Sunday, April 27, 2008

IU Drops Michigan, Purdue Within One Game Of First

The Big Ten race got a bit tighter again on Sunday. Here's the Sunday scoreboard.

Indiana 11 Michigan 4
Tyler Tufts pitches a complete game for IU. Tufts allows seven hits and seven walks, but wins for the third time as IU splits their weekend with #24 Michigan. Jerrud Sabourin goes 4 for 5 and Josh Phegley collects two hits, two RBI and scores three times. Phegley and Michigan's Adam Abraham both knocked out their seventh homers of the season.

Michigan State 11 Iowa 10
The Spartans break a 10-10 tie in the bottom of the ninth to win it. MSU's Eric Roof has two hits and three RBI. Steve Gerstenberger goes yard for the second time this year. Ryan MacFarlane tosses two innings of hitless relief to notch the W. Kyle Riffel's two hits and three RBI pace Iowa.

Purdue 6 Minnesota 4
Nick Overmyer has two hits and two RBI to lead Purdue past the Gophers. Brandon Haveman and Dan Black also had a pair of hits. Kyle Cook (3-1) worked 6.1 innings giving up four hits, three walks and one earned run. Eric Decker led the Gophers' attack with two hits, a run and a RBI. The win pulled the Boilermakers within a game of Michigan for first place.

Northwestern 14 Ohio State 8
Max Mann had three RBI while Mike Kalina and Jake Owens each drove in two for NU. Chris Lashmet had two hits, a RBI and scored four times. Jonahtan Purcell posted his first win of the year. Matt Havey's fourth save was four innings long. Ryan Meade and Tony Kennedy both had three hit games for OSU.

Illinois 17 Penn State 6
Kyle Hudson had three hits, three runs scored and two RBI for the Illini. Daniel Webb had two hits, two runs scored, three walks and three RBI. Freshman Casey McMurray was a perfect 4 for 4 with three runs scored, a walk and a RBI. Brandon Wikoff also drove in three for Illinois. Starter Billy Barrett's five innings of work were enough to get the win. Wes Borden drove in two PSU tallies and Ryan Boonie had two hits, two walks, a run scored and a RBI.

Here are the updated standings.

Michigan 17-3
Purdue 16-4
Illinois 11-9
Ohio State 10-9
Penn State 10-10
Northwestern 10-10
Michigan State 7-12
Minnesota 6-14
Iowa 6-14
Indiana 6-14

I think it's safe to assume that the Wolverines are probably back outside the top twenty-five. The bigger question is how far will their RPI drop with two losses in Bloomington?

The Boilers have now pulled within a game of the first place Wolverines. Let's take a peek at both program's remaining schedules.

Ohio State
@ Minnesota

@ Indiana
Michigan State
@ Illinois

I would say the schedule favors the Boilermakers, even though they've got two road trips, but you are welcome to disagree. Regardless of my opinion, this has been an odd season and clearly anything could happen over the next three weeks.

The complete schedule for next weekend looks like this: OSU @ Michigan, Purdue @ IU, Minnesota @ Iowa, Northwestern @ Illinois and Michigan State @ Penn State.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Boilers Move Closer To Top

Purdue moved a game closer to first-place Michigan by sweeping their Saturday twinbill with Minnesota. The Boilermakers took the opener, 7-6, and game two, 7-5. Kevin Cahill's 4.1 innings of three-hit relief helped lift Purdue to the victory in game one. Dan Black had two hits and two RBI. Jon Moore drove in two and Ben Wolgamot and Ryne White both had a pair of hits. Minnesota freshman Mike Kvasnicka homered, scored twice and drove in two for the Gophers.

2.2 innings of hitless relief earn Purdue's Drew Wurdack the win in the finale. Chris Ivanic got the save by tossing the final frame. Alex Jaffee and Nick Ovemyer both had two RBI for Purdue. Wolgamot, Ovemyer and Brandon Haveman had a pair of hits. Matt Nohelty (who had two hits in the opener) and Nate Hanson both had a pair of hits for Minnesota. Hanson drove in two. Derek McCallum went yard.

Indiana helped the Boilers move a game closer to first place by beating Michigan 2-1 in the first of their two Saturday contests. Matt Bashore gave up five hits, five walks and struck out eight en route to a seven-inning complete game. Evan Crawford had two hits, a run scored and a RBI. Jerrud Sabourin was 3 for 3. Michigan's Chris Fetter worked 6.1 innings giving up seven hits and three walks while fanning five over 6.1 innings, but took his first conference loss. Adam Abraham drove in the Wolverines only run.

Michigan rebounded in game two and beat IU, 11-4. Michael Powers worked 5.2 innings allowing two hits and a walk to post the win. Powers struck out five. Nate Recknagel went 4 for 4 with two runs scored and three RBI. Abraham had three hits, three RBI and scored once. Both Recknagel and Abraham homered. Alan Oaks also went yard for Michigan. IU's Sabourin drove in two.

Illinois and Penn State played three. Well, actually, they had to finish last night's game which was stopped by rain in the eighth. Illinois prevailed, 20-11. I recapped the majority of this game last night, but Daniel Webb ended with five hits, five RBI and three runs scored. John Schlichter also had five RBI along with four hits and four runs scored. PSU's Rob Yodice had three hits, three RBI and scored twice.

Penn State took game one of today's scheduled doubleheader, 16-5. Cory Wine homered twice, drove in five and scored three. Scott Kelley also went deep twice for PSU. Kelley drove in three and scored twice. Yodice homered amongst his two hits, had three RBI and three runs scored. Wes Borden, Landon Nakata and Brian Ernst all had three hits. Mike Wanamaker tossed a seven-inning complete game. Pete Cappetta homered and drove in three for Illinois.

PSU took the final game today, 10-7. Yodice, Wine and Nakata all drove in two. Nakata homered. TJ Macy started and got the win. Illinois' Ryan Hastings had three hits, including a homerun, scored twice and drove in two. Aaron Johnson also had three hits for the Illini.

Ohio State and Northwestern split their double-dip. NU captured game one, 6-4. Chad Noble went 3 for 3 with a homer, scored twice and had one RBI. Jake Owens also homered, drove in three and scored once. Eric Jokisch won and Matt Havey posted the save. OSU's Tony Kennedy was a perfect 4 for 4. J.B. Shuck drove in two.

In the nightcap, single-happy OSU homered three times in the second inning and posted a 13-1 triumph. Brian DeLucia's inside-the-park grandslam highlighted the longball output. Ryan Dew hit a three-run homer and Dan Burkhardt also hit a solo shot. Ryan Meade and Justin Miller both had a pair of RBI. Dean Wolosiansky pitched a seven-inning complete game giving up nine hits, a walk and one earned run. Jake Goebbert had a pair of hits and Jake Wilson drove in the NU tally.

