Entries Tagged as 'big ten baseball'

Big Ten conference play almost upon us

chicago st 037

The University of Illinois baseball season is underway.  All right, the season is over a month old but the Illini just had their home opener last night so I’m very excited. 

Illinois crushed Chicago State 18-2 for their first game at Illinois Field.  I have a wrap-up and photos of game over at Illinois Baseball Report.  Matt Milroy, who was chosen by the Red Sox in the 2009 MLB draft, got his first win for the Illini.

Interesting note:  Chicago State came in with a 13.57 ERA.  Illinois still managed to increase it significantly.

The one thing more fun than a home opener is the first Big Ten series at home.  Penn State comes to visit this weekend.  At IBR, I did an interview with Larry Fall who blogs about Penn State baseball at Happy Valley Hardball in anticipation of the big series. 

Go Illini!

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Illini baseball to compete in BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge

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Next February, the Illini will compete in a tournament between the Big Ten and BIG EAST conferences.  The inaugural BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge will take place February 20-22, 2009 and will be hosted by the St Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission.  All teams of the Big Ten and BIG EAST will take part.

The tournament will take place on the same date that Major League pitchers and catchers report for spring training. 

Here is the proposed schedule:

BIG EAST/BIG TEN CHALLENGE MATCHUPS

Day 1 – Friday, February 20
Ohio State vs. Notre Dame
Penn State vs. St. John’s
Illinois vs. Iowa
Michigan State vs. Connecticut
Michigan vs. South Florida
Northwestern vs. Georgetown
Minnesota vs. Seton Hall
Indiana vs. West Virginia
Purdue vs. Cincinnati

Day 2 – Saturday, February 21
Michigan vs. Cincinnati
Purdue vs. South Florida
Penn State vs. Northwestern
Ohio State vs. Connecticut
Indiana vs. Georgetown
Illinois vs. Notre Dame
Minnesota vs. West Virginia
Michigan State vs. Seton Hall
Iowa vs. St. John’s

Day 3 – Sunday, February 22
Michigan vs. St. John’s
Ohio State vs. Cincinnati
Minnesota vs. Michigan State
Northwestern vs. Connecticut
Indiana vs. South Florida
Iowa vs. Georgetown
Purdue vs. Notre Dame
Penn State vs. Seton Hall
Illinois vs. West Virginia

Update: I asked Brian from The College Baseball Blog why the BIG EAST was in ALL CAPS while the Big Ten wasn’t in all the press releases I read.  He simply said, "He simply said, It’s because they’re the BIG EAST."

‘Nuff said.

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Illini OF McMurray named Freshman All-American

Mcmurray

Collegiate Baseball selected Illinois outfielder Casey McMurray as a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American.  McMurray hit .331 for the season and was tied for the team lead in doubles with 12.  In addition, Mac was named Big Ten Player of the Week on April 28. 

He started 48 games all in left field though he led off at least once. 

You will find McMurray out west now.  He’s playing for Santa Barbara Foresters of the California Collegiate League. 

Congrats, Casey!

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Final thoughts on the 2008 Big Ten Tournament

I’m back in Urbana, Illinois and before we close the book on the 2008 Big Ten Tournament, I’d like to provide some last comments and maybe some cool photos that didn’t make it into postings last week.

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Michigan’s All-Big Ten Player of the Year Nate Recknagel at the plate

Once again, congratulations to the Michigan Wolverines who won the Big Ten Tournament in style, undefeated. Michigan will go on to the Regionals as a #2 seed and will again act as host. Regionals games start May 30th.

There were two one-run games in the tournament including the 3-2 Purdue-Michigan championship game. The largest blowout was the 15-6 Purdue blasting of Penn State on Thursday.

In my opinion, the most exciting game was Friday’s Indiana-Penn State game where no lead was safe.

Score by Innings                    R  H  E
-------------------------------------------
Penn State.......... 003 000 104 -  8 12  2
Indiana............. 013 030 004 - 11 15  4

Surely, Penn State after rallying from three back in the top of the ninth to take the lead, had thought they had wrested the game from the Hoosiers.

They didn’t count on Tyler Cox hitting a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth to take it all away.

The Manster

Being an Illinois fan, I have to give mad props to 6’7″ starting pitcher Kevin Manson who kept the Illini in the tourney an extra day. Manson pitched a gem of a game on Wednesday… a complete game allowing only 4 hits and no walks. That was good enough to get him on the All-Tournament team.

Josh Phegley at bat against Purdue

Chris Hervey and Josh Phegley, Indiana’s #2 and #3 hitters were a force to be reckoned with. After their initial loss to Penn State, they caught fire. They were a combined 22 for 40 for the weekend. Phegley’s six rbis against Illinois was personally devastating.

Dan Black’s second homerun of the game against Indiana

The single player who had the most offensive tournament would have to be Purdue’s C/3B Dan Black. For the week, Black was 7 for 11 with 5 homeruns and 11 rbis. Amazingly, all his offense came in two games. In the two games against Michigan (including of course, the championship game), he was 0 for 6.

