Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Afternoon Scoreboard Watch

There are a number of games on today's schedule. Several of them are currently underway. Here's a quick rundown of their status as of 4:45pm EST.

Ohio State has held off Xavier, 9-7. Ryan Dew led the Buckeyes' with three hits and two RBI. Zach Hurley, Justin Miller and Cory Rupert also had two RBI a piece. Hurley and Michael Stephens both homered.

Bowling Green State is confounding Michigan, 5-1. It's the seventh inning in Ann Arbor and Mike Dufek's homer this frame accounts for the lone Maize and Blue tally. They've managed just three hits so far. (Update: Alan Oaks has just launched two-run bomb, it's still BGSU, 5-3.)

It appears Indiana has beaten Chicago State, 11-4. I say "appears" as the GameTracker has an "X" in the bottom of the fifth inning for IU. I'm thinking that's a wrap. Jake Dunning had two hits, two runs scored and three RBI for the Hoosiers.

Louisville's game versus Purdue and Illinois' contest against Illinois State have both been postponed.

Michigan State at Notre Dame, Upper Iowa at Iowa and Bucknell at Penn State will be played later today.

7:00pm Update
BGSU beat Michigan, 8-3. Three pitchers combine to hold Michigan to five hits. The Wolverines hurt their own cause by committing three errors. Typical midweek Big Ten ugliness.

As noted in the comments, the IU game was stopped due to rain. IU gets the W, however,

Penn State is up on Bucknell, 2-0. It's only the second inning.

Iowa and Upper Iowa are just underway. No report from MSU @ ND. I'm guessing it's raining in South Bend.

All-Weekend Team

The last All-Weekend Team of March is the first based solely on conference games. Let's dive right in.

C: Chad Noble, Northwestern - Noble didn't get many hits this weekend (2-for-7), but managed quite a bit of production. On those two hits, Noble scored three times and had four RBI. He homered, as well. The sloppy weekend weather robbed him of more at-bats.

C: Dan Burkhart, Ohio State - This guy's having such a good year that a .385 weekend (5-for-13) average looks low. The sophomore doubled, got hit by a pitch, drove in a run and scored four more.

1B: Matt Streng, Ohio State - A .300 weekend average (3-for-10) with five runs scored and seven RBI earn the Bucks' firstbaseman another AWT nod. Streng walked four times and homered twice.

2B: Derek McCallum, Minnesota - McCallum only had two games this weekend, but he went 4-for-8 with three runs scored and four RBI. McCallum also doubled, homered and walked.

SS: Michael Glantz, Penn State - The PSU shortstop collected five hits and ten at-bats (.500), scoring four runs and driving in three versus OSU. He walked and doubled along the way.

3B: Jordan Steranka, Penn State - Steranka went 6-for-12 with a triple, stolen base and walk. He also scored four times and drove in four more.

OF: Jake Goebbert, Northwestern - Thanks to the weather, the NU outfielder only played in two games this weekend, but Goebbert made the most of his AB's. He went 5-for-8 (.625) with three doubles and two walks. Goebbert scored three runs and had four RBI.

OF: Zach Hurley, Ohio State - Just another ho-hum weekend for the OSU leadoff hitter. Six hits in fifteen at-bats (.400), a double, two walks, six runs scored and two RBI. Hurley's production at the top of the OSU lineup continues to be a major reason why the Buckeyes are rolling.

OF: Michael Stephens, Ohio State - Stephens (and teammate Streng) paced the weekend RBI parade with seven. He scored once, but did get five hits in thirteen at-bats (.385). Stephens doubled, hit a sac fly and got hit by a pitch.

DH: Mike Dufek, Michigan - The junior went 6-for-12 (.500, but I'm guessing you Big Ten fans did the math without my help) with a pair of doubles and a stolen base. Dufek also scored a run and drove in four.

BN: Kevin Cislo, Michigan - The senior hit .364 (4-for11) with a double, walk and a stolen base. Cislo scored four times and drove in two more.

BN: Cory Kovanda, Ohio State - Here a Buckeye, there a Buckeye. Everywhere a Buckeye. Look, Kovanda just keeps hitting. Only appeared in two games vs. PSU, but hit .571 (4-for-7) with three walks and a pair of doubles. He scored three runs and drove in two more.

BN: Josh Parr, Illinois - The Illini freshman secondbaseman hit .364 (4-for-11) with a double, triple, walk, stolen base, two runs scored and three RBI.

BN: Justin Miller, Ohio State - Five hits in fifteen at-bats (.333) with a homer, three runs scored and three RBI.

BN: Ryan Dew, Ohio State - I'm not sure how many four-hit games Dew has posted in '09, but it's more than one. He went 7-for-14 with three runs scored and a RBI.

BN: Joe Bonadonna, Illinois - Did what you expect your leadoff hitter to do -- get on base. Bonadonna went 5-for-10 with three walks. He also doubled, stole a base and scored four times.

BN: Brandon Wikoff, Illinois - The Illini's number three hitter drove in five runs vs. MSU. He hit .333 (4-for-12) with a double, triple and two walks.

BN: A.J. Pettersen, Minnesota - Pettersen hit .500 (4-for-8) against IU. The Gophers' shortstop walked, got HBP, stole a base, drove in a run and scored three in two games.

BN: Alex Dickerson, Indiana - Like a few others on the team, Dickerson just didn't get the at-bats due to some foul weather. The freshman went two-for-five with two runs scored and two RBI. He walked twice, doubled, homered and got hit by a pitch.

SP: Will Strack, Illinois - The Big Ten's Pitcher of the Week tossed a complete game shutout vs. MSU on Sunday. Strack allowed just four hits and a walk while striking out three.

SP: Eric Arnett, Indiana - Another complete game for the IU hurler. Arnett surrendered two runs on six hits and two walks while fanning ten Gophers.

SP: Chris Fetter, Michigan - Our third complete game performance in-a-row. Fetter yielded three runs on five hits and a walk. The righthander struck out nine Hawkeyes.

SP: Matt Bischoff, Purdue - Make it four CG's. The Boilers starter gave up three runs, only two earned, on eight hits and a walk. Bischoff struck out 10 Wildcats.

RP: Steve Turnbull, Iowa - Posted his first win by holding Michigan scoreless over 1.1 innings. He allowed just one hit and struck out two. Turnbull got some help from ......

RP: Mike Schurz, Iowa - Tossed the final frame of the win vs. the Wolverines. Schurz didn't relinquish a run, hit or walk and struck out one and claimed his third save of the year.

RP: Drew Rucinski, Ohio State - Appeared in all three games vs. PSU. Rucinski, no stranger to the AWT, totaled six innings of work allowing just two hits, a walk and two earned runs. He also struck out five. (This addition comes at the nudging of a reader/commenter, who clarified one of Rucinski's "earned" runs. Check the comments and note that your suggestions can make a difference.)

BP: Chauncy Handran, Minnesota - Allowed just two IU runs over eight innings of work. Handran gave up six hit and a walk and whiffed four.

BP: Bryan Roberts, Illinois - The Illini frosh didn't get a decision vs. the Spartans, but tossed eight innings of seven-hit, two-run baseball. He didn't give out a walk and struck out three.

BP: Jarred Hippen, Iowa - Held the Wolverines to one run on five hits and two walks over 6.2 innings. He also K'd nine Michigan batters. Hippen didn't get a decision, but did make the All-Weekend Team. (Yeah, I had trouble typing that, too.)

BP: Eric Jokisch, Northwestern - Alas, Jokisch lost the complete game duel with Purdue's Bischoff. The NU lefty allowed four runs, but only one was earned. He also surrendered eight hits and four walks while striking out five.

BP: Joe Muraski, Northwestern - Yes, two NU hurlers. Muraksi went six full innings letting in one earned run on just five hits. Muraski K'd eight Boilers.

BP: Dean Wolosiansky, Ohio State - Wolosiansky garnered his fourth win by giving up two runs on five hits and two walks over seven innings. Wolo fanned six.

You all know the drill. Questions, comments, correcting my math skills and the like should be sent via email. There's always a good chance I've done something wrong (either in omission or commission.)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Round-Up

As the snow falls here, it's no surprise to learn that we lost two Big Ten matches to the weather today. Minnesota at Indiana and Purdue at Northwestern both lost the battle with the elements. However, the remainder of the Sunday slate did manage to get played, even if some were in less than ideal baseball conditions.

Penn State 15 (28) Ohio State 11
The Nittany Lions get a good win in bad weather. Ben Heath and Michael Glantz, PSU's eight and nine hitters, each drove in three runs to lead the offense. Glantz had three hits and two runs scored. Heath had two hits and two runs. Jordan Steranka had two hits, two RBI and three runs scored for the home side. Blake Lynd also had a three-hit game. Cory Kovanda's four-hit game paced the Buckeyes' bats. Michael Stephens had three RBI for OSU. PSU's David Lutz (3-0) got the win. Ryan Ignas posted his second save.

Illinois 3 Michigan State 2 (Game One)
Illinois 3 Michigan State 0 (Game Two)
The Illini capture the opener when Dominic Altobelli got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. Yes, there were two outs. Bryan Roberts worked eight innings giving up seven hits and two runs. Roberts struck out three and didn't allow a walk. However, Roberts got a no-decision as Nick Chmielewski got the win in relief. Josh Parr had two hits and a RBI for the winners. Jeff Holm and Eric Roof had two hits apiece for the Spartans.

More Illini pitching on display in the nightcap. Will Strack tosses a complete game, four-hitter. Strack improved to 2-0 while giving up one free pass and striking out three. Dominic Altobelli hat two hits, including a homer, with two RBI to lead Illinois' offense.

Michigan 7 Iowa 5
The Wolverines' Kenny Fellows had four hits, three runs scored, two RBI and four stolen bases. Mike Dufek had three hits and three RBI. Kevin Cislo had two hits and three RBI. Travis Smith's (4-2) 4.2 innings of relief earned him the win. Tyler Burgoon tossed the final two frames and was credited with the save. T.J. Cataldo had two hits and two RBI for Iowa. Wes Freie had two hits, two runs and a RBI in the loss.