Michigan State swept their pair versus Iowa. MSU won the first game, 6-3. Mark Sorenson fanned eight Hawkeyes and allowed one earned run while tossing a seven-inning complete game. Sorenson also struck out eight Iowa batters. Steve Gerstenberger and A.J. Shindler each had a hit, run and RBI to lead a balanced MSU attack. Iowa's Tyson Blaser had two hits, a run and a RBI.

MSU broke a 7-7 tie with an nine-run eighth inning. Kyle Day and Eric Roof both homered and drove in four runs. Chris Roberts also had a four RBI game. Jonathon Roof had three RBI. Kurt Wunderlich posted the win. Caleb Curry went yard for Iowa, drove in four and scored twice. Justin Toole had two hits, two runs and two RBI.

Through Saturday's games, here are the standings. (Presuming, of course, I did the math correctly.)

Michigan 17-2
Purdue 15-4
Ohio State 10-8
Penn State 10-9
Illinois 10-9
Northwestern 9-10
Minnesota 6-13
Iowa 6-13
Michigan State 6-12
Indiana 5-14

Friday, April 25, 2008

Michigan, Purdue Maintain Top Spots

Hope you are enjoying this Friday night across the Big Ten. So far, it's been more of the same around the conference. Michigan mauled another team. Purdue keeps winning and Josh Lindblom piles up the saves in the process. It's always singles night when Ohio State wins.

Perhaps, just perhaps, all of this repetition will help sort out the conference race. Three more games on tap for everyone this weekend and three more weekends left before the conference tournament gets underway. (I can't believe how this season is flying by.)

Here's what happened today:

Michigan 14 Indiana 6
Derek VanBuskirk followed his three-homer, nine RBI Sunday with another homer and five RBI's today. VanBuskirk had three hits as did Adam Abraham who also went yard and drove in three. Leif Mahler and Nate Recknagel also were members of the three-hit club. Zach Putnam went seven innings yielding seven hits, two walks and five earned runs to move to 4-0. Tyler Rogers had two hits and three RBI for IU.

Purdue 6 Minnesota 2
Matt Bischoff gives up eight hits, two walks and two earned runs over 5.1 innings to collect the victory. Josh Lindblom posts save number ten by working the final 1.2 innings. Brandon Haveman had three hits, a run scored and a RBI. Johnathan Lilly drove in two. Jeff DeSmidt had three hits while Nate Hanson and Eric Decker both had two hits, a run scored and a RBI for the Gophers.

Ohio State 11 Northwestern 2
Jake Hale (4-1) works eight innings of eight-hit baseball to claim the victory. The OSU righthander allowed three walks and two earned runs. OSU collected fourteen singles amongst their seventeen hits. Dan Burkhart had three hits and three RBI. Justin Miller had three hits, a run scored and two RBI. Michael Arp also had three hits while scoring twice. NU's Jake Owens homered amongst his two hits and had one RBI and run scored. Jake Goebbert and Max Mann both had two-hit games.

Iowa 16 Michigan State 2
Iowa's Brock Alberts holds the Spartans to seven hits and one earned run over eight innings to impove to 4-3. The Hawkeyes banged out twenty hits. Wes Freie led the way with a pair of hits and four RBI. T.J. Catlado had two hits, two runs scored and two RBI. MSU's Chris Roberts had a pair of hits.

Illinois 16 Penn State 11 (8th inning)
The Illini's Daniel Webb has four hits and four RBI. John Schlichter has three hits, three runs scored and three RBI. PSU's Rob Yodice has a pair of hits, two runs scored and three RBI. There's already 27 runs on thirty-seven hits in the eighth. (I'm not sure if it's raining in Champaign, but GameTracker is stuck on the bottom of the 8th. This one may be over by now.)

Onto the leader board:

Michigan 16-1
Purdue 13-4
Ohio State 9-7
Illinois 9-7 *
Penn State 8-8*
Northwestern 8-9
Minnesota 6-11
Iowa 6-11
Michigan State 4-12
Indiana 4-13

If the Illini/Nittany Lions' score holds, Illinois will have third place all to themselves. If PSU mounts a comeback, both teams will be tied for fourth. (Technically, if PSU comes back, they would hold the tiebreaker over Illinois, so they would be fourth, but let's not be quite so technical just yet.)

Try and get out to the ballpark near you this weekend. Your school and college baseball would love your support.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bonadonna Named National All-Star

Illinois' Joe Bonadonna was named to the National All-Star Lineup, the College Baseball Foundation's weekly award. Bonadonna hit .692 this past week.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Recknagel Grabs National Honor

Michigan's Nate Recknagel was named the Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball.

Recknagel is currently second in the nation in home runs with 16, ninth in slugging percentage at .823 and 35th in RBI with 47. (Although the RBI list is crammed full of ties.)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Late Night Sunday Wrap-Up

Yes, it's almost Monday, but it's never too late to update Sunday's scoreboard, is it?

Michigan 27 Michigan State 6 (box)
Derek VanBuskirk clubs three homers to help power Michigan to the sweep over MSU. VanBuskirk had four hits, scored four times and had nine RBI. Jason Christian had four hits, three runs and five RBI. Leif Mahler had four hits, two runs scored and four RBI. Christian, Mahler and Nate Recknagel all left the yard for Michigan. Michael Powers posted his fourth win. MSU's Chris Roberts had a four hit game, as well.

Minnesota 4 Illinois 3 (box)
Illinois 9 Minnesota 7 (box)
The Gophers scored in the bottom of the ninth to take game one. Minnesota's Tom Steidl went 3 for 3. Jeff DeSmidt and Mike Kvasnicka both had a pair of hits. Cullen Sexton got two outs to win the opener. Illinois' Joe Bonadonna had three hits and Dominic Altobelli drove in two.

In game two, Bonadonna went 4 for 4 with a run scored, two RBI and two stolen bases. Mike Sterk gets the win in relief. The Gophers' DeSmidt homered and drove in three.

Penn State 11 Indiana 9 (box)
Seth Whitehill gives up five hits, a walk and two earned runs over seven innings to earn his fourth victory of the year. Rob Yodice's three hits led PSU. Yodice scored once and drove in another. Joe Blackburn had two hits, three RBI and a run scored. Rick Marlin had two hits, two runs and two RBI. IU's Michael Earley went 3 for 3 with two RBI. PSU swept the weekend from the Hoosiers.

Northwestern 13 Iowa 6 (box)
Northwestern 9 Iowa 6 (box)
Chris Lashmet homered and drove in five for NU. Nate Roberts had two hits and two RBI. Tommy Finn also homered for NU. Eric Jokisch improved to 4-2 with five innings of work in the first game. Kevin Hoef had three hits, a run scored and a RBI for the Hawkeyes.

Wildcats' OF Roberts had a four hit game in the finale. The freshman also drove in three and scored a run. Jake Owens, Aaron Newman and Jake Goebbert all had three hit games. Matt Havey got the W, Jonathon Purcell posted the save. Iowa's Justin Toole went 4 for 5 and Wes Freie homered.

