about it once the season is underway.

Keeping with my theme in this post, the Buckeys review their summer league participants.

Oakland Lands Coach, Media Attention

(Editor's Note: Most of you know that I had the academic equivalent of a cup of coffee at Oakland University. As such, I follow their athletic program. This habit occasionally leads to me posting something about OU baseball here at Big Ten Hardball. This is another one of those moments.)

Oakland has hired a new head baseball coach, John Musachio. Musachio was elevated to the head coaching gig after being the program's hitting coach and recruiting coordinator. He replaces Dylan Putnam who resigned.

If the stats are any indication, Musachio did an excellent job with the hitters. OU batters appeared amongst the conference leaders in nearly every major offensive category this past season. Often times, more than one Golden Grizzly was in the top ten in a category. (You are going to have to take my word for that as the new Summit League website didn't cough up any stats when I clicked on the link. Let's be honest, though. Who else would know that much about OU's hitters?)

On the heels of Musachio's promotion comes a column from Pat Caputo of The Oakland Press. The veteran journalist, and BBWAA, member suggests that OU's baseball program has big-time potential. Not surprisingly, I concur with Mr. Caputo's thesis.

It's not often I get to talk about OU baseball, let alone something positive, so please indulge me this blatantly partisan post.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Visting Baton Rouge

Louisiana State has released its 2008 schedule. Why is this important? Because the Tigers open their season with a visit from Indiana University. Coach Smith's side will be in Baton Rouge February 22-24. The Hoosiers aren't the only Big Ten squad to come calling at Alex Box Stadium, either.

Michigan State appears on the LSU schedule next year, as well. The Spartans will have a pair of midweek games against the Tigers, March 4-5.

One thing is certain -- IU and MSU will earn some early RPI points.

Hat tip to Brian Foley of The College Baseball Blog for emailing me the LSU schedule. Good thing one of us is working this summer.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Michigan Is Fitt For Omaha

Baseball America's Aaron Fitt takes his guess at the 2008 College World Series field. Fitt suggests that Michigan will be in Omaha next June. We've got Aaron's vote for the Wolverines and Sorenson's vote for the Buckeyes as 2008 CWS participants. Amazing, amazing stuff. Two national writers predicting different Big Ten teams in Omaha? Oh, how things have changed in 365 days.

I'll be interested to see if any of this end-of-the-year euphoria about northern baseball translates into the pre-season polls (and predictions). Regardless, I'm more excited than normal for next season. The big questions now is "Where in Omaha am I going to stay?"

Hat tip to BTH reader Chuck for pointing me towards Fitt's predictions.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Other Ping! Awards

I was so floored that Lars Davis got a first team selection that I failed to mention the other Big Ten players that got recognized. (Not that Lars didn't deserve it, mind you. I'm just surprised a college baseball source actually recognized a Big 10 player.) Ohio State's Cory Luebke got a third team All-Ping! nod. Purdue's firstbaseman Ryne White and Michigan's Zach Putnam, who was nominated as an utility player, both earned honorable mention.

Congratulations to all.

Davis Named All-Ping!

Illinois catcher Lars Davis was named first team All-Ping! catcher. Congratulations to Lars and kudos to the Ping! staff for tabbing a northern player with a first team selection.

Buckeyes In Omaha

You read that correctly. CSTV's Eric Sorenson is predicting that Ohio State will be in the 2008 College World Series. (No doubt they are forming a posse in Ann Arbor as I type.) Don't take my word for it, go read his his column.

I have to go rest now. I've apparently got two more weeks of intense blogging on the docket for '08. I also need to figure out how I'm going to get to Nebraska next June.

Fun In The Sun

While we are all contemplating holiday plans, the collegiate summer league season presses on. The scouts haven where all the boys trade in composite bats for wood bats is still going on. A few players around the conference of choice here are performing admirably in this environment. I want to take this pre-Independence Day to highlight a few of them.

Much like my preview of summer league rosters, this review of those having strong summers may require an additional post. (Or, perhaps, two.) Please be patient. Even better, if you or someone you know is having a great wood bat season, drop me an email.

Iowa's Kevin Hoef is pacing the Cape Cod League in batting average (.396), hits (21) and on base percentage (.508). Also on the Cape, Ryne White of Purdue is hitting .359 which is fourth best overall. Indiana's freshman catcher (should I call him a sophomore yet?) Josh Phegley is hitting .333. Michigan's Zach Putnam is at .364, although in limited at bats. (That post-season run cut into the summer league schedule.)

Also on the Cape, Josh Lindblom, White's Boilermaker teammate, is tied for first in wins with three. J.B. Shuck of Ohio State is 2-0 with a 2.65 ERA. Big 10'ers are doing pretty well in the most famous summer league of all.

Closer to home, Tony Kennedy of Ohio State is having a fine season in the Great Lakes League. Kennedy is hitting .351 (6th), slugging .574 (5th), has an OBP of .467 (5th) and is second in doubles with six. Indiana's Evan Crawford in second in runs scored with 16 and fifth in steals with 7. Ryan Dew, another Buckeye, is tied for fifth in RBI with 13.

OSU's Jake Hale, who may not have signed a pro contract yet, is second in the league with an ERA of 0.64. His .125 batting average against is the best in the GLL. Purdue's Matt Bischoff is second in batting average against (.133), fifth in ERA (1.23) and fifth in strikeouts (20). Eric Best, yes, another Buckeye, leads the GLL in K's with 27. Best also is fifth in opponent batting average at .178.

In Hawaii, Northwestern's Kenneth Avila was named to the league's All-Star Game. Avila is hitting .389 with seven RBI and 12 walks.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

A Few Signings And A Draftee I Missed

Indiana breaks ground on, amongst other projects, their new ballpark. The Hoosiers also announced another recruit has committed to Coach Smith's program.

Michigan added a pitching recruit.

Minnesota inked a recruit, too.

I failed to note that Gophers' 1B Bryan Jost was drafted in the 44th round of the MLB Draft. My sincere apologies to Bryan and the Jost family. (Hey, couldn't one of you Gopher supporters contacted me about this oversight?)