Michigan took both games from Iowa again this afternoon. The Wolverines won the first contest, 6-3. Nate Reckangel had two hits and three RBI. Kevin Cislo had three hits and scored twice. Michael Powers (2-3) earned the win by tossing 3.2 innings of shutout relief work. Kevin Hoef drove in two of the three Iowa runs.
Alan Oaks doubled, homered and drove in two runs in Michigan's 3-2 triumph in game two. Nate Recknagel had two more hits and a RBI in the finale. Ben Jenzen threw three innings of no-hit, no-run baseball in claim the win in relief. Michigan swept the weekend set from Iowa.
Indiana outscored Minnesota, 8-7. The Hoosiers' Kipp Schutz had three hits, three RBI and a run scored. Andrew Means had three hits, scored twice, stole two bases and drove in a run. Evan Crawford, Ethan Wilson and Chris Hervey all had two hits a piece. Chris Squires got a win and Chris McCombs the save for IU.
Eric Decker and Nate Hanson both had two hits, two runs scored and a RBI for the Gophers. Decker also walked three times. Kyle Knudson had two RBI. The Hoosiers and Gophers split their weekend encounter.
Purdue beat Northwestern, 8-6. Jon Moore's three hits and three RBI help lift the Boilermakers to victory. Jordan Comadena had two runs scored and two RBI. Chris Ivanic got his first win. Josh Lindblom worked the final two frames and posted his third save. Northwestern got three hits a piece from Aaron Newman, Jake Goebbert and Tommy Finn, but it wasn't enough. Purdue took three of four from NU.
Illinois and Michigan State split their doubleheader today. Illinois claimed game one, 5-3. Scott Shaw pitched a seven inning complete game. Shaw gave up six hits, a walk and two earned runs to improve to 2-1. Craig Lutes led the offense with a double, triple, run scored and RBI. Daniel Webb went 3 for 3. For MSU, Chris Roberts had two hits, a run scored and a RBI.
The Spartans avoided the sweep by capturing a 3-2 victory in the second game. MSU's Steve Gerstenberger and Evan Friedland both went 3 for 3. Gerstenberger also stole a pair of bases and scored once. Tyler Newsome (1-1) picked up the win in relief. The Illini, however, took three of four from the Spartans.
In a good old fashioned pitchers duel, Ohio State's J.B. Shuck beat Penn State and Ryan Stobart, 2-0. Shuck went eight shutout innings while fanning thirteen. 13 K's! Shuck gave up only four hits but did allow five walks. Shuck improved to 4-1. Eric Best came out of the bullpen to record his first save.
Stobart was also very good. He yielded six hits and three walks over eight innings. Only one of the two runs scored was earned. Stobart struck out five. As you would expect in a game dominated by pitching, there aren't a lot of crooked numbers on the offensive side. Tony Kennedy and Zach Hurley drove in the Buckeye tallies. Joe Blackburn had two hits for Penn State, the only player on either side with multiple hits. The two side split the four games played.
After the opening weekend, what do we have? Well, we've got Michigan sitting atop the conference at 4-0. Illinois and Purdue are both 3-1. Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio State and Penn State are at 2-2. Michigan State and Northwestern are in at 1-3, while Iowa starts 0-4.
Let me toss in a few random thoughts from the first four conference games of the season.
Even without All-America SS candidate Jason Christian, Michigan looks strong offensively. Recknagel, Putnam and Adam Abraham are the best 3-4-5 hitters in the conference.
Indiana's split with Minnesota was big for the Hoosiers. They managed to hold their own in Minneapolis and that was without star pitcher Matt Bashore taking a turn on the hill. (I'll have to try and find out why Bashore didn't appear this weekend. Hey, if you know, drop me an email.)
Purdue and Penn State breathed new life into their seasons.
Iowa is not an 0-4 team. They stayed with Michigan all weekend long. Alas, their bats just couldn't keep up with the Wolverines. Even without a win, the Hawks are still in conference tournament chase.
Michigan's Putnam strikes out 12 on Saturday and Ohio State's Shuck turns around and K's 13 today. Amazing.
Crazy stat #1: NU's Aaron Newman, Jake Owens and Jake Goebbert combining for all 11 Wildcats hits, all nine RBI and nine of the eleven runs scored in Northwestern's 11-3 romp over Purdue. Newman, Owens and Goebbert are NU's 1-2-3 hitters. Nobody other than their top three guys managed a hit or RBI.
Crazy stat #2: OSU had eighteen hits, but only two for extra bases Friday night. Both doubles.
For the record, as I don't believe I've stated it yet this season, I don't like the seven inning doubleheaders.
It's great to have baseball back here in the north. Now, if we can just get some more baseball-like weather.