Ohio State 8 Purdue 4 (box)
Purdue 7 Ohio State 5 (box)
Justin Miller drove in three runs for OSU in the first game. J.B. Shuck had two hits, two runs and a RBI. Cory Kovanda also had a pair of hits. Dean Wolosiansky (5-2) earned the win. Eric Best came out of the bullpen to get his fifth save. Purdue's Brandon Haveman, Jon Moore and Jonathon Lilly each had two hits.

Ryne White's three run ninth inning homer lifted the Boilers to victory in game two. White also had two hits and two runs scored. Jordan Comadena scored twice and drove in two on one hit. Josh Lindblom worked the final three frames to get the win. Ohio State's Shuck had a good start -- working seven innings while scattering four hits, two walks and one earned run. Shuck also fanned seven batters, but didn't factor in the decision. The Bucks' Miller was a perfect 4 for 4 with a RBI. Kovanda had two hits, two runs and two RBI. Kovanda also hit his first homerun of the season.

Michigan 15-1
Purdue 12-4
Illinois 9-7
Ohio State 8-7
Penn State 8-8
Northwestern 8-8
Minnesota 6-10
Iowa 5-11
Michigan State 4-11
Indiana 4-12

Wasn't I the guy who liked MSU and Indiana as sleepers? So much for my expertise. Perhaps, this lack of knowledge secures my spot as an official media member. There has to be some condolence, doesn't there?

I'm not ready to concede the regular season title to Michigan yet, but that was an impressive woodshed-style beating of MSU this weekend. The Wolverines have the ability to simply overpower teams.

I think it's safe to call Penn State resurgent. Coach Wine's side is moving up the standings. Much like Purdue, the Nittany Lions have rebounded from early season woes that I feared would be indicative of their whole season. The players and coaches -- at both programs -- deserve credit for not packing it in after rough starts.

As for the Boilermakers, their series win in Columbus has to quiet the doubters. Again, I've liked the Boilers on paper, but their performance rarely lives up to my expectations. This year, however, they look to exceed my predictions.

Because I know you are wondering, here's next weekend's schedule: Michigan @ Indiana, Iowa @ Michigan State, Ohio State @ Northwestern, Penn State @ Illinois and Minnesota @ Purdue.

The debate over the player/pitcher of the year was so good, that I'm offering up a new question for BTH readers. This week's question: Who is on your all-conference team after the first month of the season?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Open Thread Saturday

I'm not sure what my schedule is going to look like Saturday, so I'm going to leave this an open post where all of you can update scores, highlights and the like in the comment section. It's doubleheader day across the Big Ten, but the rain that hit the western portion of the conference is heading east and may play a role in the other three venues Saturday.

If the opportunity arises, I'll check in here with an update.

Get out to the ballpark near you and take an umbrella.

Update: I'm back at the PC, so let's see how things have proceeded around the Big Ten.

As a few BTH readers have checked in with UM/MSU scores already, I'll start with them. (My thanks to both for updating the site.) Michigan did indeed sweep their twinbill in East Lansing. Chris Fetter moved to 7-0 on the season in Michigan's 10-4 triumph in the opener. Fetter went 5.1 giving up seven hits, two walks and all four MSU runs. Jason Christian had three hits, two runs scored and a RBI. Zach Putnam had two hits, two RBI and scored once. The Spartans got a pair of hits from Chris Roberts and A.J. Shindler. Shindler and Eric Roof both drove in two runs.

In the finale, 2,210 saw Michigan win 7-1. Travis Smith posted his third win for the Wolverines. Smith gave up seven hits and a walk over 5.2 innings. Michigan's 3-4-5-6 hitters, Nate Recknagel, Zach Putnam, Adam Abraham and Derek VanBuskirk, all homered. Recknagel and Abraham both drove in two runs and Abraham paced Michigan with two runs scored. Roberts and Jonathon Roof both had two hits for MSU in the loss.

Illinois throttled Minnesota, 15-2, in game one of their double-dip. Illini DH Daniel Webb homered twice amongst his three hits to lead the way. Webb had three RBI and scored twice. Dominic Altobelli had two hits, two runs and drove in three. Craig Lutes collected three hits, scored twice and drove in another. Kevin Manson scattered six hits and one walk over eight innings to earn the W. Nate Hanson's two hit, one RBI, one stolen base performance led the Gophers.

The Illini took game two, 7-3. Illini CF Kyle Hudson goes 3 for 4 with three runs scored and three steals. Aaron Johnson goes yard and drives in two. Webb gets two more hits and two more RBI in the nightcap. Scott Shaw is your winner. Mike Sterk records the save. Jeff DeSmidt and Derek McCallum drove in runs for the Gophers.

Penn State dropped Indiana, 8-1, in their first of two Saturday. Mike Wanamaker tossed a seven inning complete game. Wanamaker allowed one earned run on seven hits and didn't walk a batter. He struck out six. Wes Borden, Landon Nakata and Joe Blackburn each drove in two runs for PSU. Five Nittany Lions had two hit games. Jerrud Sabourin went 3 for 3 with a run scored for IU.

Rob Yodice's single in the bottom of the ninth plates Borden and PSU wins, 3-2, over IU. Yodice had a pair of hits and drove in two in the second game. Blackburn had another two hit affair as did Rick Marlin. Paul Hawkins got the win in relief. Andrew Means had three hits and scored once for IU. Josh Phegley had one hit and a RBI.

Jake Goebbert was the star as Northwestern beat Iowa, 13-5. The NU sophomore 1B had three hits, including his seventh homer and two doubles, three RBI, scored four times and walked once. Jake Owens also homered. Chris Lashmet and Chad Noble both had two RBI for NU. Joe Muraski's seven hits, two walks and three earned runs over six innings gave him the victory. Iowa's Justin Toole had three hits while Kevin Hoef and Caleb Curry each went yard.

The Hawkeyes won the second contest, 8-3. Curry goes 4 for 4, scoring twice and driving in two more. Toole has a 3 for 3 nightcap and scores twice and drives in one. Matt Mossey works five to post the win, Andrew Porter tosses the final two innings to merit a save. Lashmet, Mike Kalina and Tommy Finn drive in the NU tallies.

In Columbus, Purdue's Matt Jansen threw a six-hit, seven inning 8-0 shutout over Ohio State. Jansen struck out three and didn't walk a single Buckeye. Boilermakers' 3B Dan Black homered twice, had six RBI and scored twice. Brandon Haveman went 3 for 4 with a run scored and a RBI. J.B. Shuck collected two of OSU's six hits.

I've spent the last several minutes trying to run down a game two score from Bill Davis Stadium to no avail.

Update #2: According to Todd at The Buckeye Nine, the second game of the Purdue/OSU doubleheader has been re-scheduled for tomorrow.

Everyone is now done. Here are the standings (as of 9:07pm EST).

