And down the stretch we come. It seems like just yesterday everyone was freezing their butts off when the college baseball season started back in February and now here we are in the last weekend of conference play. My how time flies. As predicted this season certainly was interesting in that there was no real dominant team and every weekend was a war between similarly decent squads (except maybe NW and Purdue). On the final week of B1G play let's see where everyone is at:
Illinois (26-23, 10-12) RPI: 67
05/07/16 at Maryland W 4-2
05/07/16 at Maryland L 1-3
05/08/16 at Maryland W 5-4
05/13/16 at Indiana W 2-1
05/14/16 at Indiana L 1-3
05/15/16 at Indiana L 1-4
Little bit of a split for the Illini getting a series win against the Terps but then dropping one to Indiana. Not bad of a showing considering both were on the road. But, even though Illinois' RPI went up 20 spots time is not on their side getting into the B1G tournament. Big weekend hosting Michigan so they can try and make it to Omaha.
Up next: 5/19 - 5/21 Michigan
B1G Road to Omaha - Current position: 10th
Illini need to at least get a series win against the Wolverines and hope for some outside factors if they want to get to TD Ameritrade.
Indiana (31-20, 15-7) RPI: 94
05/06/16 at Minnesota W 12-8
05/07/16 at Minnesota L 6-8
05/08/16 at Minnesota W 3-2
05/10/16 KENTUCKY W 3-2
05/13/16 ILLINOIS L 1-2
05/14/16 ILLINOIS W 3-1
05/15/16 ILLINOIS W 4-1
05/17/16 at Louisville L 2-9
Pretty good work for the Hoosiers getting two series wins as well as an SEC pelt in Kentucky. Due to all this work Indiana when up 30 spots in RPI but still is on the verge of the triple digit club. A series win or sweep at Nebraska could improve that though.
Up next: 5/19 - 5/21 @Nebraska
B1G Road to Omaha - Current position: 2nd
Indiana is pretty much a lock to make it to Omaha but they are still in the mix for the regular season title plus a decent seed in the conference tourney. A road trip with the Huskers may get in the way of that.
Iowa (25-24, 10-11) RPI: 87
05/06/16 at Ohio State L 0-6
05/07/16 at Ohio State W 12-0
05/08/16 at Ohio State L 0-3
05/13/16 MICHIGAN STATE L 1-5
05/14/16 MICHIGAN STATE W 3-1
05/15/16 MICHIGAN STATE W 5-1
05/17/16 at Western Ill. W 10-2
Lost an interesting back and forth shut out fest in Columbus but did post a series win against the Spartans. Hawkeyes have been hovering around .500 all year it seems.
Up next: 5/19 - 5/20 @PSU
B1G Road to Omaha: Current position: 9th
Still just on the outside looking in but within striking distance of the B1G tourney. Series with PSU is huge as it may determine who will just barely make it in.
Maryland (27-24, 12-10) RPI: 68
05/07/16 ILLINOIS L 2-4
05/07/16 ILLINOIS W 3-1
05/08/16 ILLINOIS L 4-5
05/10/16 at West Virginia L 1-4
05/13/16 RUTGERS L 4-5
05/14/16 RUTGERS L 5-7
05/15/16 RUTGERS W 6-0
Rough couple of weeks for the Terps in that they lost two very winnable series against Illinois and Rutgers. Not only did the RPI take a hit but it now puts them dangerously closer to the cut line. And a date with MSU (who is in a similar bind) could spell trouble for Maryland.
Up next: 5/19 - 5/21 @MSU
B1G Road to Omaha - Current position: 7th
Both Maryland and MSU have been slowly sinking toward being out of the picture so expect this to be a dog fight.
Michigan (35-17, 13-8) RPI: 34
05/06/16 RUTGERS W 14-1
05/07/16 RUTGERS W 13-1
05/08/16 RUTGERS W 12-5
05/11/16 at Central Mich. L 7-8
05/13/16 at Ohio State L 2-3
05/14/16 at Ohio State L 3-7
05/15/16 at Ohio State L 2-8
05/17/16 OAKLAND L 5-6
Had the almost expected sweep of Rutgers but got swept themselves against the Buckeyes. That didn't really hurt their RPI all that much but taking the B1G regular season might be out the window for the pre-season favorite.
Up next: 5/19 - 5/21 @Illinois
B1G Road to Omaha - Current position: 5th
Should make it into Omaha but Illinois will be feisty as they are desperate to get in as well.