Let's see if I can do the math off the top of my head. Illinois took all three games from MSU. Ohio State and Michigan took two of three. Minnesota, Indiana, Purdue and NU are all .500 at 1-1. Iowa and Penn State are 1-2. MSU is 0-3.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Live Blog: BTN's MSU @ ILL

This year is my first with access to the Big Ten Network. Yesterday, I spent more time watching the network than I have in the previous six months combined watching the Michigan State/Illinois conference opener.

Today, BTN is broadcasting MSU's Saturday encounter with the Illini from Champaign. I'll attempt to follow along. This, of course, presumes the game is not affected by the elements. (Right now, we've got swimming. Michigan crushed the rest of the conference.)

4:00pm - Yep, it's raining in Champaign. Great.

4:02pm - We are getting "The Quad" as rain delay filler. Time for me to check for other college baseball action. Hey, I have to vote for awards at season's end. It's a bit better to be a modestly informed voter.

4:03pm - My choices are Alabama at Florida or Mississippi at LSU. I'm leaning towards the latter, but let's be honest -- channel-flipping is on the docket.

4:05pm - For my friend Ian, who may or may not be reading, here's a look at lunch.

This ham sandwich barely fits into the take-out container. This is today's evidence that I don't need Twitter to provide reports on my every mundane action. (Another photo soon. I know you are excited. We are in a rain delay, kids. I've got time to kill.)

4:10pm - Let's review the rest of today's Big Ten action. You can't expect BTN to provide a crawl or a bounce back to the studio for even the briefest of updates.

Iowa 2 Michigan 1
The Hawkeyes' Steve Turnbull got the win (1.1 IP, 1 hit and 2 K's, nothing else) and Mike Schurz got the save (one perfect inning) posted the save, but the story is Jarred Hippen. Hippen went 6.2 innings giving the Wolverines one run on five hits and two walks. Hippen whiffed nine. Justin Toole's two hits and RBI led Iowa. Eric Katzman wasn't awful for Michigan, but couldn't get enough support. Mike Dufek's double and RBI paced the Wolverines.

4:17pm - It's the Rebels and Tigers, for those of you curious which game I am currently watching. (Although, it's more like listening as I type.)

Northwestern 13 Purdue 4
Wildcats' OF Jake Goebbert goes 4 for 4 with three RBI and three runs scored. Chris Lashmet had three hits, including a homer, three RBI and a run scored. Chad Noble also had a three-RBI outing. Joe Muraski went six innings yielding a run on five hits. Muraski fanned eight. Francis Brooke worked the last three innings and got the save. Purdue's Tyler Spilner didn't get a hit, but drove in two runs.

4:25pm - LSU's Lewis (or is it Louis?) Coleman is plain filthy. Ole Miss is not getting a lot of good looks at the Tigers' starter. He's thrown 19 strikes in 23 pitches.

4:30pm - It's looks like all of yesterday's losers are getting revenge today.

Indiana 3 Minnesota 2
Eric Arnett tosses a complete game for IU. The Hoosiers righthander surrenders two runs on six hits and two walks. Arnett struck out ten Gophers. Freshman Alex Dickerson got two hits, with a homer, and two RBI. Evan Crawford also had two hits for IU. Derek McCallum homered and drove in two for Minnesota. A.J. Pettersen had a two-hit game.

4:38pm - The SEC announcers are wondering aloud if the ten-run mercy rule should be put into play during the regular season. The conference (the SEC, not the Big 10) uses it during their tournament. I'm not crazy about it. I guess it depends on what we are trying to accomplish? I realize the odds of coming back from a ten run deficit aren't good. Yet, if we are trying to teach these young adults how to handle life, which doesn't always go our way, wouldn't these kinds of defeats be a teaching opportunity? What do you think?

4:45pm - Well, The Ohio State stops the trend of Friday losers becoming Saturday winners.

(28) Ohio State 12 Penn State 2
Buckeyes' 1B Matt Streng went yard twice, had three hits in total, drove in five runs and scored three runs. Ryan Dew had a four-hit game. Eric Best started and worked six innings giving up two runs on six hits and two walks. Best had four strikeouts. Drew Rucinski (one inning) and Jake Hale (two innings) finished the game by not allowing a run, hit or walk. Hale fanned two. PSU's Jordan Steranka had two hits. Blake Lynd and Bobby Jacobs had the RBI.

4:55pm - The MSU @ Illinois game is the only one left on today's docket. Still "The Quad" on BTN. LSU leads, 1-0. The Tigers' new Alex Box Stadium is very nice. At least, that's my impression from the television coverage.

5:00pm - A quick look at radar indicates that the rain has nearly reached my front door.

5:03pm - Rain is still coming down in Champaign, as well.

5:05pm - The SEC broadcast is interviewing the Ole Miss coach. I don't like these in-game interviews. That's just me, though.

5:24pm - Rain continues in Orange and Blue country. I wonder if they'll get this one in or not? Will the network broadcast the game if it starts late, but at a reasonable hour (like 8:00pm)? They do have a classic football game scheduled for later this evening. Can't preempt that, can they?

5:28pm - Apparently, the Baton Rouge area was hit with a tornado a couple of days ago. The LSU football practice facility received some damage as did the new ballpark. The outfield wall is tied down.

5:30pm - As promised, here's another sandwich photo.

5:35pm - Eight K's for LSU's Coleman in the fifth inning. He's got a different motion. Kind of David Cone-like. Keeping with the Big 10 theme, a bit like Chris Fetter's, but more over-handed. He strikes out his ninth as I typed this paragraph. Now, I'm doing live LSU/Mississippi coverage. Of course, former MSU coach David Grewe is LSU's pitching coach.

5:38pm - I think I'm making myself hungry with the photos. Oh, and it's Louis (not Lewis) Coleman. He's given up just one hit thus far.

6:00pm - I'm expecting an update from BTN shortly.

6:03pm - Wrong, again. We are seeing "Greatest Seasons, 1989". No update beyond the "Weather Delay" logo. I'm taking this opportunity to do other things. Should the game be played, I'll start up the live blog, again.

10:00pm Update - The MSU/Illinois contest was finally postponed. They will attempt to play a doubleheader tomorrow.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Big 10 Opening Day

Conference play will begin in just about an hour. Here are the weekend's match-ups:

Minnesota @ Indiana
Behind The Plate previews the IU/MN series.
The official IU preview.
The official Gophers' take on the weekend.

(28) Ohio State @ Penn State
The official OSU press release contains video, as well. Very nice.
Here's the Nittany Lions official preview.

Purdue @ Northwestern
The official 'Cats preview.
The Boilermakers official release.

Michigan @ Iowa
Varsity Blue gives some history and a preview.
Iowa's SID offers up the Hawkeyes' preview.
The Michigan Baseball page offers links for the weekend.

Michigan State @ Illinois
IBR previews the Spartans visit to U-C.
Official Illini preview of the weekend.
The Spartans perspective on the three-game set.
Don't forget the Big Ten Network is broadcasting both the Friday and Saturday games.

I'll be back, probably late in the day, to wrap-up all of today's action. You are always welcome to post comments on this thread as the games are being played. Scores, opinions, highlights, share to your heart's content. Just play nice.

It's March, so weather may end up a factor. However, if you can make it out to the ballpark, I encourage you to do so. I know the players and coaches would appreciate your presence. Just bring a hat. Maybe an umbrella. Gloves might not hurt, either. You've got a blanket, right? You know those little hand-warmer things? Yeah, those can be helpful from time-to-time. I don't even have to mention a coat, do I? Be prepared to use them all and be equally prepared to shed them, if necessary. It's spring, after all.

Enjoy the start of Big Ten play, everyone.

4:30pm Update
The Gophers score six in the fourth inning and lead IU, 7-1. Minnesota is back up in the top of the fifth.

Purdue got three in their first at bat and lead NU, 3-0, in the second inning.

4:50pm Update
Apparently, I credited IU with a tally they didn't get at 4:30. However, the Hoosiers have since plated two runs and it's 7-2, Gophers, in the sixth.

Chad Noble has homered and Jake Goebbert doubled in another, but Purdue still holds on to a 4-2 lead over NU. Nick Overmyer has two RBI for the Boilers.

10:00pm Update
While our friend Chris Webb, of Buckeye Nine, has kept you up on the scores (you are reading the comments, correct?), let's take a peek at some of the highlights.

(28) Ohio State 8 Penn State 3
Dean Wolosiansky (4-1) gives up two runs over seven innings. Wolo surrendered five hits and two walks while striking out six. Drew Rucinski came out of the pen to seal the deal. Michael Stephens drives in three. Justin Miller homers and gets two RBI. PSU's Jordan Steranka collects two hits (including a double) and two RBI.

Minnesota 12 Indiana 5
Chauncy Handran goes eight innings yielding two runs on six hits and a walk. Handran (4-1) strikes out four. Derek McCallum gets three hits, two RBI and two runs scored. A.J. Pettersen has two hits and scores three times. Jon Hummel homers and drives in two for the Gophers. Jake Dunning's two hits and two RBI led IU.

Illinois 10 Michigan State 2
Casey McMurray and Brandon Wikoff each have three hits and four RBI to lead the Illini. Joe Bonadonna also has a three-hit game. Lee Zerrusen fills in for the injured Phil Haig and tosses six innings giving up three runs, two earned, on five hits and four walks. Brandon Eckerle's two hits paced MSU.

Michigan 4 Iowa 3
All-American Chris Fetter throws a complete game five-hitter. Fetter (4-1) gives up three earned runs, but only one walk and strikes out nine. Mike Dufek gets two doubles, drive in a run and scores another. Kevin Hoef drives in two of the Hawkeyes' three runs.

Purdue 4 Northwestern 3
Dueling complete games tossed here. The Boilers' Matt Bischoff gets the win giving up eight hits and a walk. The righthander gives up three runs, two earned, and fans 10 Wildcats. NU's Eric Jokisch also goes the distance giving up eight hits. Jokisch walked four, but only one of his runs allowed was earned. The lefty K'd five. As noted earlier, Chad Noble homered for NU. Nick Overmyer had two RBI for Purdue.