Michigan 14-1
Purdue 11-3
Illinois 8-6
Ohio State 7-6
Penn State 7-8
Northwestern 6-8
Minnesota 6-9
Iowa 5-9
Indiana 4-11
Michigan State 4-11

Week Four Friday Night

For all the naysayers that claim nobody cares about baseball across the Big Ten, a fair amount of people showed up at the three contests that were played this evening. No, they weren't football-sized crowds, but they did fill the ballparks up. I would dare say that all three venues attracted more fans than some traditional west coast powers muster at home. Hats off to the fans in Columbus, State College and Ann Arbor.

Purdue 7 Ohio State 4 (box)
Ryne White goes 4 for 4 with two homers, three runs scored and three RBI to lead the Boilers to a road victory. Brandon Haveman collected three hits and Dan Black drove in two. OSU's Dan Burkhart had a pair of hits, scored once and drove in one run.

Matt Bischoff posted his second win. Josh Lindblom recorded his eighth save by striking out four of the six batters he faced.

3,093 showed up in Columbus for the battle between the second and third place teams in the Big Ten.

Penn State 7 Indiana 3 (box)
Ryan Stobart (2-2) works 7.1 innings allowing all three IU runs and picks up the win. Drew O'Neil came on to post his seventh save of the year. Rick Marlin led the PSU bats with three RBI. Brian Ernst had two hits and scored twice. IU's Josh Phegley had two hits and drove in two.

2,596 were in attendance at State College.

Michigan 8 Michigan State 3 (box)
A standing room only crowd of 2,814 saw Zach Putnam toss seven innings of four-hit baseball to lead Michigan to the win. Putnam improved to 4-0 and didn't allow an earned run while fanning five and walking two. Leif Mahler had three hits and two RBI to lead the offense. Jason Christian and Kenny Fellows both drove in a pair of runs, as well. Adam Abraham homered for the Wolverines.

Chris Roberts had two hits, scored twice and drove in one for MSU. Kyle Day also collected a pair of hits and had one RBI.

The other two contests -- Illinois at Minnesota and Northwestern at Iowa -- were postponed by rain.

Michigan remains atop the conference at 12-1. Purdue still holds down second place at 10-3. In spite of losing, Ohio State is still in third at 7-5. The rained out Illini are fourth at 6-6. Minnesota and Northwestern are next at 5-7. Penn State moves up to 5-8.

Iowa is at 4-8. Losing today dropped both Indiana and Michigan State to 4-9.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Caution: Losses And Falling RPI's

Since I last typed, we've had a fair amount of midweek games take place. Unfortunately, the results for Big Ten programs were mixed at best. Oh, forget that. Let's be honest. This batch of results was awful. I'll comment some more at the end, but you can review for yourself.

Dan Black goes yard twice for Purdue, but the Boilermakers fall to Miami, 5-3. While this performance elevates Black's Player of the Year candidacy, it's not a good loss for the program. Miami's now 10-23, while Purdue is at 17-16.

Another MAC program, Akron, jumped up and bit Penn State, 5-3. Wes Borden went 3 for 4 for your Nittany Lions. Seven errors in this one, PSU kicked four of them.

Louisville outlasted Ohio State, 13-12. OSU's Justin Miller went 5 for 5 with five RBI. Miller also slugged his first homer of the season. Brian DeLucia had three RBI for the Bucks. John Dao, Justin McClanahan and Andrew Clark all collected four hits for the Cardinals. Clark drove in four, as well.

Minnesota let a five run lead disappear and eventually lost to Northern Iowa, 9-8. Eric Decker, Nate Hanson and Jeff DeSmidt, the Gophers' 2-3-4 hitters, all went yard. Decker and DeSmidt had three RBI, Hanson had three hits. Chris Lopez and Brett Featherston both homered for UNI. Northern Iowa is now 21-10. Minnesota's 15-18.

More MAC damage: Central Michigan got past Michigan State, 10-7. Kyle Day paced the Spartans with three hits and two walks. Justin Potes hit homer number four. The Spartans are 13-17, CMU is 16-18.

(As an aside, in recent weeks CMU has toppled Michigan, Ohio State and MSU in midweek games. The Chippewas, however, fell to Oakland University, 13-7, on Tuesday. Five Golden Grizzlies went yard vs. CMU. Just thought I'd point that out.)

Michigan was not very neighborly in taking two from Eastern Michigan this week. Nate Recknagel hit a game winning homer in the ninth to lift the Wolverines past the Eagles, 5-3, Tuesday night. Jason Christian homered earlier in the inning and ended with three hits. Mike Wilson (2-3) claimed a relief win.

The next afternoon, Michigan overpowered EMU, 20-5. Recknagel hit homerun number 13 amongst his three hits. Adam Abraham had a three hit, two run, four RBI performance. Zach Putnam drove in three. Christian went 3 for 3, scoring twice and driving in two runs. Mike Dufek posted the win.

Iowa beat Creighton, 8-3, at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha. Caleb Curry homered and drove in four to lead the Hawkeyes. Zach Kenyon gave up one hit and one walk over the first four innings to post the win. Jack Dahm's side is now 13-18. The BlueJays are 24-11.

As if Louisville didn't do cause enough problems in Columbus, the Cards beat Indiana, 5-4, this week. Jerrud Sabourin's three hits led IU. Andrew Means stole his twentieth base of the year.

A different set of Cardinals handed IU another midweek setback. Ball State, these MAC programs gave the Big Ten all kinds of problems this week, slipped past IU, 3-2. Once again, IU's Sabourin led the charge with two hits. IU fell to 15-18. Ball State is 21-11.

Eastern Illinois spanked Illinois, 13-3. Zach Skidmore led EIU with four RBI. Three EIU pitcherd combined to hold the Illini to just three hits. Illinois is now 18-13. EIU is 17-15.

What is that? Three wins? Two of them by Michigan and a nice road W for Iowa. 3-8 in midweek contests isn't good. If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times, these midweek games just crush the Big Ten. They, generally, expose the conference's lack of depth, especially on the mound, and devastate everyone's RPI. Not to mention their street cred.

I understand the reality of this situation -- coaches trot out freshmen, try nudging players out of slumps by giving them more PT, sit some of their regulars and often don't travel with a full roster. Yet, these games do as much to hurt the programs as winning on the weekend helps.

Seriously, if you combine this batch of midweek action with the previous results from this year, can you argue that anyone in the Big Ten is truly deserving of an at-large bid? I'm willing to spot you Michigan. (Although, I think they are in a precarious spot, RPI-wise. More on that in a bit.) Other than Rich Maloney's squad, can anyone make a case for their program getting into the field of 64 without winning the conference tournament? I may be the leading advocate of baseball in this conference and even I can't say with any conviction that the Big Ten merits an at-large bid.

In reviewing both Boyd Nation's and Warren Nolan's calculations, Michigan's RPI is currently around 47. However, Illinois has the second highest RPI in the Big Ten at around 120. That's a mighty big gap and well beyond the bounds of at-large consideration.

