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B1G Baseball Update 3/8/16 - 3/23/16

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Ah, Spring. Where the flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and your bracket died a fiery death last week within the first 48 hours of the tournament (must...resist...Sparty, No!...joke). Need a distraction from the inevitability of Pam in marketing whooping your ass in the office pool again? Come join us and check in on B1G action at the ballpark.

I'm...I'm just as confused as you all are.
I'm...I'm just as confused as you all are.
Greg Fiume/Getty Images
With Spring officially here and the weather warming up a bit (give it a couple months Minnesotans) let's check in on the B1G pingybat section of the conference and see what each program has been doing as we kick off conference play this weekend.

Looking over how teams have been playing the B1G may not reach the peak of five teams in the tournament like last year. This is understandable considering some of those teams that made a lot of noise previously lost a lot of good players and had to reload. That being said there have been some missed opportunities in the non-conference to build resumes to get some solid consideration for the NCAA tournament aka May Madness (I should totally copyright that). For this update I've included d1baseball.com's RPI rankings to gauge where each program is at and how much work they need to do to get selected for the tournament. RPI as of 3/22/16

Illinois (8-10) RPI: 122

03/11/16 vs. UNCG                   L 9-20
03/12/16 vs. UNCG                   L 4-5
03/12/16 at Coastal Carolina  L 4-10
03/13/16 at Coastal Carolina  L 4-12
03/18/16 vs. Northern Ill.         W 5-3
03/19/16 vs. Northern Ill.          L 3-9
03/19/16 at Southern Ill.           L 2-3
03/20/16 at Southern Ill.           L 0-1
03/22/16 at Illinois St.              W 8-3

Things didn't go so well for the Illini in the Coastal Carolina Invite where they dropped all four games to some decent competition. They then did a mini tour of the Land of Lincoln only picking up two wins against Northern Illinois and Illinois St.

Indiana (10-9) RPI: 208

03/11/16 WESTERN CARO.  W 3-2
03/12/16 WESTERN CARO.  L 1-4
03/12/16 WESTERN CARO.  W 9-1
03/15/16 at Evansville            W 7-6
03/18/16 TOLEDO                   W 9-6
03/19/16 TOLEDO                    L 1-3
03/19/16 TOLEDO                   W 8-0
03/20/16 TOLEDO                   W 5-1
03/23/16 BUTLER                   W 27-1

Indiana started off the season slow only having three wins in the first two weeks of play. They have definitely turned it around since we last checked in winning a series against Western Carolina and Toledo as well as mid-week games against Evansville and Butler. Their RPI is still not good at all but those wins will certainly build confidence as we begin B1G play.

Iowa (7-11) RPI: 131

03/08/16 NORTHWESTERN (IA)  W 28-0
03/11/16 vs. Omaha                         L 2-3
03/12/16 vs. Seton Hall                   L 1-7
03/13/16 vs. Savannah St.             W 14-4
03/14/16 vs. Point U.                       W 7-1
03/18/16 at Missouri St.                   L 1-4
03/19/16 at Missouri St.                   L 4-5
03/20/16 at Missouri St.                   L 6-8
03/22/16 BRADLEY                        W 7-6

Absolutely crushed Northwestern...College in what would be the equivalent of a 72-0 beating in football. The Hawkeyes then split their games at Spring Swing in Georgia before getting swept by a ranked Missouri St. squad.

Maryland (10-10) RPI: 44

03/08/16 vs. Delaware                       L 8-10
03/09/16 GEORGE WASHINGTON  L 10-19
03/11/16 BRYANT                               W 5-3
03/12/16 BRYANT                               L 0-2
03/13/16 BRYANT                              W 8-6
03/17/16 at UC Irvine                          L 5-9
03/19/16 at Cal St. Fullerton              L 2-3
03/20/16 at Cal St. Fullerton             W 8-4
03/20/16 at Cal St. Fullerton             W 1-0
03/22/16 LIBERTY                             W 10-9

Had some trouble in the mid-week mid-Atlantic team games before rebounding and taking the series against Bryant. The Anteaters of UC-Irvine took another mid-week game before the Terps got a decent road series win over the formerly ranked Titans.