The favorites all hold serve in the conference openers. Tomorrow could be an interesting weather day, so we'll see how many games get played. I may attempt to blog along with the Big Ten Network broadcast late tomorrow afternoon. However, that's just a tentative plan. Any number of things could derail my idea.

Thanks to Chris Webb for being our scoreboard operator this evening. I hope everyone enjoys the remainder of their Friday evening.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wilson Is OU Hit Leader

Pardon a brief non-Big Ten aside. On March 14, Justin Wilson became Oakland University's all-time hit leader. The Golden Grizzlies senior toppled the old mark in style by going 4 for 4 versus Dayton.

Most here know I spent a few semesters at OU, as such, their baseball program gets the occasional plug here. This is one of them.

They also beat Notre Dame in South Bend today, 6-5. I guess that's two plugs.

Burkhart, Phegley On Bench List

Two Big Ten catchers are on the initial watchlist for the 2009 Johnny Bench Award. Ohio State's Dan Burkhart and Indiana's Josh Phegley are both on the current list, which will continue to be revised until early May. Not surprisingly, the Bench Award is given to the best catcher in the country.

I have to come clean. I have no idea if this is old news or not. The list I've seen doesn't indicate the date on which it was released. The most notable absence from the Big Ten would be Illinois' Aaron Johnson. He merits consideration as one of the best backstops in the country.

The boys at the big programs are certainly going to get all the love, but the Big Ten representatives would appear to have a solid chance at winning this award in 2009.

Wednesday Linkage

Ohio State's Alex Wimmers claims more honors. This week the Buckeyes' starter was named to the National All-Star Lineup produced by the College Baseball Foundation.

A pair of former Wolverines have made the Chicago White Sox Opening Day roster. Chris Getz and Clayton Richard were featured in a Chicago Tribune piece. (Thanks to Ian of Bless You Boys, a Detroit Tigers blog, for sending along the link.)

For the Hoosiers fans in the audience, we have a new IU baseball blog. It's called Behind The Plate.

It's never too early to start looking at RPI figures. Pseudo-RPI courtesy of Boyd's World. (The Big Ten has two teams in the top 20.) Warren Nolan offers RPI numbers, too. (Two in the top 25 here.) They also provide a Nolan Power Index. Ohio State sits at number two in the nation in this ranking.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Early Week Scoreboard Watching

Rollins 4 (28) Ohio State 1
I'm going to tell you what happened here. The Buckeyes woke up and found a nice, new, shiny higher ranking next to their name and spent rest of the day dreaming of their Tuesday game versus (2) Miami, FL. Entranced with their new found national acclaim and thoughts of their date with the 'Canes, the Buckeyes didn't pay a bit of attention to Rollins.

Central Connecticut State 11 Illinois 9
No clever story here. Just a hitting contest. Dominic Altobelli doubled, homered, stole a base, scored three times and drove in two. Brandon Wikoff, like Altobelli, had a three-hit game. Wikoff doubled and stole two bases. CCSU's Jay Schillaci had five RBI.

Eastern Michigan 3 Michigan 1
Not a great deal to report on here. Anthony Toth was the only Wolverines with two (or more) hits. EMU catcher Matt Skirving doubled, homered and drove in two of the three Eagle runs. Kyle Rhoad had three hits and two steals for EMU.

Illinois 6 Central Connecticut State 0
Freshman Bryan Roberts goes seven shutout innings allowing five hits and a walk while striking out eight. It's Roberts' second win of the season. Nick Stockwell had three hits and three RBI. Casey McMurray had two hits and three RBI.

Purdue 5 IPFW 2
A four-run bottom of the eighth wins it for Purdue. All-Big Ten performer Dan Black stays hot. Black had two more hits and three RBI to lead the Boilers. Jeff Straub gets the win pitching 2.2 innings of relief.

Penn State 9 Kent State 2
Mike Lorenston works 7.2 innings of five-hit, two-run baseball. Lorenston walked one and struck out four. Jesse Alfreno went the final 1.1 innings. Jordan Steranka drove in four runs on two hits including a homer. Blake Lynd and Rick Marlin both had three hits. A nice win for PSU, as many like Kent State to win the MAC this season.

Northwestern 0 Kansas State 0 (2nd inning)
It's early here.

(28) Ohio State 4 (2) Miami, FL 1 (5th inning)
Zach Hurley, Dan Burkhart and Matt Streng have RBI for OSU. Yeah, it's a big game.

9:00pm Update
(28) Ohio State 7 (2) Miami, FL 1
It's over in FLA. Alex Wimmers, Drew Rucinski and Jake Hale combine to hold the Hurricanes to just one hit and one run. Wimmers tosses five no-hit innings giving up one earned run on five walks and four Buckeye errors. Rucinski allowed the lone hit and a walk in his three innings. Hale fanned two of the three he faced in the ninth. Michael Arp homered and drove in two. Dan Burkhart had two hits. A huge win for both the Buckeyes and the conference.

10:00pm Update
Kansas State 4 Northwestern 3
Oh, so close. The Evanston Wildcats were leading 3-1 heading into eighth. Then, the Manhattan version 'Cats scored twice to tie and a homer in the bottom of the ninth won it for the Big XII Purple Cats. Frosh Zach Morton had a good start tossing five innings of three-hit, one-run baseball. He walked two and struck out three. Tommy Finn's two hits paced the northern version of Wildcats.

Hall Of Fame Tabs Larkin, Rickey

The College Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2009 was announced today. Amongst those honored by the College Baseball Foundation are two men with University of Michigan ties -- Branch Rickey and Barry Larkin. Rickey, who is also a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, coached Michigan 1910-13. Larkin, who would also appear destined for enshrinement in Cooperstown, was a star shortstop for the Wolverines from 1983-85.

The two Michigan legends will join Joe Carter (Wichita State), Darren Dreifort (Wichita State), Kirk Dressendorfer (Texas), Gordie Gillespie (Lewis/St. Francis), Keith Moreland (Texas), Rafael Palmeiro (Mississippi State), Ron Polk (Georgia Southern/Mississippi State/Georgia) and Todd Walker (Louisiana State) as members of the fourth-ever Hall of Fame class.

Monday, March 23, 2009

All-Weekend Team

A new week, a new challenge. This week I have to debate including Minnesota's Thursday game as part of their weekend series. Usually, stats for the AWT don't begin prior to Friday, yet I've included Thursday Big Ten games in the past. I've also allowed Monday games, whether scheduled or as part of a make-up date, so I had to ask what was the real difference between Thursday and Monday?

Then, I remembered something. This is my team, I can do whatever I please. As such, I'm going to include Minnesota's Thursday contest versus Dallas Baptist. I do this realizing this may paint me as a Gopher support, in some eyes. If that was the worst thing I was ever called, I'd be doing far better than most bloggers, so I'll roll with it.

C: Chad Noble, Northwestern - The weekend in New Mexico didn't go well for NU, but Noble did have a standout series. Noble posted eight hits in fifteen at-bats (.533) with a double. He scored twice and drove in six runs.

1B: Mike Dufek, Michigan - The junior firstbaseman had a .500 average (five hits in 10 ABs) with two doubles and two homers. Dufek walked, scored three times and had six RBI.

2B: Derek McCallum, Minnesota - McCallum was going to make the squad regardless. However, including the extra game boosted the Gophers' secondbaseman's totals to 5 for 11 (.454) with a triple and homer. McCallum scored four runs and drove in a weekend leading ten RBI.

SS: A.J. Pettersen, Minnesota - The redshirt freshman hit .636 (7 for 11) vs. DBU. Pettersen scored seven runs and drove in four. He also drew four walks and doubled.

3B: Dan Black, Purdue - The Boilers' star hit three more homers in two games. Black was 4 for 9 (.444) with four runs scored, two walks, a stolen base and eight RBI.

OF: Mike Kvasnicka, Minnesota - Another AWT nod for the Gophers' sophomore. His series at DBU included a seven for fourteen (.500) performance. Kvasnicka scored twice and drove in seven runs as the Gophers' swept.

OF: Jeff Holm, Michigan State - A first-time appearance for the MSU outfielder. Holm hit .333 (4 for 12) with a double and a walk. He scored four runs and drove in six.

OF: Alan Oaks, Michigan - The Wolverines outfielder doubled, homered, stole a base, scored twice and drove in two. Oaks hit .545 (six for eleven) versus IPFW.

DH: Matt Nohelty, Minnesota - A seven for twelve (.583) series vs. DBU gets Nohelty on the team. The senior doubled, walked, got hit by a pitch, drove in three and scored six runs.

BN: Justin Gominsky, Minnesota - Yep, more Gophers. Gominsky hit .385 (5 for 13), coaxed two free passes, doubled and stole a base. He also drove in three runs and scored seven runs.

BN: Brandon Wikoff, Illinois - Wikoff went eight for twelve (.667) over the weekend. He doubled, walked, drove in a run and scored four times.

BN: Justin Toole, Iowa - The Big Ten's Player of the Week (hey, I don't count every midweek game played) had a five for eleven (.455) set. Toole walked four times, scored five times and drove in two runs.

BN: Dominic Altobelli, Illinois - The senior hit .462 with a pair of doubles and a walk. Altobelli also scored three times and had five RBI.

BN: Tyson Blaser, Iowa - The Hawkeyes' catcher went five for eight (.625) in three games. Blaser doubled, scored three times and had two RBI.

BN: Chris Roberts, Michigan State - Roberts' beat-up my Golden Grizzlies with an eight for thirteen (.615) weekend. He tripled, walked, stole a base, got hit by a pitch, drove in a run and scored five times.

SP: Alex Wimmers, Ohio State - Another complete game shutout. Wimmers held Indiana's lineup to five hits and struck out fourteen. Not a single walk. He captured the Big Ten's Pitcher of the Week award.

SP: Scott Kelley, Penn State - Seven innings of three-hit baseball. No runs allowed, two walks and five strikeouts.

