Why isn’t the entire Big Ten baseball tournament being broadcast on BTN at the very least? Would ratings be that low? See the second game of yesterday’s session as the chief reason for my complaint, but some props for now.
The first day of the Big Ten baseball tournament saw some mild interest as 10,424 attended the first day’s action. The record stands at 12,219.
|(6) Michigan State||30-24||12-13|
Michigan State vs. Nebraska (5 p.m. CST on BTN)
Tale of the Tape: Consider this a makeup game for Michigan State.
After multiple weather delays, the Spartans had to bow out of their final game against Nebraska while down 4-0 in the bottom of the seventh. The Huskers had a flight to catch before the first pitch as it was, so once weather was an issue and the Big Red took command, the game was done.
The win was great for Nebraska’s numbers, but it still feels hollow and no doubt Michigan State wants payback.
Michigan State and Illinois had yet another back-and-forth with the Spartans finally on the winning side of a one run game between the two. The Illini swept the season series leaving Sparty with three narrow losses.
Cam Gibson gave Michigan State a quick lead, belting a home run on the game’s third pitch. Both teams continued to put men in scoring position time after time, but repeatedly came up empty.
A Spartans error allowed the single Illinois run, but Justin Hovis hit an infield single before Blaise Salter grounded into a double play that eventually brought Justin Hovis across.
In the later game, Nebraska fell behind 6-0 to Ohio State before tacking up yet another win after being tied or trailing after the sixth stanza totaling 14 overall. The win also marked the fourth time this season the Huskers beat the Buckeyes on the last at-bat of the game.
An RBI double by Jake Placzek started the Nebraska comeback. Pat Kelly notched an RBI of his own (3-for-5 with three RBIs on the day) before the Buckeyes stopped the bleeding at three runs. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, a run was walked in by 2014 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Tanner Tully before a Kelly RBI brought two men home.
Tanner Lubach would fly out bringing Michael Pritchard home for another Big Red gut punch.
For some reason this game was not televised. Come on, B1G! Get your head in the game!
Players to watch for:
Nebraska: IF Pat Kelly, OF Austin Darby, C Tanner Lubach, P Aaron Bummer
Michigan State: OF Chase Toth, OF C/1B Connor Mohr, C/1B Blaise Salter, IF Justin Hovis
Michigan vs. Indiana (9 p.m. CST on BTN)
Tape of the Tape: The Hoosiers’ opening day in Omaha saw a 10 hit outing led by Casey Rodrigue who went 3-for-3 with a single, double and triple.
Joey DeNato showed why he puts fear into the hearts of batters against Iowa. He logged eight innings of work with one earned run on seven hits with no walks and a season-high nine strikeouts. It was a participation ribbon game for the Hoosiers as every player recorded a hit or RBI.
Iowa actually drew first blood with an unearned run in the first and got hearts pounding with a leadoff double in the second.
DeNato started mowing down Hawkeyes allowing Indiana to take a 2-1 lead into the fourth. Iowa would knot the game at two per club, but Indiana brought across Tim O’Conner on a triple and Casey Rodrigue with a groundout to third base.
Dustin DeMuth scored on a fielder’s choice putting the final nail in the offensive coffin. Of course, no Indiana baseball wrap up would be complete without the obligatory dugout interview photobomb:
— Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina) May 22, 2014
Later on, Michigan would end the night plunking Minnesota 3-2. Goldy held a 2-0 lead in heading into the seventh, but Travis Maezes decked a three-run homer for Michigan’s only offense of the evening. It turned out to be all that was necessary as James Bourque stepped in to relieve a rattled Trent Szkutnik.
He’d been hit for four hits, two runs, a double through through over four innings of work. Bourque dropped 12 Michigan batters in three innings to claim the win.
These two teams met in late March with Indiana taking the series 2-1. The Hoosiers are going to be a test for every team, but Michigan should be able to make them at least fight to advance.
Players to watch for:
Indiana: IF Sam Travis, C/OF Kyle Schwarber, OF Scott Donley, SS Nick Ramos
Michigan: OF Jackson Glines, IF/P Jacob Cronenworth, P/UTIL Kyle Jusick, SS Travis Maezes
|(7) Ohio State||30-27||10-15|
Ohio State vs. Illinois (9 a.m. CST)
Tale of the Tape:
After being upended by the Spartans, Illinois faces a team no doubt steaming from their loss to Nebraska. Not only that, both teams get the early wake up call.
This will be the first time the teams have met this year and with so much on the line, the tension in this game should top day one’s Michigan State-Illinois.
The Illini still have the superior squad and should be able to take down the Buckeyes, but an OSU stunner isn’t out of the question. Again, no television.
Ohio State: OF Ronnie Dawson, UTIL Nick Sergakis, IF Troy Kuhn, C Aaron Gretz
Illinois: IF Adam Walton, C Jason Goldstein, OF Will Krug, OF Cam Gibson
Iowa vs. Minnesota (9 p.m. CST on BTN)
Tale of the Tape:
Opening against a top ten Hoosier squad wasn’t the best way for Iowa to start their Big Ten tournament experience, but the Hawkeyes find themselves in a better spot on day two. They took their series against Minnesota 2-1 including an 11-5 April 18 win.
While the Golden Gophers dropped a tough 3-2 decision to Michigan on Tuesday, they won’t go off into the night without a fight.
This game will come down to mistakes, plain and simple. Whichever team makes less gets to stay in Omaha. The other can grab one more souvenir before the bus leaves when the sun comes up.
Players to watch for:
Iowa: IF Jake Mangler, IF Jake Yacinich, OF Dan Potempa, OF Eric Toole
Minnesota: IF Tony Skjefte, SS Michael Handel, C/UTIL Mark Tatera, 1B Dan Olinger
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