Purdue's RPI is an underwhelming 152 (WN) and Ohio State is at 137 (WN). Even if third place OSU sweeps the second-place Boilers this weekend in Columbus, how much are they going to move up beating a 152nd ranked side? Conversely, if Purdue were to sweep, they would end up where? 120's? 100's? Is that going to land you an at-large berth in a field of sixty-four?

This is why Michigan's RPI number is so precarious. With the Big Ten's RPI in the toilet overall (16th as a conference, to be exact), it's going to be difficult to move up the RPI ladder, but painfully easy to slide down. As an example, when Michigan took three of four at Penn State a few weeks back, their RPI dropped ten slots. The Wolverines next two conference opponents are Michigan State and Indiana. The Spartans' RPI sits at 179 and Indiana is at 192 (BN). Losing to either is not the recipe for RPI success.

In what's been one of the strangest years I can recall, the Big Ten may have already positioned themselves as a one-bid league.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Answering My Own Questions

On Sunday, I left you with a couple of questions. Who are in your top five candidates in for Big Ten Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year? So, I suppose I should take a few moments to offer my own response.

My top five for Player of the Year are Michigan's Nate Recknagel and Zach Putnam, Ohio State's J.B. Shuck, Indiana's Josh Phegley and Northwestern's Jake Goebbert.

Putnam and Shuck would both be in my top five candidates for Pitcher of the Year, as well. I've also got Michigan's Chris Fetter, Michigan State's Chris Cullen and Indiana's Matt Bashore.

For those of you who object to my list of candidates, take heart. I don't actually get to vote on these awards. Although, that's clearly just an oversight from the conference office. Or not.

Also, rest assured, I've got a long list of deserving names right on the heels of my five selections. However, my request was for only five names and I'm sticking to my own arbitrary parameters.

More Scores And Standings

A few more scores to catch up on since I left you yesterday. I'll start with the two Sunday results.

Michigan State 1 Ohio State 0 - Game Two
MSU's Chris Cullen tosses a two-hit, eight inning, complete game, shoutout victory. (That was kind of long, I admit.) The Spartans senior walked two and struck out five while improving to a perfect 4-0. Chris Roberts drew a walk to drive in the winning run. OSU's J.B. Shuck went 7.1 giving up four hits, three walks and one earned run. Shuck fanned seven.

Northwestern 10 Minnesota 0 - Game Two
Wildcats' Joe Muraski (3-3) gives up two hits, two walks, and struck out seven en route to a seven inning complete game win. Chris Lashmet homered and drove in four. Jake Goebbert also had four RBI for NU.

On Monday, NU and Minnesota played two more with similar results as Sunday.

Northwestern 6 Minnesota 5 - Game One (7 innings)
Tommy Finn homered and drove in two. 3B Chris Lashmet also had two RBI. Eric Jokisch picked up win number three and Matt Havey recorded save number two. Matt Nohelty went 3 for 4 with two RBI.

Minnesota 9 Northwestern 3
Matt Nohelty, Nate Hanson, Jeff DeSmidt and Jeremy Chlan all had three hits. Chlan scored three times and drove in two. Dustin Braebender earned his third win. Mike Kalina had two hits and two RBI.

Ok, let's update the standings with these games in the rearview mirror.

Michigan 11-1
Purdue 9-3
Ohio State 7-4
Illinois 6-6
Minnesota 5-7
Northwestern 5-7
Indiana 4-8
Penn State 4-8
Iowa 4-8
Michigan State 4-8

Yeah, it's a mess. A tight mess, but a mess nonetheless.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Masters' Sunday

As the final round of the 2008 Masters concludes, so does the third weekend of play in the Big Ten. This is a semi-live blogging effort, so the post will change as the day progresses.

Minnesota 7 Northwestern 4 - Game One

Gophers freshman OF Mike Kvasnicka homered, drove in two and scored twice to lead Minnesota to victory in the first of two in Evanston. Kvasnicka, Matt Nohelty, Nate Hanson and Jeff DeSmidt all had two hits apiece. Nohelty and DeSmidt both had a pair of RBI. Tom Buske improved to 4-3. Cullen Sexton posted the save. Mike Kalina had two hits and scored twice for NU.

Ohio State 5 Michigan State 4 - Game One
The Buckeyes five run fourth inning was enough to win it. J.B. Shuck went 3 for 4 with a RBI and a run scored. Dean Wolosiansky moved to 4-2 on the year while Eric Best posted his fourth save of the season. MSU's Chris Roberts and Jonathon Roof both had two hits in the loss.

Penn State 13 Purdue 3
Rob Yodice homered twice and drove in four. The PSU DH also collected three hits and scored three times this afternoon. Wes Borden had three hits, two runs and two RBI. Brian Ernst had two hits, two runs and two RBI. Seth Whitehill (3-3) worked seven innings giving up two hits, five walks and two earned runs.

Michigan 7 Illinois 4
The Wolverines sweep Illinois. Jason Christian and Leif Mahler, Michigan's middle infield, each had two hits, scored twice and drove in one. Travis Smith picks up win number number three by going seven innings of seven-hit baseball. Smith allowed three walks and two earned runs. Brandon Wikoff and Daniel Webb both had three hits in the loss.

Iowa 10 Indiana 5
Iowa's Kurtis Muller homers, scores twice and drives in four. Caleb Curry scores four times. Ryan Gryzwa drives in two for the Hawkeyes. Kyle Heim earns the win. Jerrud Sabourin collects three hits for IU.

In progress...

Ohio State 0 Michigan State 0 (7th)
J.B. Shuck and Chris Cullen are tossing dueling two-hitters through seven.

Minnesota @ Northwestern
No GameTracker to follow this one.

Standings (as of 5:25 pm EST)

Michigan 11-1
Purdue 9-3
Ohio State 7-3
Illinois 6-6
Minnesota 4-5
Northwestern 3-6
Indiana 4-8
Penn State 4-8
Iowa 4-8
Michigan State 3-7

Here are some thoughts I have as this weekend's play finishes.

Where has IU's pitching gone? I know I've been maintaining that the Hoosiers make the Big Ten tournament, but they simply have to get better pitching than they did the last two weeks. Of course, cutting down on errors wouldn't hurt, either. They kicked four this afternoon.

In the opposite dugout, Iowa breathed life back into their season by taking three of four in Bloomington. I haven't checked on the stats, but it seems to me that Kurtis Muller's been hitting quite well since Big Ten play opened.

You just know those last few conference tournament spots are going to be decided on the final weekend of the regular season.

Michigan simply overwhelmed Illinois with the longball. The Wolverines hit nine homers in the first three games en route to sweeping the Illini.

That Purdue at Ohio State series is going to be big next weekend. Somebody could separate themselves from the rest of the pack and put the heat on Michigan.

What else is on tap in week four? Michigan and Michigan State are going to play their annual home-home-home series with the Wolverines hosting Friday and Sunday with the twinbill in East Lansing on Saturday. Illinois looks to rebound at Minnesota. Northwestern travels to Iowa where both clubs look to improve their post-season position. Indiana visits Penn State in what I think is an interesting series.