SP: Eric Katzman, Michigan - Ten K's over only six innings. Katzman gave up just one unearned run on four this and two walks.

SP: Calvin Grumley, Penn State - Two hits over six innings of work. Two walks, but no runs and a half dozen strikeouts.

RP: Austin Lubinsky, Minnesota - Four IP, one hit, no runs, no walks and four K's. Lubinsky claimed his first save of the season.

BP: Ben Reeser, Illinois - Three hits, a walk and six strikeouts over six innings. Reeser allowed two runs, but neither were earned.

BP: Matt Miller, Michigan - One hit, one walk and five K's in three innings of relief work. Miller didn't concede a run and picked up his second save.

BP: Nolan Moody, Michigan State - A complete game, six-hitter for the MSU senior. The righthander gave up four runs, three earned, two walks and fanned three.

BP: Blake Monar, Indiana - The frosh admirably dueled OSU's Wimmers, but came up on the wrong end. Monar yielded just four hits and two runs, but only one was earned. The lefty walked two and struck out six.

BP: Steve Turnbull, Iowa - Recorded his first save of the year by going 2.2 innings while surrendering only two hits. Nothing more. Turnbull also struck out six.

That's it for this week's team. You know the drill. The math is suspect. You are welcome to point out my errors, including any potential omissions you feel I've made, just have the courtesy to email me with them.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Playing Catch-Up

I've been rather busy today and I've still got things let to accomplish before the day is done, so here's a brief (and late) recap of today's action.

(30) Ohio State 9 Hartford 8
Justin Miller leads the Buckeyes hit parade with four and three RBI. Zach Hurley, Cory Kovanda, Michael Stephens, Ryan Dew and Michael Arp all had two hits a piece. Russ Oltorik earns his first collegiate win. It was save number four for Jake Hale.

Central Connecticut State 6 Illinois 4
Three hits a piece from Casey McMurray and Brandon Wikoff weren't enough. Pete Cappetta, Craig Lutes, Willie Argo and Josh Parr all had two hits.

Iowa 11 Western Illinois 1
Justin Toole and Kurtis Muller both had two hits and two RBI to pace the Hawkeyes. T.J. Cataldo, Tyson Blaser and Ryan Durant also had two hits. I can't tell by the funky link I found if Wes Freie got credit for the win or not.

Michigan 9 IPFW 2
Kenny Fellows drives in four. John Lorenz and Alan Oaks each have three hits. Lorenz and Mike Dufek both go yard. Your winner is Travis Smith.

Penn State 9 NY Tech 2
NYIT walked 11 Nittany Lions including issuing three free passes each to the top two in PSU's lineup. Mike Deese and Ben Heath were both a perfect 3 for 3. Landon Nakata's two RBI led PSU in that category. Calvin Grumley's six shutout innings garner him the victory.

New Mexico 13 Northwestern 4
Chad Noble's three hits led NU. Tony Vercelli and Chris Lashmet both had two hits. The Wildcats went through seven pitchers, the Lobos six.

Michigan State 7 Oakland 5
Chris Roberts and Brandon Eckerle both collect three hits, Eric Roof and Bo Felt led the RBI charge with two each. Your winner is Kurtis Frymier in relief. It's his first win of the year.

I did say this was going to be brief, right? I'm off to address other issues. (Again, why do I need Twitter?) The All-Weekend Team may, or may not, be delayed a day due to my schedule. I just want to cushion the blow should I not get around to posting it until Tuesday. Even with that looming over your head, I hope you enjoy the remainder of your Sunday evening.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Late Saturday Thread

Yes, the games are already underway and some have been completed. (Thank you, Mr. Formerly, for the updates.) I'm busy with other things, so I'll leave this post here for the rest of your Saturday comments.

8:00pm Update
Almost everyone is done. Only Northwestern's second contest of the day at New Mexico is going to go on for a while. Here's what we've got so far.

(30) Ohio State 8 Army 4 (Game 1 - Seven Innings)
(30) Ohio State 3 Army 1 (Game 2 - Seven Innings)
Matt Streng had two hits, two runs and three RBI in the opener for the Buckeyes. Zach Hurley (two RBI) and Ryan Dew both had a pair of hits. Eric Best improved to 3-0.

In the second affair, Dean Wolosiansky got the win going 4.1 innings and giving up one run on one hit and three walks. Middle reliever extraordinaire Drew Ruckinski picked up his second save. Justin Miller, Dan Burkhart and Cory Rupert drove in the OSU runs. Rupert and Michael Stephens both had two hits. (For the record, I still dislike seven inning games, doubleheaders or not.)

Minnesota 11 Dallas Baptist 9
The Gophers' Matt Nohelty collects four hits, two runs and two walks. Derek McCallum had five RBI. McCallum and Michael Kvasnicka went yard. Cullen Sexton came out of the bullpen to earn the win. He's now 4-0. Scott Matyas worked the ninth to get the save.

Illinois 7 Hartford 3
Dominic Altobelli's two hits, two runs and three RBI lead the Illini. Ben Reeser moves to 3-0 by going six innings and giving up three runs, but none earned. Reeser allowed just three hits and a walk. He also fanned six.

Michigan 4 IPFW 1
Eric Katzman's the story in Ann Arbor. The lefty works six full innings allowing four hits, two walks and one unearned run. Katzman also K'd 10 Mastadons. Matt Miller came on to pitch the final three stanzas and surrendered a hit, a walk and no runs. Miller struck out five. Mike Dufek's homer and two RBI were the offensive highlight for the Wolverines.

Central Connecticut State 12 Indiana 9
IU's Tyler Rogers had three hits, four runs scored and two RBI to pace the offense. Kipp Schutz had three hits, T.C. Knipp had three RBI. Vince Gonzalez continues his strong run with another two hits today. The Hoosiers bullpen gave up seven runs over the last two innings.

Penn State 13 NY Tech 2
Scott Kelley tosses seven innings of shutout baseball to help lift PSU to the win. Kelley gave up three hits and two walks while striking out five Bears. Jordan Steranka had three hits, two RBI and a run scored. Cory Wine had two hits, three runs scored and a RBI.

Michigan State 9 Oakland 6
The Spartans' Jeff Holm drove in five on two hits. Chris Roberts had three hits. Jonathan Roof had two hits, two runs scored and two RBI. OU's D.J. Jarrad also had the two-hit, two-run, two-RBI trifecta. MSU's Kurt Wunderlich gets the win in relief.

Purdue 10 SIU-Edwardsville 3
Dan Black homers again. Black also had two hits, two runs scored and three RBI. Jonathan Moore had three hits and two RBI. Eric Charles had two hits and three RBI. Matt Morgan posts the win going six innings and allowing two earned runs.

Iowa 9 Western Illinois 4 (Game One)
Western Illinois 7 Iowa 3 (Game Two)
In the opener, T.J. Cataldo drove in three runs to lead Iowa. Wes Freie had a three-hit game. Kurtis Muller had a pair of hits and RBI. Chet Zeise, Ryan Durant and Tyson Blaser all had two hits a piece. Nick Brown's your winner. Steve Turnbull earns the save.

Phil Keppler had three hits, including a homer, and two RBI for Iowa in the nightcap. Zach McCool also homered amongst his two hits. Justin Toole also had a two-hit game.

New Mexico 16 Northwestern 12 (Game One)
New Mexico 6 Northwestern 4 (Game Two, in-progress, fourth inning)
NU's Paul Snieder had two hits, including a homer, and four RBI. Jake Goebbert had two hits, three runs and three RBI. UNM banged out 22 hits. Not a good afternoon for the NU staff.

Chad Noble's two RBI are leading the way for the 'Cats in game two.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday's Action

There's one game underway as Illinois leads Army, 4-3, in the sixth inning. The remainder of today's menu looks like this:

Indiana vs. (30) Ohio State
IPFW @ Michigan
Minnesota @ Dallas Baptist
NY Tech @ Penn State
Northwestern @ New Mexico
Oakland @ Michigan State
Purdue @ Tennessee-Martin

Penn State and both Michigan programs are in legit home games, not just the "home team" playing in Florida or the like. IU and OSU are, however, in amongst the oranges and grapefruits. The Gophers important series vs. Dallas Baptist continues. I suspect their two losses at UT-Arlington will cost Minnesota their national ranking, but taking two at DB would help as they are a good program. Obviously, Purdue and NU needs some more W's.

It's another open thread Friday. I shouldn't have any need to prompt you to post scores and comments as the gameday proceeds, but I'll just offer it up as a reminder to you regulars or as an encouragement to any new faces here. I will return to post recaps and check up on you later.

Finally, if you are near East Lansing, Happy Valley, Ann Arbor or even one of the road games, head out to the ballpark. They would appreciate your support.

7:45pm Update: If you want to get a look at the Minnesota and Dallas Baptist game, DB has a single camera webcast available. It's 2-0, Gophers, after their first turn at bat. I'm not that impressed with those Gophers unis tonight.

8:00pm Update:
Michigan State 8 Oakland 4
Nolan Moody tosses a complete game. Moody gave up four runs, three earned, six hits, four strikeouts and two walks. Eli Boike homered for the fifth time. Boike had two hits, two runs and two RBI.

Army 9 Illinois 8
The Illini lose in the ninth. Brandon Wikoff and Dominic Altobelli both had three hits. Willie Argo went yard and drove in two.

Penn State 4 NY Tech 2
Bobby Jacobs homered and had three RBI. Cory Wine and Blake Lynd both had a pair of hits, Wine's were both doubles. T.J. Macy gave up seven hits and two walks over seven innings resulting in two earned runs. Reliever Ryan Ignas pitched two no-hit innings to claim the victory.

Michigan 4 IPFW 2
Kevin Cislo had three hits, drove in a run and scored another. Mike Dufek hit two hits and two RBI. Alan Oaks' opposite field homer put Michigan ahead for good. Chris Fetter gets his third win by going six innings giving up both Mastadon runs on seven hits and two walks. Tyler Burgoon's three innings of scoreless relief garnered him the save.