Michigan (12-5) RPI: 36

03/11/16 at Hawaii              W 6-0
03/12/16 at Hawaii             W 5-4
03/12/16 at Hawaii             W 9-4
03/12/16 at Hawaii             W 5-3
03/18/16 at Oklahoma St.  L 3-6
03/19/16 at Oklahoma St.  L 4-5
03/20/16 at Oklahoma St.  W 4-2

Pretty productive couple of weeks for the Wolverines first sweeping the four game vacation series with Hawaii and then losing a close series at ranked Okie Lite.

Michigan State (15-3) RPI: 16

03/08/16 vs. Illinois St.              W 15-0
03/09/16 vs. FGCU                    W 7-6
03/11/16 vs. Butler                     W 9-2
03/12/16 vs. Saint Joseph's     W 8-7
03/13/16 vs. North Dakota St.  W 9-5
03/18/16 at South Fla.               W 11-1
03/19/16 at South Fla.               L 0-2
03/20/16 at South Fla.               L 5-7
03/23/16 CENTRAL MICH.      W 4-1

Since we last checked in with the Spartans they've doubled the amount of losses (everyone panic!!!). But considering that only comes up to three total Michigan St. is sitting pretty right now. Sure, the teams they are beating aren't anything to be super duper excited about but here is one thing they aren't doing: losing. That's why with such a high RPI if they can take care of business in B1G play they will surely be in the tournament with a possibility to even host a regional.

Minnesota (10-8) RPI: 69

03/12/16 at Seattle           L 3-13
03/12/16 at Seattle           L 4-5
03/13/16 at Seattle           L 1-4
03/17/16 at Seattle          W 12-2
03/19/16 at Utah Valley  W 13-5
03/20/16 at Utah Valley   L 2-3
03/20/16 at Utah Valley   L 6-15
03/22/16 AUGSBURG    W 10-3

Tale of opposites for the Gophers where the first couple weeks they only had three losses and this time around only had three wins. Did salvage both series to get at least one win in each and beat whatever an Augsburg is supposed to be.

Nebraska (13-7) RPI: 57

03/08/16 NORTHERN COLO.        W 8-0
03/09/16 NORTHERN COLO.        W 7-1
03/11/16 LOYOLA MARYMOUNT  W 6-4
03/11/16 LOYOLA MARYMOUNT  W 7-0
03/12/16 LOYOLA MARYMOUNT  W 3-0
03/13/16 LOYOLA MARYMOUNT  W 5-4
03/18/16 WICHITA ST.                       L 5-17
03/19/16 WICHITA ST.                      W 4-0
03/20/16 WICHITA ST.                      W 7-3
03/22/16 at Indiana St.                     W 10-4
03/23/16 at Indiana St.                     W 11-4

After a slow start against decent competition in the early part of the schedule the Huskers have turned it on recently. Since arriving back home in the comfy confines of Haymarket Park they've only dropped one game the last two weeks.

Northwestern (5-16) RPI: 293

03/09/16 at Ill.-Chicago      L 2-11
03/11/16 at San Diego St.  L 6-11
03/11/16 at San Diego St.  W 13-7
03/12/16 at San Diego St.  L 10-15
03/19/16 at Cincinnati         L 0-1
03/20/16 at Cincinnati         L 5-6
03/21/16 at Cincinnati         L 3-10
03/22/16 at Northern Ky.     L 1-7
03/23/16 at Miami (OH)       L 4-5

On the other end of the spectrum the Wildcats only picked up one win the past two weeks while also losing to the likes of UIC, Northern Kentucky(?), and Miami Hydroxide.

Ohio State (12-6) RPI: 130

03/12/16 at UNLV       L 2-5
03/12/16 at UNLV      W 20-3
03/13/16 at UNLV       L 7-8
03/16/16 at UNLV      W 8-7
03/18/16 HOFSTRA  W 12-1
03/19/16 HOFSTRA  W 4-2
03/20/16 HOFSTRA  W 2-1
03/22/16 XAVIER       W 11-6

Buckeyes kept adding to their win total splitting the series with UNLV then sweeping Hofstra. Also took out Xavier for good measure.

