Saturday provided us with a complete slate of games. Not just scheduled, but actually played. I was in Ann Arbor for the twinbill between Iowa and the host Wolverines. I'll save my thoughts on that until we recap what happened around the remainder of the conference.
I guess the best place to start is Columbus where Penn State gained a measure of revenge for last night's drubbing. The Nittany Lions swept the doubleheader by scores of 3-1 and 5-2. In the opener, Mike Wanamaker gave up three hits and six walks over six innings to lead PSU to victory. All-America candidate Drew O'Neil came out to pitch the seventh (and final) frame to post his fourth save. Lions' OF Rick Marlin went 4 for 4. Brian Ernst, Joe Blackburn and Landon Nakata had two hits a piece.
In game two, Cory Wine had three hits and two RBI to pace PSU. Ryan Boonie added three RBI. Mark Lorenston notched his third win of the year. Lorenston went 5.1 giving up six hits, a walk and two earned runs. Drew O'Neil saved the second game, as well. It's was O'Neil's fifth save and lowered his ERA to 0.96. Freshmen Dan Burkhart and Tyler Engle both had two hits for Ohio State.
In East Lansing, Illinois swept Michigan State. Illinois won the first contest, 9-5. The Illini were led by Dominic Altobelli and Chris Montgomery, who had three hits a piece. Illinois' 1B Ryan Hastings had three RBI. Kyle Hudson had two hits, two steals and scored three times. The win went to Kevin Mason. Manson surrendered five hits, five walks and three earned runs over six innings. Ben Reeser's one-hit performance over the last 2.2 innings earned him his third save. (In case you weren't doing the math, this was a full nine inning game.)
Mike Stankiewicz pitched a seven inning, complete game shutout over MSU in the finale. Stankiewicz allowed four hits and no walks in the 2-0 triumph. Joe Bonadonna, Dominic Altobelli and Nick Stockwell each had two hits for the Illini. Bonadonna and Chris Montgomery had the Illinois' RBI.
Minnesota took the first game of their two with Indiana, 5-4. Eric Decker's two hits, two RBI and run scored led the Gophers' offensive charge. Matt Nohelty also had a pair of hits and scored twice. Kyle Carr went five innings giving up three earned runs and posted his first victory. Cullen Sexton worked the seventh inning to post his first save. Andrew Means had three hits for IU. Josh Phegley drove in two for the Hoosiers.
IU took game two, 8-3. Jason Ferrell pitched 3.1 innings of two-hit, one-run baseball, in relief, to gain the W. Andrew Means, Kipp Schutz and Michael Earley all had two hits each. Josh Phegley homered for the second time in '08. Jeff DeSmidt went yard for Minnesota.
Northwestern and Purdue split their seven inning affairs. NU captured the initial game, 11-3. Jake Owens and Jake Goebbert, the Wildcats' two and three hitters, both went 4 for 4. Owens scored four times and had two RBI. Goebbert scored once and collected six RBI. Leadoff man Aaron Newman had a three hit, four runs scored, one RBI game. No one other than the top three hitters for NU managed a hit or RBI. Eric Jokisch went the distance -- seven innings -- allowing five hits and five walks while striking out five. Brandon Haveman had two hits and scored twice for the Boilermakers.
Game two saw Purdue prevail, 10-2. Boilers' catcher Eric Nielsen had three hits, three RBI and scored twice. Brandon Haveman also had a three hit game while scoring three runs and driving in another. Your winner is Allen Donato (2-3). Donato worked six yielding six hits, three walks, one earned run while striking out three. NU's Jake Owens had two more hits and two RBI in the finale.
This leaves us with Michigan's sweep of Iowa. The Wolverines won game one, 4-3 in ten innings. Basically, this game was the Zach Putnam Show. On the mound, Michigan's All-America candidate gave up just three hits over eight innings while striking out twelve. Yep, twelve K's. Putnam didn't allow an earned run, as the Wolverines committed three errors. However, Putnam didn't earn the win. That went to Tyler Burgoon in relief. With the bat, Putnam won the game in the tenth with a RBI double. Putnam had hit his first homer earlier in the game. He ended up 3 for 5 at the plate with two RBI and two runs scored.
Lost in all of Putnam's exploits was the fine game tossed by Iowa's Michael Jacobs. The lefty went 7.1 innings giving up seven hits and two earned runs, but he didn't walk a batter. He was the Black and Gold's star for me.
The Zach Putnam Experience carried over in the game two. Iowa had gone out to a 3-0 lead when Michigan came to the plate in the fifth. The Wolverines scored three times to tie the game when, with two outs, Putnam launched a mammoth homerun to put Michigan in front, 5-3, which ended up the final score. Chris Fetter (4-0) tossed a seven inning complete game in the nightcap. The righthander yielded three hits, a walk and three earned runs. Fetter also fanned six.
Just as in the first game, Iowa's starting pitcher was the story in game two. Brock Alberts gave up five hits, a walk and two earned runs, but took the loss. Kevin Hoef had two hits and two runs scored for the Hawkeyes.
Sunday's schedule calls for doubleheaders in East Lansing and Ann Arbor, while the other three venues have single contests to close out the first weekend of Big Ten action.