Minnesota 5 Dallas Baptist 3 (3rd inning)
Those Patriots rallied to take the lead, but the Gophers have just scored to take the lead.

8:30pm Update:
Purdue 5 UT-Martin 3 (4th inning)
Dan Black has homered and driven in three. Eric Charles has also homered.

9:00pm Update:
Purdue 11 Tennessee Martin 7
Dan Black homered twice and drove in five runs. Nick Overmyer and Jonathon Moore both had three RBI. Sean Collins won his first game of the year.

Minnesota 11 Dallas Baptist 3 (6th inning)
I've got no idea who has done what, but at least there's video.

Northwestern 4 New Mexico 3 (3rd inning)
Chad Noble has driven in three runs for NU.

10:05pm Update
(30) Ohio State 2 Indiana 0
Alex Wimmers is going to get more national attention this week. Wimmers throws a complete game, five-hit shutout. Wimmers did not walk a batter and struck out 14. Dan Burkhart had two hits. Michael Arp had the lone OSU RBI. IU's Blake Monar was also good tossing seven innings while giving up only one earned run on four hits and two walks.

Minnesota 15 Dallas Baptist 3
It's a final. I don't have individual performances yet.

New Mexico 11 Northwestern 6 (8th inning)

10:45pm Update
New Mexico 11 Northwestern 6
A seven run eighth inning wins for the Lobos. Noble ended with three hits and three RBI. Jake Goebbert drove in two.

That's a wrap for yet another Friday night of college baseball, Big Ten style.
Thanks to anyone and everyone that contributed.

Midweek Rundown

As I was cranking out lengthy posts earlier in the week, I haven't taken any time to review the scoreboard from the midweek contests. Let's breifly recap the scores and individual highlights.

Eastern Illinois 6 Indiana 3
Josh Phegley and Sterling Mack both go yard. Chris Hervey's two hits led IU.

Bowling Green State 16 Michigan State 13
The Spartans' Seth Williams goes 4 for 5 with three runs and a RBI. Eli Boike has two hits, two runs, three RBI, a homer, walk and two steals.

UT-Arlington 6 Minnesota 2
Michael Kvasnicka collects three hits and two RBI. Matt Nohelty also has a pair of hits for the losers.

Illinois-Chicago 15 Purdue 5
Drew Madia homers for the Boilers. Nick Overmyer drives in two.

Michigan 11 Eastern Michigan 3
Kevin Cislo has three hits, three runs, two RBI, two doubles and a stolen base. Ryan LaMarre goes 2 for 4 with a double, run, RBI and steal. Kenny Fellows drives in three.

Stetson 11 Indiana 1
Vince Gonzalez, Jerrud Sabourin and Jake Dunning all get two hits in the loss.

Iowa 25 UT-Martin 6
Five Hawkeyes homer. Justin Toole (3 runs, 3 RBI, BB, SB), Wes Freie (3 hits, 3 runs, 4 RBI), T.J. Cataldo (3 hits, 2 runs, 2 RBI), Mike McQuillan (3 hits, 4 runs, RBI, 2 BB, SB) and Ryan Durant (4 RBI). Andrew Ewing went 4 for 4, but didn't go yard. Zach Robertson gets his first win.

Michigan State 14 Eastern Michigan 5
Tony Bucciferro goes 7.0 innings giving up two earned runs on nine htis and a walk to earn his first collegiate win. Chris Roberts homers, drives in four and scores twice. Ben Vrobel adds three RBI.

UT-Arlington 12 Minnesota 5
Kvasnicka has three more hits, a run and a RBI. Nohelty, Nick O'Shea and Justin Gominsky had two hits a piece. Gominsky also had two RBI.

Purdue 6 Illinois-Chicago 4
Kevin Cahill's three innings of one-hit, two-walk, one run relief garners him his second win. Dan Black homered and drove in two.

Indiana 10 Hartford 1
Eric Arnett's seven innings of four-hit, two-walk, one-run baseball are the story. Arnett fans six in posting his fourth win of the year. Mack drives in three on three hits. Gonzalez has a three-hit game with two RBI. Dunning also collects another three hits.

Iowa 10 Austin Peay 3
Toole goes three-for-five. Cataldo drives in four. Phil Keppler is 2 for 2 with three RBI. Jarred Hippen collects win number one with three innings of no-hit, no-run relief.

Minnesota 12 Dallas Baptist 3
Chauncy Handran works seven innings surrendering three runs on five hits and three walks. It's his third win. Kvasnicka continues to tear up Lone Star pitching by getting four more hits. Gominsky and Derek McCallum both have 3 RBI.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

One Month Progress Reports

We have already been playing college baseball for a month now. It's remarkable how fast time does go by. (Warning to my readers under the age of thirty: It gets much faster the older you get. Trust me.) As we've crossed the four-week mark, I decided to take a few minutes and review where each program is at.

Illinois: If I were actually passing out grades, the Illini would get an A. Perhaps, an A+. Coach Dan Hartleb's side is an impressive 11-2. Of course, the highlight was the two victories over then top-ranked LSU in Baton Rouge. Yet, as their record indicates, it's not like they have stumbled around before or since becoming media darlings for a weekend.

Pitching has been the key to this Illinois run. Both the starters and bullpen have held up their end of the baragin. The pitching staff has combined for a 4.54 team ERA, which is the second-best mark in the Big Ten. Heading into post-St. Patrick's Day action, the Illini were also tied for the best fielding percentage in the conference. Pitching and defense? Who would have thought?

Individually, Phil Haig, Ben Reeser and Aaron Martin are amongst the conference leaders in several pitching categories. Aaron Johnson has been rock solid at the plate and behind the dish. A pair of freshmen have also made an immediate impact on the Orange and Blue lineup. 2B Josh Parr finds himself in the top ten in batting average and on-base percentage and has been great with the glove, too. OF Willie Argo emerged during the LSU series and has shown a power bat.

What's not to like about this team over the first four weeks? They are getting unbelievable pitching, solid D and timely hitting. I liked them heading into the season, but I didn't envision this kind of performance. They have to be considered amongst the favorites to win the conference.

Indiana: Grade? I'd have to give them a D. The Hoosiers are a great example of what happens when you don't get good pitching and defense. We need look no further than their game earlier this week versus Northern Iowa. IU puts 17 runs on the board. Pretty much the kind of ridiculous total many of us expected this lineup to post from time-to-time. Yet, UNI wins the game by banging out 28 hits and scoring 28 times. Twenty-eight. Four touchdowns. To add insult to injury, Indiana commits five errors.

The Hoosiers are 6-10 for three reasons. 1) A pitching staff that has a combined ERA of 6.70, which is ninth in the conference. 2) A defense that has committed 38 errors and owns the worst fielding percentage (.941) in the Big Ten. 3) What appears to be an attitude problem. In reading the comments of both head coach Tracy Smith and IF/OF Chris Hervey (on his blog at Ping), it seems the young Hoosiers may have come out of the gate believing all the love the media poured on them. They just thought they would show up, beat the snot out of the opposing pitchers and walk home triumphantly. Quoting an old IU coach "Not so fast, my friend".

I suspect somewhere amidst those opening ten losses, the ego problems have probably vanished. The current issue for the Hoosiers is that they have lost plenty of credibility. And RPI points. And games. The good news is that we have yet to play a single Big Ten contest, so there's a chance for this edition of the Hoosiers to right the ship.

This lineup can still flat rake. All-American Josh Phegley, Jerrud Sabourin and frosh sensation Alex Dickerson have led an offense that is second in the Big Ten in batting average and third in runs scored. However, if the Hoosiers hope to contend for a conference crown, things are going to have to improve on the mound and in the field. Rapidly.

Uber-talented Matt Bashore must regain his form and look like a Friday starter again. Somebody, or several somebodies, need to step-up and provide more reliable outings out of the bullpen and in the midweek starts. Finally, these Hoosiers need to want to catch the ball as badly as they want to hit it. I wouldn't want to play these guys in an elimination format, but the question one month into the year is "Will they play well enough to qualify for that chance?".

Iowa: This is one of the hard grades. Why? Because this is roughly the level I thought Iowa might play at. However, if everyone else is getting a grade, Iowa gets one, too. As they still have margin to improve and their W-L mark speaks for itself, I'll give the Hawkeyes a D.

Not surprisingly, the Hawkeyes' team stats bear out their winning percentage. Iowa is currently ninth in team batting average (.241) and runs scored, tenth in team ERA (8.36) and ninth in fielding percentage (.951). Not much has gone well for Coach Jack Dahm's side. However, all is not bleak, either.

Freshman Chet Zeise has played well early on. Zeise leads Iowa in batting average with a .391 mark. Junior Ryan Durant has hit well (.316), too. A "scuffling" Justin Toole can still hit .308. T.J. Cataldo is off to a good start with two homers and nine RBI. Wes Freie has gone yard three times and driven in 11. Plus, Freie has taken to the hill this season and has fanned a team-high 16 in 13.1 innings pitched.

If Toole can return to his normal level of production, Kevin Hoef and Tyson Blaser can pick-up the pace and some of the new faces (Zeise, Durant, Phil Keppler, etc...) can continue to improve as the season goes on, Iowa can have a decent lineup. However, the Hawkeyes just don't seem to have enough arms to keep pace with the rest of the conference. Certainly, you have to expect some of the youngsters on the staff to improve and for the veterans to provide a good outing, but after a month it looks like Iowa needs just too much improvement in too many areas to contend.

Michigan: An angry group (pack?) of Wolverines came storming out of the gate this season. Michigan laid waste to four opponents that first weekend fueled, in part, by what they felt was a snub by the national media. Seems the men in Maize and Blue took offense at not being the overwhelming choice to claim their fourth straight Big Ten title. (It's the reverse of the mental set that happened in Bloomington.) However, since that quartet of beatdowns to open the season, we've seen why I cautioned the Ann Arbor faithful about expectations heading into the season.