Michigan State (33-17, 12-10) RPI: 79
05/07/16 NEBRASKA L 3-6
05/08/16 NEBRASKA W 4-2
05/09/16 NEBRASKA L 4-7
05/10/16 at Western Mich. DNP
05/11/16 vs. Eastern Mich. W 3-2
05/13/16 at Iowa W 5-1
05/14/16 at Iowa L 1-3
05/15/16 at Iowa L 1-5
05/17/16 at Central Mich. L 1-12
Much like their opponent this week dropping series against Nebraska and Iowa not only hurt the RPI but dropped them in a precarious position of not making the B1G tournament.
Up next: 5/19 - 5/21 Maryland
B1G Road to Omaha - Current position: 6th
MSU and Maryland sit side by side in the standings and depending on other factors the winner may move on with the loser sitting at home.
#24 Minnesota (33-17, 15-6) RPI: 48
05/06/16 INDIANA L 8-12
05/07/16 INDIANA W 8-6
05/08/16 INDIANA L 2-3
05/13/16 at Purdue W 4-3
05/14/16 at Purdue W 14-4
05/15/16 at Purdue W 3-0
05/17/16 at South Dakota St. L 6-7
Lost the B1G leaders showdown with Indiana but fortunately for the Gophers got some free wins against Purdue to keep them in 1st place. RPI took a slight hit but Minnesota is still in the driver's seat for the conference crown, seeding, and NCAA participation. They will take on a hot aOSU team the final week though which could throw a wrench into the plans.
Up next: 5/19 - 5/21 aOSU
B1G Road to Omaha - Current position: 1st
Minnesota is a lock for Omaha but it really depends on them if they want to keep that coveted #1 seed.
Nebraska (35-18, 14-8) RPI: 44
05/07/16 at Michigan State W 6-3
05/08/16 at Michigan State L 2-4
05/09/16 at Michigan State W 7-4
05/11/16 OMAHA W 8-2
05/13/16 PENN STATE L 4-7
05/14/16 PENN STATE W 6-0
05/15/16 PENN STATE W 8-1
05/17/16 Creighton W 15-2
Pretty productive couple of weeks for the Huskers in winning the series against MSU and PSU. Add to that the RPI booster in smoking CU and its no surprise Nebraska jumped 30 spots since we saw them last. The B1G wins also put them in striking distance of the regular season crown however some luck and outside influences will need to be at work too.
Up next: 5/19 - 5/21 Indiana
B1G Road to Omaha - Current position: 4th
Should be in Omaha in front of a partisan crowd but will try and improve seeding depending on the series with Indiana.
Northwestern (14-38, 6-16) RPI: 259
05/06/16 PURDUE W 7-3
05/07/16 PURDUE W 7-4
05/08/16 PURDUE W 3-0
05/14/16 CALIFORNIA L 0-16
05/15/16 CALIFORNIA L 3-15
05/15/16 CALIFORNIA L 2-13
05/16/16 CALIFORNIA L 0-15
Did manage to sweep Purdue to increase the B1G win column and make sure they aren't the worst B1G team this year in baseball. Followed that up by predictably getting rolled by Cal in a four game set. Will end the year with Rutgers so may end the year on a high note wins wise.
Up next: 5/19 - 5/21 @Rutgers
B1G Road to Omaha - Current position: 12th
This road is under construction. Although with a new stadium maybe things will turn around for next year. Sound familiar Cubs fans?
Ohio State (37-16, 14-8) RPI: 69 (heh)
05/06/16 IOWA W 6-0
05/07/16 IOWA L 0-12
05/08/16 IOWA W 3-0
05/11/16 FLA. ATLANTIC W 10-2
05/13/16 MICHIGAN W 3-2
05/14/16 MICHIGAN W 7-3
05/15/16 MICHIGAN W 8-2
05/17/16 EASTERN MICH. W 2-0
The hottest team in the B1G right now is hitting its stride at the right time. Considering the majority of the season the Buckeyes just kind of existed they really turned it on the past few weeks with a series win against Iowa and a surprising sweep of Michigan. This not only puts aOSU's RPI in decent shape but they now have a shot at taking the regular season crown after duping a majority of folks most of the season. Ohio State pretty much Keyser Soze'd us all.
Up next: 5/19 - 5/21 @Minnesota
B1G Road to Omaha - Current position: 3rd
Ohio State pretty much went to 'not sure to book tickets' to 'what seed will we get' in a matter of weeks. Match up with the Gophers will decide where aOSU ends up.