Penn State (9-10) RPI: 112

03/09/16 at Duke                  W 2-1
03/11/16 NYIT                       W 15-2
03/12/16 vs. Princeton          L 2-6
03/13/16 at Richmond          L 5-6
03/18/16 NIAGARA               L 3-4
03/19/16 NIAGARA              W 4-1
03/19/16 NIAGARA              W 16-4
03/22/16 WEST VIRGINIA   W 5-4
03/23/16 RHODE ISLAND  W 5-3

PSU got themselves back to just under .500 after productive outings against the "Nerd" quadrant of Mid-Atlantic/East Coast teams before winning the series against Niagara. Mid-week wins against West Flippin' Virginia and Rhode Island certainly helped things too.

Purdue (4-14) RPI: 263

03/11/16 vs. Saint Louis       L 2-3
03/12/16 vs. North Dakota  W 5-0
03/13/16 at Kansas               L 1-8
03/18/16 vs. Ohio                  L 4-6
03/19/16 vs. Ohio                 W 5-4
03/20/16 vs. Ohio                  L 2-9
03/22/16 at Ball St.                L 8-9
03/23/16 LOUISVILLE          L 4-9

Purdue is pretty consistent getting the same amount of wins as when we last checked in. Unfortunately for them that only puts them at four total. On a positive note the stadium looked good on BTN last night against Louisville.

Rutgers (8-11) RPI: 58

03/09/16 IONA                 W 13-8
03/12/16 at Fla. Atlantic  L 8-9
03/12/16 at Fla. Atlantic  W 5-4
03/13/16 at Fla. Atlantic  L 2-3
03/15/16 at FGCU            L 6-9
03/16/16 at FGCU           W 9-2
03/18/16 at Navy              L 2-3
03/19/16 vs. NJIT            W 10-3
03/23/16 at Rider             L 2-3

Much like the early part of the season Rutgers kind of split the past couple of weeks. Lost the series with Florida Atlantic but managed to split their other games picking up wins here and there. Also, surprisingly has a decent RPI for a team under .500.

Wisconsin

Still riding high on Bronson's shot last Sunday so no pithy quip from me this week (especially since it made me look good on picking that upset).

Players of the Week

March 14th

Player of the Week: Scott Schreiber 1B, So., NEB

Scott earns his first career Big Ten Player of the Week award by hitting .571 on the week. In that stellar offensive performance he had four home runs on eight hits and 11 RBIs while scoring six runs.

Pitcher of the Week: Brett Adcock LHP, Jr., MICH

Only gave up two hits in his outing with Hawaii while striking out a career high 12 batters. This is his second B1G pitcher of the week honor.

Freshman of the Week: Zach Daniels IF/P, IOWA

Also hit .571 on the week while notching five RBIs on four hits and scoring three runs.

March 21st

Player/Freshman of the Week: Willie Burger 1B, Fr., PSU

Big Willie gets both his first B1G Player and Freshman of the Week awards by hitting .636 on the week with seven hits, six RBIs, and scoring four runs.

Co-Pitchers of the Week: Caleb Baragar LHP, Sr., IND & Brian Shaffer RHP, So., MD

Caleb, much like Adcock last week, had a great showing against Hawaii throwing a one hit 8.0 inning outing against the Wahine while striking out a career-high 11 batters. He also has not surrendered an earned run through 24.2 innings of work so far. This is his first career Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honor.

Brian had a complete game shutout against nationally ranked Cal State Fullerton in which he struck out five batters and did not give up a single walk. This is his first career Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honor.

What to Watch This Week

BTN is doing its part to broadcast more and more B1G baseball/softball games so here is what you can find for baseball/softball coverage this week. All times Eastern

Baseball

Friday, March 25 Rutgers - Michigan State 3:00 PM
Saturday, March 26 Penn State - Illinois 4:00 PM
Sunday, March 27 Northwestern - Ohio State Noon
Tuesday, March 29 Creighton - Nebraska 7:30 PM

Softball

Friday, March 25 Maryland - Ohio State 6:00 PM

Players of the week, schedule, and results courtesy of BTN.com