In my season preview, I saw a team expected to replace a number of All-Big Ten and All-American caliber players with either freshmen or unproven veterans and continue to play like a national power. Now, if Coach Rich Maloney continues on this current pace of reviving the program, that may be the case someday. However, right now, that's a tall order for a northern program.

What I saw on paper in February was a good team that was probably going to be inconsistent. Thus far, that appears to be the case. As such, I'd give this team a B-.

There have been a number of very good performances. Ryan LaMarre is off to a tremendous start. Freshmen Jake McLouth and Coley Crank have hit very well and look like the real deal. All-American candidate pitcher Chris Fetter has been very good, as well. 2B Kevin Cislo can play for anybody in this conference. There have also been some disappointments.

The Wolverines pitching, after Fetter, just hasn't been very good in weeks. I thought the bullpen combo of Tyler Burgoon and Mike Dufek would be one of the best in the Big Ten but, like the majority of their teammates, they haven't quite been able to string together much consistency. While the pitching has clearly failed them, their inability to get clutch hits hasn't helped. Michigan had opportunities to take two of three from Arizona, but couldn't cash in on late opportunities to drive in runs.

However, let's not act like it's all doom and gloom around The Fish. This squad is third in team batting average, second in runs scored, fourth in ERA and third in fielding percentage. I would anticipate them finishing amongst the top six teams and playing in the conference tournament. Honestly, they're good. They just aren't as good as in years past.

Michigan State: It's been a painful first four weeks to watch the Spartans. When they would hit well, they would pitch like garbage. When the pitching was stellar, the hitters would disappear. When they had a lead, the bullpen would implode. It's led to a brutal start and a grade of D.

The Spartans are in the lower half of the Big Ten in batting average, runs scored, ERA and fielding percentage. While there's clearly room for some improvement on a number of fronts, the Green and White entered the season with an entirely new starting rotation and a lineup that didn't draw much attention last season. Is it any wonder the Spartans are 3-14?

I see signs that the Spartans could improve as the season progresses. Eli Boike has, perhaps, been MSU's best hitter and most complete player. I still believe Chris Roberts can be amongst the better hitters in the Big Ten. Jonathan Roof should be able to hit, as should his brother Eric. The pitching, especially the starters, have been far better than I thought they would be. Nolan Moody and A.J. Achter have been very solid on the mound and deserve better records.

Even with the potential for better days ahead, the Spartans just don't appear to be poised to play in the conference tournament this year. Oh, I hope they use this as motivation to turn their season around (as I do every other team that feels I slighted them), but that doesn't change my perspective.

Minnesota: The Gophers get an A. Any questions?

It wouldn't be fair to leave it there, so I'll elaborate. The renaissance at The U comes courtesy of the same recipe that has powered Illinios to early season success: Pitching and defense. The Gophers are first in team ERA (3.49) and tied with Illinois for first in fielding percentage with a .972 mark.

The mound men are led by the Tom Buske and Chauncy Handran. Both Gophers' starters find themselves in the top ten in the conference in ERA and opponents batting average against. Coach John Anderson also appears to have a deep bullpen to turn to. Scott Matyas, Scott Fern and Cullen Sexton are just three of the arms tossing key innings out of the 'pen.

The Minnesota offense hasn't been prolific, just clutch. The Gophers are sixth in team batting average (.288) and runs scored (89). Mike Kvasnicka is having an all-conference worthy start to 2009. The sophomore rightfielder is among the conference leaders in nearly every statstical category. Okay, perhaps, he's in the running for Player of the Year, too. Eric Decker and Derek McCallum are both swining hot bats and vying for post-season honors at this stage, as well.

I had some high hopes for this Minnesota team. Like, maybe fourth or fifth place, if everything went well. After a month of games, where a Minnesota side powered by mostly underclassmen has won their way into the national rankings, I'm forced to default to an old theory held by this blogger. Never, ever underestimate the Gophers.

Northwestern: How can a team with the third best ERA in the conference be at 4-10? It starts with a conference low 55 runs scored and a team batting average that's eighth at .243. Mix in a team defense with a fielding percentage of .956, the third worst in the Big Ten, and you've got yourself more L's than W's. You've also earned a D.

Is the situation in Evanston going to improve as the year goes on? Well, there are reasons for optimism. NU has a pair of quality starters in Eric Jokisch and Joe Muraski. The two are a big reason why that Wildcats' ERA is so good. Jake Goebbert is a quality hitter that hasn't started to swing well yet. Tony Vercelli has displayed some pop this season and freshman 2B Trevor Stevens has adjusted to the college game quickly, as well.

Still, a number of 'Cats aren't producing at a level that would alter their current direction dramatically. They need to find some quality pitching performances, after Jokisch and Muraski, and desperately need some of their cool bats to heat up in order to make a charge at a conference tournament berth.

Ohio State: These are some redhot Buckeyes. I suspected that the OSU pitching staff could turn out to be dynamite this season. They may yet. What I don't think even the most loyal Buckeye could have enivisioned was this team's tremendous offensive output over the first four weeks of play.

Behind an offense that paces the Big Ten in batting average, slugging percentage, runs, hits, RBI, triples and, perhaps, most amazingly, homers, The Ohio State University finds themselves vying for a national ranking and getting an A on this progress report.

The plain and simple truth is that everybody's hitting. Technically, I suppose you could pick on somebody having a less than spectacular start, but they are far and away the exception. Dan Burkhart, Justin Miller, Cory Kovanda, Zach Hurley, Michael Stephens, Michael Arp, Matt Streng, they are probably all on my shortlist for all-conference selection, if the season ended now.

The pitching hasn't been quite as solid as I might have hoped. Yes, Alex Wimmers has been quite good. Jake Hale's been good out of the 'pen. (Just for the record, I still like him more as a starter, but I'm just a blogger.) Drew Rucinski has been a terrific in middle relief. Yet, some of the other arms haven't been as consistent as I might have thought a month ago. It hasn't matter much, as the '09 Bucks are looking better than the '27 Yankees.

Now, will the spotty pitching and occasionally squirrely defense (24 errors in fifteen games for a .958 fielding percentage) come back to haunt them? The guess here is that the bats can't possible stay this hot, but the pitching should get a little bit better. If that's the case, the Buckeyes should remain close to the top of the Big Ten throughout the season.

Penn State: This year's version of the Nittany Lions is plugging away again. PSU is fifth in team batting average, fourth in runs scored, fifth in ERA, fifth in fielding percentage. All those middle-of-the-road stats reveal .... yep, a .500 team. The Nittany Lions are 8-8 and get a B-.

How can a team that looks like the definition of a C earn one grade higher? When the team you thought was a C before the season manages to keep up that pace in spite of losing their Friday starter before the season began. Let's be honest. PSU baseball isn't Texas, Stanford or one of them thar' SEC programs. Losing a Friday starter hurts, big time.

Yet, in typical PSU fashion, T.J. Macy steps up and looks like a possible Big Ten Pitcher of the Year candidate. Macy's ERA is an incredible 1.08. (If not for the Illini's Phil Haig's silly low 0.72 number, Macy would lead the conference.) Macy's number alone probably keeps the Lions' team earned run average respectable.

Cory Wine is starting to hit like many thought he could. The senior leads the Big Ten in batting average and is in the top ten in slugging percentage, hits, RBI, doubles and total bases. Blake Lynd and Mike Deese are also off to strong starts. Lynd is currently third in batting average and Deese in amongst the leaders in RBI.

Not everything is sunshine in Happy Valley, though. That's the downside of being the definition of .500. The bullpen is horribly suspect. Starters after Macy and Scott Kelley need to be better. The Lions also kick the ball with a bit too much frequency. As we've learned, that's not always a good mix.

While certainly not a lock for the Big Ten post-season, Penn State looks to be, per usual, versatile, resilent and consistent. Faults notwithstanding, I'd expect to see them in Columbus.

Purdue: If you are a regular to this blog you know two things with unquestioned certainty. First, I'm clueless. Second, I have no idea what to make of Purdue. Any time. Any season.

The Boilermakers, for the second straight season, have started out looking like one of the worst teams in the Big Ten. This is because for the second straight season, I liked the Boilers' chances. If I like 'em, they tank. If I'm not sold, they are world beaters. That's just how it seems to work.

After four weeks, the Boilers are seventh in batting average, seventh in runs scored, eighth in ERA (still can't believe that) and, thankfully, fourth in fielding percentage. It has all translated into a 5-9 start and yet another progress report with a D.

When your stats are that bad across the board, you know nothing is going well. Neither the pitching or the bats or arms seem to be able to arise from the malaise that has plagued them since Opening Day. Dan Black has managed to hit with some power and draw some walks (he leads the Big Ten). Jonathan Moore has swiped some bases, too. Those might be the offensive highlights.

Prior to this weekend's troika of good starts, Purdue's pitching kudos went to the Matt's -- Jansen and Morgan -- who got a number of guys to swing and miss. Alas, it hasn't turned into as many wins as they hoped for (or I expected).

Last year, after a start even worse than this, the Boilermakers kicked into high gear. They went on a tear that saw them finish second to Michigan in both the regular season and conference tournament. Obviously, I think Purdue has it in them to do just that. But, I'd refer you to points one and two in the Boilers' progress report.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

All-Weekend Team, 4th Edition

As you may recall, in last week's All-Weekend Team, I felt as though I omitted someone. This week, a different issue arose -- a couple of spots on the roster were difficult to fill. Let's see how this works out.

Catcher: Dan Burkhart, Ohio State - The sophomore concluded the weekend with seven hits in sixteen at-bats (.438) with five runs scored and six RBI. Burkhart had managed to get a hit in every single OSU game this season. Burkhart homered and walked, as well.

Catcher: Aaron Johnson, Illinois - Much like Burkhart, Johnson's becoming a regular member of the AWT. In three games, Johnson had exactly the same .438 average (7 hits in 16 AB's) as Burkhart, too. Johnson doubled twice, homered, got hit by two pitches and stole a base.

Catcher: Josh Phegley, Indiana - While the All-American candidate only had seven at-bats, he did get four hits including a homer and triple. The reason Phegley's at-bat total was so low was that he drew six walks in three games. Phegley had three sacrifice flies, too. The junior also stole a base.