Let's hope next weekend's weather is much better than this weekend's was.

Questions for the BTH readership to ponder: Who is on your shortlist for Big Ten Player of the Year? Pitcher of the Year? Let's keep it around five names.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

On The Fly Saturday

While diligent BTH reader BaseballBucks33 has already posted some of this in yesterday's comments, here's what happened so far around the conference.

Iowa 12 Indiana 11 - Game One
Kevin Hoef was 5 for 5 with 5 RBI for the Hawkeyes. Justin Brauer was 4 for 4. Kyle Riffel homered amongst his three hits. Nick Erdman posted the win. Kyle Heim earned the save. Indiana's Josh Phegley hit a grandslam.

Iowa 13 Indiana 10 - Game Two
IU's Josh Phegley is 2 for 2 with a homer. T.J. Cataldo has gone deep for Iowa.

Michigan 14 Illinois 4 - Game One
Zach Putnam's homered twice, Adam Abraham and Derek Van Buskirk have also gone yard for Michigan. Putnam had six RBI and scored four times. Chris Fetter improved to 6-0 by going six innings and giving up three earned runs on seven hits and a walk. Ryan Hastings homered and drove in two for the Illini.

Michigan 14 Illinois 6 - Game Two
Wolverines' 3B Adam Abraham had three RBI. Jason Christian, Nate Recknagel and Ryan LaMarre each drove in two. Chris Berset homered. Brandon Wikoff and Ryan Hastings had two RBI for the Illini. Ben Jenzen gets the win, Tyler Burgoon posts his fifth save.

Minnesota @ Northwestern cancelled
They are going to try again tomorrow.

Ohio State @ Michigan State
One game has been cancelled, the other postponed. A doubleheader in the snow/rain/cold on Sunday? We shall see.

Purdue 12 Penn State 4
Dan Black homered and drove in two. Black, Brandon Haveman and Ben Walgamot each scored three times. Andy Loomis improved to 3-0. PSU committed four errors. Cory Wine and Rick Marlin had two hits apiece in the defeat.

Purdue 4 Penn State 1
Allen Donato, Matt Jansen and Josh Lindblom held PSU to six hits and a run over seven innings. Jansen got the W, Lindblom grabbed his seventh save. The only player on either side with crooked offensive numbers was PSU leadoff man Brian Ernst who collected three hits. Ryne White, Jordan Comadena, Dan Black and Eric Nielsen drove in the Purdue runs.

Let's see if I can update the standings correctly. As of this second, we have this:

Michigan 10-1
Purdue 9-2
Ohio State 6-3
Illinois 6-5
Minnesota 3-5
Northwestern 3-5
Indiana 4-7
Michigan State 3-6
Penn State 3-8
Iowa 3-8

Update: The games are finally finished for today. I've updated all the scores and the standings as of 9:34 pm EST. They might even be correct. I might attempt to link boxscores and update the highlights later. Or I might just call it a night.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Third Weekend Begins

Chris Hervey's ninth inning infield single drove in Josh Phegley and lifted Indiana past Iowa, 12-11. As the score indicates, this was your prototypical see-saw slugfest. The teams combined for 32 hits. Phegley, who entered the week as the Big Ten's batting average leader, had five hits in six at bats. IU's catcher also drove in three and scored three times. Freshman firstbaseman Jerrud Sabourin had four RBI. Hervey drove in three, Evan Crawford scored four times. Chris McCombs notches the win in relief.

Obviously, Iowa had their share of offensive heroics. Justin Toole, Kurtis Muller and Tyson Blaser all collected three hits apiece. Blaser and Kevin Hoef both went yard for the Hawkeyes. Kyle Riffel had four RBI in the losing effort.

The Minnesota at Northwestern contest has been postponed due to travel problems. As it's snowing in Minneapolis and raining in Chicagoland, I guess I'm not surprised.

I also checked in on the Ohio State at Michigan State game that was scheduled to begin at 5:30pm. Gametracker didn't reveal any sign of a first pitch at quarter to seven. Methinks the rain has arrived in East Lansing. I don't know what the weather was like at midday in metro Lansing, but here in southeast Michigan it was pushing 70 with sunshine, albeit windy enough that I might even be able to hit one out. (Ok, maybe, not that windy, but you get the idea.)

I say all this to suggest that, perhaps, the start time should have been bumped up. I know that night games draw better, but I'd rather have gotten the game in under better conditions. The rest of the weekend looks far less pleasant. Yes, there are some logistics problems, but Columbus and East Lansing are just not that far apart that the Buckeyes couldn't have arrived earlier. I'm not hammering anybody, I'm just saying if there was a window of opportunity earlier, why not use it?

Last I checked, Penn State was up on Purdue, 8-4. If Coach Wine's squad holds on that would be an interesting result.

Michigan and Illinois are about to get underway in Champaign. Assuming it's dry enough to play, of course.

The third weekend's already had offensive fireworks, the usual assortment of midwestern April weather and a potential upset. Get out to the ballpark this weekend and support your team.

Update: As I was typing, Purdue was completing an eight-run eighth inning. The Boilermakers are now up, 13-8, over PSU. Brandon Haveman, Dan Black, Eric Nielsen and Nick Overmyer have all gone yard for the Boilers. PSU's Joe Blackburn has also gone deep and is 4 for 4 with five RBI.

Update #2: It appears we are heading for another football-like score in Champaign. Michigan leads the home standing Illini, 8-5, in the sixth. Nate Recknagel, Zach Putnam, Jason Christian and Leif Mahler have all gone long for the Maize and Blue. Dominic Altobelli has left the yard for Illinois. The Illini have uncharacteristically fumbled three balls already.

OSU and MSU are now in the eighth (suprise!) and are tied at 3-3. Justin Miller has a pair of hits and a RBI for the Bucks. MSU's Jonathon Roof and Chris Roberts both have a couple of hits. Jake Hale's worked all eight for OSU. He's given up nine hits, no walks and two earned runs while fanning five. The Spartans' Mike Monterey went seven giving up six hits, two walks and one earned run. Kurt Wunderlich is now on the mound for MSU. The Spartans have kicked the ball three times, Ohio State's made two errors.

Update #3: Michigan beats Illinois, 9-5. Putnam gets the win, Michael Powers the save. Mahler led the Wolverines with two RBI. Altobelli's two RBI paced the Illini. And, as rockybuckeye posted in the comments, OSU is up on MSU, 4-3, after an 11th inning bomb by Ryan Dew.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Odds, Ends and OPS

I know most of you raced home this evening to see if I did my math homework (i.e., Wednesday's OPS numbers). Well, I have, but I'll save those for the end. Let's look at some other news around the Big Ten first.

Before I get too far along, I had best post the boxscore from the Illinois at Indiana game I couldn't find a link to on Sunday. Both IU and Illini folks have been kindly dropping me the updated links. My thanks to all. Here's the box from a game in which Matt Bashore fanned eight over seven innings while allowing four hits, three walks and one run.