Penn State (27-25, 11-10) RPI: 121
05/07/16 TCU L 2-6
05/07/16 TCU L 4-5
05/08/16 TCU L 5-9
05/11/16 at Pittsburgh W 11-6
05/13/16 at Nebraska W 7-4
05/14/16 at Nebraska L 0-6
05/15/16 at Nebraska L 1-8
Understandably was swept by TCU but gave them some hell in that series. However, dropped the more important Nebraska series which puts them in a must win scenario against Iowa.
Up next: 5/19 - 5/20 Iowa
B1G Road to Omaha - Current position: 8th
Right on the cut line so the match up with Iowa makes or breaks the Nits season.
Purdue (8-43, 2-22) RPI: 279
05/06/16 at Northwestern L 3-7
05/07/16 at Northwestern L 4-7
05/08/16 at Northwestern L 0-3
05/10/16 IPFW L 3-4
05/11/16 at Valparaiso L 10-13
05/13/16 MINNESOTA L 3-4
05/14/16 MINNESOTA L 4-14
05/15/16 MINNESOTA L 0-3
05/17/16 vs. IPFW L 5-6
Obviously not a productive couple of weeks for the Boilermakers in which they gave up two more series sweeps pushing that total to seven. Will get to finish the season in non-con land so in regards to B1G talk Purdue has rode off into the sunset...happy trails Pete, happy trails.
Up next: 5/19 - 5/22 Cal St. Northridge.
B1G Road to Omaha - Current position: 13th
Uhh...no. Just no.
Rutgers (26-27, 8-14) RPI: 83
05/06/16 at Michigan L 1-14
05/07/16 at Michigan L 1-13
05/08/16 at Michigan L 5-12
05/13/16 at Maryland W 5-4
05/14/16 at Maryland W 7-5
05/15/16 at Maryland L 0-6
05/17/16 SAINT PETER'S W 12-3
Got swept by Michigan but played the spoiler role for Maryland in getting a series win there. Also, Rutgers deserves some sort of medal for being not even .500 for most of the year but somehow never going into the triple digits RPI wise. Baffling really.
Up next: 5/19 - 5/21 Northwestern
B1G Road to Omaha - Current position: 11th
The Maryland win was good but the series sweep with the Wolverines probably did Rutgers in.
Unfortunately Wisconsin baseball suffers from "Chuck Cunningham Syndrome"
RPI as of 5/19/16 courtesy of d1baseball.com
Players of the Week
Player of the Week: Ben Miller DH/1B, Jr., NEB
"Big" Ben had a .474 batting average on the week with eight RBIs on nine hits plus one home run and two doubles. This is his first Big Ten Player of the Week award.
Co-Pitcher of the Week: Toby Anderson P, Jr., MINN
Pitched a complete game in the win over Purdue in an outing which included five strikeouts and allowing just four hits. This is his first Big Ten Pitcher of the Week award.
Co-Pitcher/Freshman of the Week: Matt Waldron P, Jr., NEB
Also had a complete game in a win over Penn State where he had six strikeouts and also only allowed four hits. Did a two for one special in collecting his first Big Ten Freshman of the Week and Pitcher of the Week awards.
What to Watch This Week
BTN is doing its part to broadcast more and more B1G baseball games so here is what you can find for baseball coverage this week. All times Eastern
Friday, May 20 OSU - Minnesota 9pm
Saturday, May 21 Indiana - Nebraska 2pm
Saturday, May 21 Michigan - Illinois 5 pm
*Bonus* B1G Softball NCAA Tourney Update
Since we had a quick update last week we missed out getting too in depth about the B1G Softball Tournament in State College, PA. Minnesota ended up taking the title (congrats Gophers!) and now that conference play is done the ladies of the diamond are scattered about the country trying to make it to Oklahoma City for the WCWS. Six teams made the field (Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern and Ohio State) and here is where they are at and who they will play:
Thursday, May 19
NEBRASKA def. Louisville, 3-2
Friday, May 20
NEBRASKA vs. Missouri 2pm ESPNU
Ann Arbor Regional
Friday, May 20
#2 MICHIGAN vs. Valparaiso 7 p.m BTN
Friday, May 20
NORTHWESTERN vs. Oklahoma State 1 p.m ESPN3
Friday, May 20
OHIO STATE vs. Arizona 4:30 p.m ESPNU
Friday, May 20
ILLINOIS vs. Utah 3:30 p.m ESPN3
Friday, May 20
MINNESOTA vs. North Dakota State 7:30 p.m
Players of the week, schedule, and results courtesy of bigten.org & btn.com