Firstbase: Cory Wine, Penn State - The senior hit .667 (8 for 12) over the three days. Wine scored four runs and drove in eight. He doubled once and walked three times. Did I read the boxscore correctly when it said that Wine also played shorstop?

Secondbase: Cory Kovanda, Ohio State - Kovanda went 8 for 15 (.533) with a double, triple, walk, six runs scored and four RBI. Kovanda's emergence has been a big reason why OSU is piling on the runs this season.

Shortstop: Jake Dunning, Indiana - A first AWT nod for the junior middle infielder. Dunning went 5 for 12 (.417) and scored five times while driving in five more runs. Dunning doubled, tripled twice, stole a base and hit a sac fly.

Thirdbase: Justin Miller, Ohio State - The Buckeyes' captain hit .350 (7 for 20) with two homers and a double. Miller got hit by a pitch and scored seven times. In addition, Miller drove in nine runs.

Outfield: Zach Hurley, Ohio State - All Hurley did this past weekend was get 10 hits in 22 at-bats (.455), double, triple, homer, hit a sac fly, stole two bases, score seven times and have 12 RBI. He and Kovanda have been remarkable tablesetters at the top of the Buckeyes' lineup.

Outfield: Michael Arp, Ohio State - I know. Another Buckeye. What choice do I have? Arp hit .563 (9 for 16) for crying out loud. He scored seven times and drove in six more runs. Along the way he doubled twice, homered, got hit by a pitch and walked.

Outfield: Michael Stephens, Ohio State - Yes, that's an entire OF of Buckeyes. The junior CF hit .667 (8 for 12), scored four times and drove in four more. Stephens went yard twice, walked, got plunked by a pitch and stole a base.

Outfield: Willie Argo, Illinois - The frosh had a seven for sixteen (.438) weekend. Argo scored four times and had six RBI. Along the way he doubled, stole a base and got an HBP.

Designated Hitter: Alex Dickerson, Indiana - Simply one of the best freshman in the country thus far. This weekend saw the Hoosiers' DH hit .600 (9 for 15) with a pair of homers and a double. Dickerson scored three runs, drove in eight and stole a base.

Utlity Player: Wes Borden, Penn State - A .400 average (4 for 10) only tells part of the story, as Borden walked an amazing eight times in four games. Borden swiped two bags, scored three runs and drove in five. He played second, third and DH.

Bench: Josh Parr, Illinois - Another strong weekend for the freshman. Seven for thirteen (.538) with three runs and two RBI. Parr doubled, got an HBP and stole a base.

Bench: Ryan Dew, Ohio State - A six for twelve weekend (do I really have to do that math?) with eight runs scored and four RBI. Yes, for those counting at home, Dew makes the fourth OSU outfielder on the team. Look, if a fifth OF could have gotten enough at-bats, it probably would have been quintet of Buckeyes.

Bench: Dominic Altobelli, Illinois - Five was the magic number for Dom. He had five hits in fifteen at-bats (.333) with five RBI and five runs scored. He also hit three doubles and a triple. Altobelli got hit by two pitches and stole two bases.

Bench: Trevor Stevens, Northwestern - The freshman secondbaseman went 5 for 12 (.417) with a run scored and six RBI. He doubled, homered and walked.

Bench: A.J. Pettersen, Minnesota - A .300 average (3 for 10) with a pair of triples at TCU for the redshirt freshman shortstop. He drove in two and scored two more. I couldn't leave the hitters without taking one of the Gophers who beat the Horned Frogs twice.

Starting Pitcher: Alex Wimmers, Ohio State - A complete game six-hitter with 15 K's. Wimmers gave up three earned runs and walked two. He improved to 3-0 and claimed a co-Big Ten Pitcher of the Week nod.

Starting Pitcher: Matt Jansen, Purdue - The other co-Big Ten Pitcher of the Week. Jansen posted a win by going 8.2 innings and surrendering one earned runs on six hits and a walk. Jansen fanned 11.

Starting Pitcher: Eric Jokisch, Northwestern - A complete game four-hitter for the NU soph. The lefty gave up two runs, only one earned, and four walks while striking out six.

Starting Pitcher: Matt Bischoff, Purdue - The Boilermaker righthander struck out twelve, his career high, over eight innings en route to his first win of the season. The All-Big Ten hurler yielded one run on four hits and two walks.

Relief Pitcher: Kevin Cahill, Purdue - Cahill didn't allow a run or hit in his two appearances (1.1 innings pitched). He surrendered just one walk and collected two saves.

Bullpen: Matt Morgan, Purdue - Only one unearned run over 8.2 innings pitched while giving up just six hits and one walk got Morgan a loss. And an All-Weekend Team selection. Morgan also struck out six.

Bullpen: Tom Buske, Minnesota - The Gophers' righty gave TCU just four hits, two walks and two runs only one of which was earned. Buske K'd seven Horned Frogs and improved to 3-0.

Bullpen: Chris Fetter, Michigan - The senior yielded just eight hits to Arizona over 7.1 innings. The 'Cats touched him for two runs, but only one was earned. Fetter didn't give out a free pass and struck out two.

Bullpen: Dean Wolosiansky, Ohio State - "Wolo" worked seven innings allowing four runs, three earned, six hits and three walks. He also fanned eight. It was his second win of the year.

Bullpen: Joe Muraski, Northwestern - Allowed one run on seven hits and two walks over 8.1 innings. Muraski fanned four and posted his first win of 2009.

Bullpen: Jake Hale, Ohio State - Two appearances. 2.1 innings pitched. 1 hit. 1 walk. No runs, earned or otherwise. 5 K's. 1 save.

Thankfully, the gaps in the original lineup filled in nicely as I did more homework. Always do your homework, boys and girls.

Some new faces this week on the team, which is always nice to see. Of course, there were some very familiar names as well.

The standard caveats apply. I could have done the math incorrectly. I could have missed someone who had a great weekend. I could have made the team smaller or larger. Corrections, objections and oversights should be sent via email. Adjustments are possible, although not necessarily likely.

Sorenson's Q&A With Maloney

College Baseball Today's Eric Sorenson had a chat with Michigan head coach Rich Maloney. Coach Maloney does a good job spelling out some of the issues that make it difficult for the northern programs to compete.

I Love This Game

There are all kinds of unique joys following college baseball. One is the polls. Let's take a peek at what the most astute minds in college baseball think of the top teams. Collegiate Baseball has Illinois ranked as the nineteenth best team in the land. Ohio State isn't far behind at number twenty-two. Pretty cool, right? Yes, but that's just one man's (or publication's) opinion. What does everyone else think?

Well, Baesball America's Top 25 includes one Big Ten team, as well. However, it's neither the Illini or Buckeyes, it's Minnesota who holds the twenty-fifth slot in their poll. Wait. It gets better.

Ohio State returns to the poll at number thirty according to the NCBWA. The writers do list the "others receiving votes" addendum which includes Illinois, Minnesota and, yes, Michigan.

How about our friends at Rivals? Where does Kendall Rogers believe the Big Ten teams rank? Not in the Top 25, unfortunately. Although, those Gophers did merit some consideration.

Finally, the ever-reliable coaches poll courtesy of USA Today. The skippers didn't include a Big Ten team in their Top 25, either. In fairness, Illinois missed by only a single vote. The Illini finished first in the "others receiving votes" category, effectively making them #26.

Ohio State (36th), Michigan (42) and Minnesota (43) did all garner love from some of the coaches, but not enough to claim inclusion in the Top 25.

What does all this mean? I have no idea. And neither do our lovable poll voters. How Minnesota can get ranked by the lads at Baseball America and get consideration from Rivals (essentialy putting them in their top 30), but trail three other Big Ten programs in the Coaches' Poll is confusing and beautiful in a way. It's beautiful because the polls don't mean much. This is baseball. There's a championship tournament. A pretty stinkin' good one, at that.

Onto another unique matter in college baseball. Today, in fact, right now, Michigan is playing Eastern Michigan. Why is it unique for two programs only miles apart to play today? Because it isn't on the schedule. Let me try that again. It isn't on the schedule for tonight.

See, the coaches took one look at the weather forecast -- temperatures in the high 60s and sunny, after several days of similar conditions -- and realized it's March. The weather may not get any better than today for weeks. So instead of playing later this month, the two schools agreed to play tonight.

Can you imagine Michigan deciding to move a football game from Saturday to Friday because the weather was going to be so much better the day before the event was scheduled? How about a week earlier? It can't happen. It's just not logistically possible.

However, this kind of revised scheduling is all a part of playing college baseball, especially here in the north. It's funny, frustrating and somehow strangely appealing. No, the sport doesn't have 100,000 fans per game. No, it doesn't generate huge profits, if it generates profits, at all. Yet, there's a charm that comes when coaches preempt schedules for a healthy dose of sunshine and common sense.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday Round-Up

Only three games to report on tonight. Unfortunately, not a win in the group.

Louisville 11 Iowa 7
Hawkeyes' catcher Dallas Burke had two hits, two runs scored and two RBI. Justin Toole drove in three runs. All-America 3B Chris Dominguez led Louisville with three hits, three RBI and four runs scored.

Northern Iowa 28 Indiana 17
No, that's not a typo. UNI won, 28-17. I'll start with the winners. OF Travis Bennett was 5 for 7 with 5 RBI and scored five times. Fellow OF James Dinizo also had five hits, but he drove in six and scored four times. IU's Josh Phegley and Kipp Schutz both homered and drove in four. Schutz and Alex Dickerson both had three-hit games.

TCU 4 Minnesota 1
The Horned Frogs avoid the sweep. Nick O'Shea's homer accounted for the lone Gophers' tally. Derek McCallum was 3 for 3. TCU's Kyle Winkler held Minnesota to one run on six hits and three walks over eight innings. He also struck out 10 Gophers.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Selection Sunday Baseball Update

As seven Big Ten programs made the field of 64, I'm sure most of you have been huddled around your televisions this afternoon. Let's take some time to find out how your baseball program fared Sunday.