Michigan beat Toledo, 12-4. Want to guess who homered? Yep, Nate Recknagel went deep for the tenth time this season. The senior firstbaseman had three hits, three runs scored and two RBI. Zach Putnam also left the building amongst his three hits. Putnam also had two runs scored and four RBI. Kevin Cislo had three hits (didn't everybody?), three runs scored and three RBI. Derek VanBuskirk joined Recknagel and Putnam in the three-hit and homer club. Leif Mahler was the final Wolverine with three hits. Mike Wilson posted the win in relief.

In addition to winning games, Coach Hartleb at Illinois has been recruiting some, too. Here's a list of four more added to the Illini's incoming class.

The Illini's contest against versus Bradley was canceled as was Iowa's game against Nebraska.

Northwestern pounded Chicago State, 13-0. Jake Goebbert went yard twice. Nate Roberts and Jake Owens also homered. Owens, who had four RBI and scored three times, and Kenneth Avila both had three hit games. Goebbert, Roberts and Rob Campbell all had two RBI. Joe Muraski posted the win giving up five hits and no walks. This game only went six innings due to rain and lightning in the Chicago area.

Drew O'Neil grabbed another save in Penn State's 6-5 win over Pittsburgh. Read the PSU recap here. Scott Kelley, Ryan Boonie and Joe Blackburn all homered for the Nittany Lions. No box, yet. Kelley had three RBI, Blackburn had three hits.

There are some games in action this afternoon/evening and I may update those scores later. Or I may not. Maybe some of my OSU contingent will update the comments section with breaking scores.

Ben Walgamot of Purdue and Chris Fetter of Michigan were named the Big Ten hitter and pitcher of the week, respectively. Both are having first team all-conference caliber seasons.

I thinking you already read this, but Uncle Lar at Happy Valley Hardball points out that even though Michigan took three of four from PSU this past weekend, the Wolverines' RPI dropped ten spots. Their RPI is now in the 70s. That mark doesn't bode well for an at-large berth coming out of the Big Ten.

I attempted to watch some college baseball this afternoon, but, alas, the upper respiratory illness that has been plaguing the BTH household appears to have caught up with me. I saw about two innings of Oakland University's home opener against Eastern Michigan before admitting that my coughing might be louder than the ping of the bats and left the for home. My Grizzlies lost to EMU, 10-7. A six run ninth inning did in the boys in black and gold. (That hurts and I didn't even see it.)

Aaron Powell hit two homers and drove in four for EMU. It was a breezy afternoon and I'm a bit surprised that more balls didn't vacate the premises. OU's Andrew Stafford had a pair of hits and three RBI.

I know, I know. Enough with your OU talk, Brian, give us the Big Ten OPS leaders already. Alright, let's see who made this week's list.

Number one is Michigan's Nate Recknagel at 1.202. In second place is Northwestern's Jake Goebbert at 1.193. Josh Phegley of IU, who leads the conference in batting average, is third in OPS at 1.136. Fourth is Minnesota catcher Jeff DeSmidt at 1.090. Kipp Schutz of Indiana is next at 1.040. The sixth spot belongs to Eric Decker of Minnesota at 1.017.

Now, let me add two more names. Mike Kalina at Northwestern has missed action recently, so he doesn't have the at bats necessary to qualify him for the batting title. However, his OPS remains at 1.175. Purdue's Ben Walgamot finds his OPS at 1.071. Walgamot doesn't have enough official ABs to qualify yet, either. However, Walgamot has only five at bats less than Minnesota's Decker, so he does merit some mention here.

That's it for tonight. Thanks for stopping in and please pass the cough syrup.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sunday Rundown

Indiana 8 Illinois 1
Ok, I can't find a link to a boxscore or a recap of this game. What's up with that? If time permits, I'll try again later.

Illinois 7 Indiana 4
Brandon Wikoff was 3 for 3 and Dominic Altobelli had a three hit performance, as well. Freshman Illinois OF Casey McMurray drove in two. Scott Shaw pitched all seven innings to post his third win. IU freshman 1B Jerrud Sabourin homered and drove in two in the loss. Josh Phegley also went yard and kept himself in the conference Player of the Year race.

Penn State 10 Michigan 1 (box)
PSU starter Ryan Stobart (1-2) ends Michigan's undefeated Big Ten run. Stobart yields one run on six hits and a walk over seven innings to lift the Lions to victory. Calvin Grumley and Drew O'Neil each worked a scoreless inning to close out the Wolverines. Cory Wine had three hits, three runs and three RBI. Rob Yodice also drove in three for PSU. The Nittany Lions plated ten runs without the aid of an extra base hit.

Northwestern 5 Michigan State 4 (box)
Jake Owens' RBI double wins it for NU in the bottom of the ninth. Freshman 3B Chris Lashmet had three RBI for the Wildcats. Matt Havey got the win in relief. Havey worked 3.2 innings giving up only a hit and a walk. Justin Potes and Eric Roof both had a pair of hits for MSU.

Ohio State 8 Minnesota 7 (box)
Cory Kovanda, Ryan Dew and Dan Burkhart all drove in two runs. Tyler Engle had three hits. Eric Best pitched three innings of one-hit shutout relief to post the win. Nate Hanson had three hits and Jeff DeSmidt homered and drove in three.

Purdue 16 Iowa 3 (box)
Boilermakers' 2B Ben Wolgamot was 4 for 4 with three runs and three RBI. Brandon Haveman had three hits and scored four times. Jordan Comadena had two hits, two runs, two RBI and walked twice. Dan Black hit a grandslam. Jon Moore had three hits. Eric Nielsen went yard. Chris Ivanic got the win. Kyle Cook recorded his first save. Tyson Blaser was 3 for 3 and Caleb Curry homered for Iowa.

Here's what the standings look like after Sunday's games (conference record first; overall second):

Michigan 7-1; 17-8
Purdue 6-2; 13-14
Illinois 5-2; 16-8
Ohio State 5-3; 16-9
Indiana 3-4; 14-11
Minnesota 3-5; 13-14
Michigan State 3-5; 11-14
Northwestern 3-5; 7-14
Penn State 3-5; 9-17
Iowa 1-7; 8-17

Keep in mind that Indiana and Illinois play again Monday, so the standings will change tomorrow.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Michigan Stays In First

Michigan maintained its hold on first place in the Big Ten Saturday with a sweep at State College. Michigan's Chris Fetter and Penn State's Mike Wanamaker got into an old fashioned pitcher's duel in the opener which the Wolverines took, 1-0. Both Fetter and Wanamaker tossed seven-inning complete games. Fetter gave up four hits, three walks while pitching a shutout. Wanamaker answered by yielding only two hits, two walks and fanning four. The PSU starter allowed the game's only tally.

As you would expect in a game that featured only six combined hits, there wasn't much offense to report on. Michigan 3B Adam Abraham drove in the lone run. Fetter improved to a conference leading 5-0. Wanamaker's hard luck loss dropped him to 2-3.

