Friday, May 23, 2008

Big 10 Tournament: Day Three

The first two games on Friday clearly revealed one thing: Indiana can rake. The Hoosiers began the day in an elimination game against Illinois. IU scored early and often en route to a 14-7 triumph over the Illini. Josh Phegley did a significant portion of the damage by cranking out two homers and driving in six. Phegley went 4 for 4 with, appropriately, four runs scored. Chris Hervey continued his hot tournament hitting by going 3 for 4 with two RBI and four runs scored.

Tyler Tufts threw a complete game win. Tufts improved to 6-5. The Illini countered with Dominic Altobelli and Ryan Hastings both collecting three hits, two runs scored and a RBI. The loss eliminated Illinois from the tournament.

The Hoosiers' bats appeared to have done enough with IU leading Penn State, 7-4, in the ninth inning of the second game of the day. Then, PSU's Rob Yodice doubled in a run to cut the lead to 7-5. With two Nittany Lions on base, two outs and down two strikes, Cory Wine crush a double off the right-centerfield wall to tie the game at 7-7. An Indiana error eventually allowed Wine to score the go-ahead run and put PSU up, 8-7.

The four run final frame appeared to give PSU all the momentum they needed for a tremendous come-from-behind victory. However, the IU bats were not quite done for the day. Two singles, a fielder's choice and an infield single loaded the bases for the Hoosiers' Tyler Cox. Cox connected on a game-winning grandslam giving IU a 11-8 win.

The victory kept IU alive for another day and dashed both the come-from-behind effort and the season for Penn State.

Ethan Wilson's 4 for 5, five RBI, two run effort got lost in Cox' walk-off blast. Joe Blackburn had three hits, two runs scored and two RBI for PSU.

The final game of the day was the long-awaited match-up between the top two seeds. #1 Michigan faced #2 Purdue for the first time this season. Unlike the early games, a pitcher was clearly the star of this game. Michigan's Chris Fetter allowed Purdue just four hits, four walks and a single run over seven innings to help lift UM to a 6-1 triumph over the Boilermakers. The first-team All-Big Ten hurler struck out ten Boilers along the way.

Leif Mahler had a couple of RBI to lead the Wolverines. Adam Abraham, Jason Christian and Derek VanBuskirk all had two hits apiece. Jonathan Lilly drove in the lone Purdue tally.

The loss drops Purdue into an elimination game tomorrow afternoon against Indiana. The winner of that game gets Michigan Saturday night. Regardless of whom advances, if Michigan wins Saturday night, they are the tournament champions. If Michigan loses tomorrow night, the Big Ten Tournament will have a championship game on Sunday.

Sidenotes:

* For those in the Ann Arbor area, keep in mind that the Michigan softball team will be hosting the Super Regional tomorrow afternoon starting at noon. (Although, if I read the schedule correctly, which is questionable after yesterday, baseball will not begin Saturday until closer to 3:30pm.)

* Speaking of regionals, as was mentioned in the comments here, it's starting to look like Michigan's chances for hosting are improving. Some believe it's already a done deal. There's also the rumor that Michigan has submitted a bid to host a Super Regional, just in case.

* Fisher Stadium is infested with pro scouts. They are everywhere. Hopefully, there spending some money while in Ann Arbor. We could use the revenue here in Michigan.

* The weather was much better today, but not quite as good as the predictions have been. It's supposed to be even better tomorrow.

* Any thoughts on the all-tournament team yet?