Minnesota 7 (#17) TCU 2
Tom Buske works 6.1 innings of four-hit, two-walk baseball to improve 3-0. Buske allowed two runs, only one earned, and fanned seven Froggies. Scott Fern finished the last 2.2 innings giving up just one hit and struck out three. Redshirt freshmen Nick O'Shea and A.J. Pettersen both had a pair of RBI. Eric Decker had two hits for Minnesota.

Arizona 14 (#25) Michigan 0
The Wolverines lost a pitchers' duel Friday, a game they led 5-0 Saturday and got clobbered this afternoon. As I can't think of anything positive to say about Michigan's performance, I'll talk Arizona for a moment. Dillon Baird had four hits. Bobby Coyle, Matt Presley, Daniel Butler and Hunter Pace all had three hits.

Iowa 2 (#30) Louisville 1
Michael Jacobs gets his first win of the year by tossing six innings of one-run baseball. Jacobs surrendered eight hits, two walks and one run. Mike Schurz posted his second save. Phil Keppler had two of Iowa's six hits and drove in both runs. A very nice road win for the Hawkeyes.

Illinois 11 Akron 2
The Illini finish the sweep. Willie Argo has three hits, three runs scored and three RBI to lead Illinois. Fellow freshman Josh Parr had three hits and two RBI. Aaron Johnson also had a three-hit game (with a RBI and run scored). Aaron Martin's three innings of work yield a win.

Jacksonville State 9 Indiana 8 (10 innings)
Alex Dickerson had three hits and drove in two. Dickerson and Michael Earley both homered. Josh Phegley had three RBI and three walks.

IPFW 1 Purdue 0
Four Mastadon pitchers hold the Boilermakers to just four hits. Purdue wastes Matt Morgan's 8.2 innings of six-hit, one-walk, one-run baseball. That's a hard luck loss. Johnathon Moore had two of Purdue's hits.

Ohio State 13 North Dakota State 4
Dan Burkhart and Michael Arp each have three hits and leave the yard once. Arp and Matt Streng both drove in three runs. Dean Wolosiansky went seven innings to get the win. Jake Hale struck out five of the eight batters he faced to close out the game.

Penn State 7 Rutgers 3
The Nittany Lions score four in the seventh and another in the eighth to post a come-from-behind victory. Cory Wine collects two hits, two RBI and scored three times. Jordan Steranka also had a two-hit game. Calvin Grumley gets the win, Jesse Alfreno gets the save.

Xavier 11 Michigan State 5
Bo Felt drives in two, Eli Boike and Johnathon Roof both have two hits to lead the Spartans. Ben Thomas had three RBI to pace the X-Men. Drew Schmidt had three hits for the Musketeers. MSU's second game vs. Xavier was cancelled.

This was a day of extremes. There were either impressive wins (Minnesota, Iowa) or the not-so-impressive (Purdue, Michigan). It will be interesting to see what the poll voters make of all this weekend's action.

Another Gameday Open Thread

Happy Sunday afternoon, everyone. We've already got four game underway as I begin typing. Purdue and Ohio State are winning, but it's ridiculously early, so they are far from certain W's. There's no score in the other two.

Let me encourage you to share your thoughts and scoring updates throughout the afternoon in the comments section. Even if you don't post comments, it's always good to read them during gameday, especially if I'm not around updating games as they happen. The posters do a good job of sharing results. At some point, I'll return to recap today's action.

Note to all my All-Weekend Team fans. The team may not get posted until Tuesday this week. Minnesota, Iowa and Indiana will play Monday games, so I'm going to include those results. I might still be able to post the AWT Monday night, but I'm not going to commit to that and run the risk of disappointing the both of you. Nonetheless, you are welcome to email me your AWT nominees before then.

Enjoy your Sunday of baseball action. (And the outstanding weather, if you live near my portion of Big Ten country.)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Open Thread: 14 On The 14th

Big Ten teams will be in fourteen games this March 14. Ohio State, Penn State, Northwestern and Illinois all have doubleheaders on Saturday. Iowa (vs. # 30 Louisville) and Minnesota (vs. # 17 Texas Christian) are taking on ranked opposition. Indiana returns to action versus Bowling Green State and in-state rival Purdue travels to Evansville. # 25 Michigan plays the second game of their series against Arizona.

Almost entirely day games today. Only the Wolverines contest against the Wildcats starts in the P.M. In fact, if I read the schedule correctly, Indiana will have a breakfast date with BGSU. A 9:00 a.m. affair in Florida? Are college students up that early on a Saturday?

As we have such an early start and a robust slate of games, I'll open this thread now for you to share scoring updates and opinions. Per usual, I'll be checking in at points throughout the day. Enjoy your Saturday.

6:30pm Update
Thanks to everyone for the scoreboard updates. I'll take this moment to expound on a few of the games.

Minnesota 6 (#17) TCU 4
A three-run eighth wins it for the visiting Gophers. Kyle Knudson and Kyle Gleason each have two RBI for Minnesota. Knudson and Michael Kvasnicka both had a pair of hits a piece. Cullen Sexton's 2.1 innings of relief earn him the win. Scott Matyas recorded the final two outs to record the save. A very strong road W for the Gophers.

(#30) Louisville 7 Iowa 2
The Hawkeyes' T.J. Cataldo had two hits and both Iowa RBI. UL starter Justin Marks fanned 11 in just seven innings. Marks didn't allow a run on four hits and two walks. Josh Richmond drove in two runs for UL.

Illinois 4 Akron 3 (Game One - Seven Innings)
The Illini score in the bottom of the final inning to pull out the win. Willie Argo has two hits, a run scored and a RBI for Illinois. Nick Chmielewski picks up the win in relief.

Illinois 13 Akron 9 (Game Two - Seven Innings)
Dominic Altobelli had three hits (including two doubles and a triple), two runs scored and four RBI to lead the Illini. Aaron Johnson had two hits, including a homer, two runs scored and three RBI. Brandon Wikoff and Craig Lutes both drove in two runs. Bryan Roberts worked 6.2 innings to earn the win.

Indiana 15 BGSU 7
Alex Dickerson collects three hits, including his fifth homer of the year, and drove in five to help IU past Bowling Green State. Jerrud Sabourin also went yard and extended his hitting streak to fourteen games. Sabourin had three RBI. Eric Arnett is your winner, Drew Leininger picks up his first save.

Northwestern 2 Illinois-Chicago 1 (Game One)
Joe Muraski gives up one run and seven hits and a walk over 8.1 innings. Brian Morgan sets down the last two Flames to close out the game. Jake Goebbert has two hits. Trevor Stevens and Tony Vercelli have the RBI for NU.

Ohio State 13 SIU-Edwardsville 10 (Game One)
Zach Hurley has three hits, three RBI and two runs scored for OSU. Michael Stephens and Michael Arp both have a pair of hits and two RBI. Hurley and Stephens both went deep for the Buckeyes. Drew Ruckinski posted his fifth win of the year.

Rutgers 6 Penn State 5 (10 innings - Game One)
PSU's Wes Borden was 1 for 1 with two RBI and four walks. Catcher Bobby Jacobs had two hits and scored twice for the Nittany Lions. Rutgers' Dan Betteridge went 4 for 5 with four RBI. Willie Beard gets the win, Ryan Beard collects the save. (They've got to be brothers, don't they? I'll have to check.)

Purdue 3 Evansville 1
Dan Jansen yields one run on six hits and a walk over 8.2 innings to post the win. Jansen also struck out 11. Kevin Cahill came in and whiffed the only batter he faced to end the game. A balanced Purdue attack was led by Jonathan Moore's hit and RBI.

I'm running out to get something to eat and when I return, we'll see how the evening games conclude. (See, who needs Twitter?)

8:00pm Update
It was only carry-out. Is it just me or does it seem like french fries with a calzone is a bit of overkill? Oh, I ate some of 'em, but it just doesn't feel like they belong together. Maybe it's just me. Thankfully, I'm going back to baseball.

Ohio State 16 UMBC 9 (Game Two)
Zach Hurley gets three more hits and five RBI in the nightcap. Michael Stephens, Justin Miller, Dan Burkhart and Michael Arp homered. Arp had a four-hit game. Miller had three hits, three runs and three RBI.

Rutgers 5 Penn State 2 (Game Two - Seven Innings)
The Scarlet Knights take both ends of the doubleheader. Dan Betteridge gets two more RBI in the nightcap. Steven Zavala wins, Ryan Beard gets his second straight save. Cory Wine and Louie Picconi had the Penn State RBI. Blake Lynd had two hits for PSU.

Illinois-Chicago 4 Northwestern 3 (Game Two)
The Flames score one in the seventh and three in the eighth to claim the come-from-behind win. Brett Schaffer homered and had three RBI for UIC. Chris Lashmet had two RBI for the Wildcats. Kenneth Avila had two hits for NU. Zach Morton thres six innings of four-hit, three-walk baseball, but the bullpen couldn't hold the lead.

Michigan State's game against Xavier has been postponned due to rain in Greenville, SC., so that only leaves one game left on the docket.

Michigan is up on Arizona, 5-0, in the bottom of the third. The good news, other than the score? Jake McLouth has two hits and two RBI. Nick Urban has a hit and two RBI. Mike Dufek has a pair of hits and a RBI.

The bad news? Arizona is threatening in their half of the third. The bases are loaded. UM starter Eric Katzman is already out of the game after issuing four free passes, but zero hits. This is far from over.

8:45pm Update
That Michigan lead has gone bye-bye. The desert 'Cats are now up 6-5. Tyler Burgoon is Michigan's third pitcher. It's the fourth inning. It could be a long night, as both teams are getting their hacks.

10:00pm Update
It's now 9-7, Arizona. It's the bottom of the seventh.

10:30pm Update
Arizona wins, 9-7. Rafael Valenzuela and Dillon Baird both drive in three UA runs. Jake McLouth and Nick Urban both have three hits and three RBI for Michigan. Mike Dufek also had a three-hit game.