Some offense did show up in game two, as Michigan prevailed, 6-3. Nate Recknagel continued his assault on Big Ten pitching by collecting three hits including his ninth homerun of the year. Recknagel also scored three runs. Kevin Cislo had a three hit game, as well. Zach Putnam and Alan Oaks both had a pair of RBI. Michael Powers (3-3) came out of the bullpen to record the win. PSU's Joe Blackburn and Cory Wine had the RBI in the nightcap.

In the lone single contest of the day, Illinois plated four runs in the top of the ninth to beat Indiana, 8-7. Kyle Hudson was 4 for 5 with three runs scored for the Illini. Daniel Webb homered amongst his three hits and drove in two. Brandon Wikoff and Dominic Altobelli both had two RBI. Mike Sterk was credited with the win, his first of 2008, and Ben Reeser pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth to post save number four.

Josh Phegley of Indiana was a perfect 5 for 5, scoring twice and driving in two Hoosiers' runs. Kipp Schutz had a three hit game and Jerrud Sabourin had two RBI in the loss.

In Columbus, Ohio State and Minnesota split their Saturday encounters. Kyle Carr allowed seven hits and two walks in shutting out the Buckeyes in game one, 6-0. Carr improved to 2-3 with the win. Kyle Knudson drove in two of the Gophers' tallies and Nate Hanson and Jeff DeSmidt both had a pair of hits for Minnesota. Cory Kovanda, Justin Miller and Michael Arp all had two hits apiece for OSU in the opener.

The Buckeyes took the finale Saturday, 4-1. OSU's Dean Wolosiansky (3-2) gave up six hits, two walks and one earned run en route to tossing the seven-inning complete game win. Tony Kennedy and Cory Rupert both had a pair of hits while Justin Miller, Rupert, Ben Toussant and Dan Burkhart had the RBI. Minnesota's Matt Nohelty had three hits and stole his 12th base of the season.

Michigan State and Northwestern split their twinbill in Evanston. MSU took the first game, 6-1. Spartans' LF Kyle Day had two homers, two runs scored and, not coincidentally, two RBI. MSU SS Johnathon Roof also had two hits and two RBI. Mark Sorenson pitched a seven-inning complete game. Sorenson struck out eight and allowed just two hits and a walk over his seven innings. Nate Roberts had two hits for NU.

Northwestern claimed the second affair, 3-2. Bo Schultz continued today's complete game trend by going the full seven innings for NU. Schultz gave up five hits, a walk and two earned runs. Schultz struck out six and is now 3-3. Jake Goebbert, Chad Noble and Tommy Finn drove in the Wildcat runs. Noble and Nate Roberts, yes, again, had two hits apiece. Chris Roberts had two hits for MSU.

Iowa and Purdue also grabbed a win apiece Saturday. Kurtis Muller and Kevin Hoef went yard in the opener to help lift the Hawkeyes to a 7-6 triumph. Muller had two hits and three RBI. Brock Alberts (3-2) posted the win and Andrew Porter recorded his first save. Dan Black and Jon Moore both had two RBI for Purdue. Brandon Haveman, Ben Wolgamot and Moore all had two hits in the opener.

The Boilers bounced back to take the nightcap, 4-3. Purdue scored once in the sixth to tie, once in the seventh and final frame to win it. Andy Loomis' two innings of one-hit baseball earned him the win. Josh Lindblom worked the seventh inning to get his fifth save. Jordan Comadena's two hits and one RBI led the Purdue offense. Iowa's Kevin Hoef and Kurtis Muller both had two hits and a RBI in the loss.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Friday Night Lights

Spring has to be on the way, we've got night games across the Big Ten this evening. There was one postponement. Indiana's game against Illinois was pushed back. The series will begin Saturday and run through Monday. The doubleheader will be on Sunday. While night games make up the majority of today's scoreboard, let's begin with the afternoon affair.

Kyle Day hit a grandslam and drove in seven runs as Michigan State thumped Northwestern 12-6. Justin Potes and Jonathon Roof also went yard for the Spartans. Mike Monterrey posted his first victory for MSU. Tony Vercelli homered for NU.

In the first night game completed, Michigan slipped past Penn State, 3-2. Zach Putnam (2-0) duplicated his 12 strikeout performance of a week ago, by fanning another dozen this evening. Putnam worked eight innings giving up seven hits and a walk. Tyler Burgoon recorded his fourth save. Nate Recknagel hit his Big Ten leading eighth homerun for the Wolverines. Brian Ernst and Rob Yodice had a pair of hits for PSU.

In progress:

Ohio State is leading Minnesota, 11-6. Cory Rupert has three hits for OSU. Matt Nohelty and Derek McCallum have three hits a piece for the Gophers. It's the eighth inning in C-bus.

Purdue is up on Iowa, 8-6. Ryne White and Dan Black have gone yard for the Boilermakers. It's the seventh inning.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Scoreboard Update

It's midweek and anything can happen in these midweek affairs. Case in point, Central Michigan dropped Michigan, 7-3, this afternoon. Michigan's potent offense was held to six hits, the Wolverines trotted out five pitchers, four of whom yielded a run or more and Coach Maloney's side committed three errors. You can package this one up any way you'd like and it's still a bad loss.

Indiana beat Miami, Ohio, 5-2. Doug Fleenor's six innings of one-hit work got him the win. Chris Squires recorded his third save. David Trager had two hits, Jerrud Sabourin scored twice.

Michigan State beat Eastern Michigan, 5-3. Dennis Jones and Eric Roof both went yard for the Spartans. Jones and Steve Gerstenberger both had mutliple hit games. Kyle Day drove in two for MSU. A.J. Dunn's one inning of middle relief was good enough to earn the win. Nolan Moody posted his third save fanning two of the four batters he faced.

Illinois State topped Iowa, 7-6. ISU's Kyle Cherney homered twice to lead the attack. Cherney collected three hits, three runs and three RBI. Kevin Hoef, Justin Toole and Kurtis Muller all had two hits apiece. Toole and Muller also had two RBI.

All other action is in progress.

Penn State 6 Bucknell 0 (4th)

Louisville 5 Purdue 4 (6th)

Illinois 4 St. Louis 0 (2nd)

Ohio State 6 Toledo 0 (5th)

Wednesday OPS

Last week ten players had an on-base plus slugging percentage above 1.000. This week? Six. That number is going in the wrong direction. Regardless, let's get a look at the half dozen that did make this week's list.

Our new OPS leader is Northwestern's Jake Goebbert at 1.233. In second place is last week's leader, Nate Recknagel of Michigan. Recknagel's OPS is at 1.188. Mike Kalina of Northwestern had his OPS stay the same at 1.151. Josh Phegley of Indiana slides into the fourth spot with an OPS of 1.123. Minnesota's Jeff DeSmidt checks in next at 1.104. Rounding out the top six is IU's Kipp Schutz, the only newcomer to the OPS countdown, at 1.019.