As the Michigan baseball team (8-0 Big Ten, 21-11 overall) fended off Maryland (3-5, 16-19) on its way to a series sweep — despite a postponement, game cancellation and a four-hour and 18-minute weather delay — the rest of the Big Ten’s weekends were just as wild.
The Daily breaks down the weekend from around the conference.
Rutgers (4-5, 18-14) at Illinois (9-3, 23-8)
4/13: Illinois 13, Rutgers 12
4/14: Illinois 2, Rutgers 1
4/15: Illinois 10, Rutgers 4
While Illinois would ultimately secure the series sweep, Rutgers made the series much closer than the Fighting Illini had expected going into the weekend. Illinois’ best player — Baseball America’s Midseason Player of the Year Bren Spillane (.457/.540/.1.038) — aggravated an ankle injury early in Friday’s game and was out the remainder of the series. Winning by just two combined runs in the first two games of the weekend, Illinois needed late-game pitching heroics from junior closer Joey Gerber — who is tied for fourth in the nation with 11 saves — to ensure victory.
Michigan will travel to Rutgers for a three-game series from May 5-7.
Illinois will visit Ann Arbor from May 11-13.
Northwestern (1-11, 9-20) at Indiana (6-2, 26-6)
4/13: Game 1 Indiana 12, Northwestern 0
Game 2 Indiana 6, Northwestern 3
4/15: Indiana 22, Northwestern 1
With inclement weather plaguing Bloomington on Saturday, Indiana decided to move Saturday’s game to Friday to set up a doubleheader. It did not end up mattering for the Hoosiers — statistically one of the top two hitting teams in the Big Ten — as they drubbed Northwestern in both games before utterly dominating the lowly Wildcats on Sunday. On the weekend, only two of the 12 Northwestern pitchers to throw a pitch managed to hold the Hoosiers scoreless.
The Wolverines do not play Indiana this season.
Michigan previously swept the Wildcats April 7-8 and will not play them again.
Iowa (6-4, 21-11) at Nebraska (3-7, 16-17)
4/13: Game 1 Iowa 7, Nebraska 1
Game 2 Nebraska 10, Iowa 4
Lincoln experienced similar conditions to Bloomington, and the Cornhuskers decided to follow the same strategy that Indiana used — move Saturday’s game to Friday to set up a doubleheader. Nebraska, however, got unlucky. While it was able to play both Friday games, it had to cancel its game on Sunday. Despite lackluster performances from each team’s top hitter — Cornhuskers first baseman Scott Schreiber and Iowa catcher Tyler Cropley, who combined for just three hits in 15 at-bats — both offenses found their rhythm as they split the series.
The Wolverines do not play Nebraska this season.
Iowa will welcome Michigan for a series from April 27-29.
Valparaiso (11-19) at Michigan State (3-5, 10-21)
4/13: Game 1 Michigan State 5, Valparaiso 4
Game 2 Valparaiso 7, Michigan State 6
The Spartans followed the theme of holding a doubleheader on Friday but, like Nebraska, also cancelled their Sunday game. As their series with Valparaiso is a non-conference series, the missed game did not matter as much. In the first game, Michigan State’s lone .300 hitter, sophomore center fielder Justin Antoncic, delivered a walk-off single in the twelfth inning before the Spartans dropped the second.
The Wolverines will play one game in East Lansing on May 9.
Minnesota (7-1, 23-10) at Purdue (4-4, 15-15)
4/13: Minnesota 22, Purdue 7
4/14: Minnesota 18, Purdue 8
Even though the weather in West Lafayette was accommodating for play on Saturday, and Purdue did not have to play a doubleheader, its Sunday game was ultimately cancelled. The cancellation may have been a blessing for the Boilermakers. They could not do anything to slow down the Big Ten’s other top hitting team in Minnesota. Led by senior first/third baseman Micah Coffey’s 10 runs batted-in and five hits, the Golden Gophers posted a .429 team average over the two games, good for 39 hits.
Michigan does not play Minnesota this season.
Purdue will host the Wolverines for the final series of the regular season from May 17-19.
Ohio State (6-3, 24-10) at Penn State (1-11, 7-22)
4/13: Ohio State 1, Penn State 0
4/14: Game 1 Ohio State 5, Penn State 1
Game 2 Ohio State 19, Penn State 9
After an all-around ugly Friday game in which the sole run scored on an error, Saturday’s doubleheader was a different story. In the earlier game, the Buckeyes pitching staff dominated, holding Penn State to seven hits and one run. In the later game its offense came to life, despite the Ohio State pitching staff’s struggles. Led by senior left fielder Tyler Cowles’ 2-for-3, four-RBI performance, the Buckeyes put up 11 runs in the first four innings on their way to a 19-run performance.
Michigan does not play Ohio State this season.
Penn State travels to Ann Arbor next weekend from April 20-22.
Conference standings through April 16:
1. Michigan (8-0 Big Ten)
2. Minnesota (7-1)
3. Illinois (9-3)
4. Indiana (6-2)
5. Ohio State (6-3)
6. Iowa (6-4)
7. Purdue (4-4)
8. Rutgers (4-5)
9. Maryland (3-5)
10. Michigan State (3-5)
11. Nebraska (3-7)
12. Northwestern (1-11)
13. Penn State (1-11)