Would that factor in why he was passed over for the Tournament Most Outstanding Player? Well, that and they would rather give it to someone on the Championship team as they have done in previous years?

And finally, my favorite photo from the weekend:

This is a particularly bad-ass photo of Illinois 2B Joe Bonadonna. Joe has been excellent camera fodder all season. This photo is atypical though because for once, Joe is holding still.

Thanks to all the players and their parents (some who I met) for making this tournament possible. Also, I appreciate all the hard work that the University of Michigan put in. They did a great job!

Entry point for all my photos taken at the 2008 Big Ten Tournament

The Baseball Zealot coverage of the 2008 Big Ten Tournament

Official 2008 Big Ten Tournament page

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Michigan takes the Big Ten Tournament crown

The University of Michigan Wolverines have won the Big Ten Tournament championship.  But first things first:

Dan Black knocked out 3 homers against Indiana today

This afternoon, Purdue and Indiana played each other for the right to take on Michigan.  Purdue put runs on the board easily thanks to the efforts of Dan Black who blasted 3 homeruns for the day and added a sac fly for his fifth rbi.  Brandon Haveman had four hits for the game.

Indiana did make an attempt at a rally, though.  Down 10-3, they scored four in top of eighth to make it 10-7.  That would be all their offense would produce and Purdue won 11-7.

Purdue-Indiana photos here

Purdue faced Michigan again for the second time this week.  Michigan handed them their only loss.  It looked like the result might be different this time when Purdue score two runs early.  However, Michigan scored a run on a error in the fifth and another on a Ryan Lamarre solo shot.

Tied 2-2, Kevin Cislo hit his 2nd double of the day in the seventh inning.  He was grounded ove to third then Purdue reliever Andy Loomis released a wild pitch that put the go-ahead run on the board.

Michael Powers pitched the last two innings for the save for Michigan.

Final Score Michigan 3 Purdue 2

I’d like to say I have photos for this game but I don’t.  It’s a long story.

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Saturday’s lineup at the Big Ten Tournament

Indiana catcher Josh Phegley

I’m still getting used to the fact that Indiana is still in the tournament. Obvious underdogs not just of the tourney but the Big Ten season in general, they’ve come a long way.

Coming in to the tournament as the #6 seed, they didn’t overwhelm in the first game when they lost 6-1 to Penn State. Since then, they have caught fire. Scoring 35 runs in the next three games behind the bats of Chris Hervey and Josh Phegley, they have won all three do-or-die matches. In those three games, Hervey is 8 for 12 and Phegley is 7 for 14 with 8 rbis.

Jordan Comadena and the rest of the Boilermakers will be ready for the Hoosiers

Today brings a matchup between Indiana and #2 seed Purdue at 3:30. The reward for a win is the task of taking on the Wolverines of Michigan. That game takes place tonight.

If Michigan wins tonight, they will be the 2008 Big Ten Tournament Champions. If not, there will be a re-match Sunday to determine the champion once again proving the benefit of being in the winner’s bracket.

2008 Big Ten Tournament Photos

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Some sights at the 2008 Big Ten tournament

The Big Ten Network began broadcasting the games by the third round.  This camera operator didn’t care for me taking her picture even though she was poking her camera into Illinois’ dugout a good part of the game.

This is a mid-game interview of Coach Hartleb of Illinois.  This goes for MLB too but my feeling is let the manager do his job.  There’s nothing he can say then that can’t wait till after the game.  This is just a failed gimmick on TV sports media’s part.

On the left Steve Putnam and on the Brian DeCaussin from Big Ten Hardball.  The three of us chatted Thursday.

Zach Putnam is Steve’s son and considering what Zach did to our Illini, I’d say some mean things but he’s a really nice guy and actually a Illinois alum so I won’t.

No team in the tourney gets in the game more than the Purdue Boilermakers.  Whether it’s yelling encouragements to the pitcher or batter or riding the opposition, they’re doing it.  There’s constant chatter. They’re always up on the railing making themselves the tenth player.

Something I noticed… when the Boilermaker pitcher makes the third out, four or five of them run out to meet him with high fives and ‘atta boy’s.  In my opinion, that’s got to make a difference.

Quote of the Week:

“Ok, you’ve told the world you’re going to sacrifice.  Now get the job done!”

-Indiana Coach Tracy Smith to an Indiana batter who fouled off a pitch while attempting a bunt.

my photos of the 2008 Big Ten Tournament this week (I’m closing in on 400 taken so far)

Zealot coverage of the 2008 Big Ten Tournament

Schedule, Boxscores and other info hosted by UM

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Illini comeback attempt not enough in Big Ten tourney elimination round

Ryan Hastings: 3 for 4, 2 doubles

It was a valiant effort to be sure. But Illinois will not be playing any more games in the Big Ten Tournament and will be heading home. Indiana defeated them 14-7 earlier today in Day 3 of the Big Ten Tournament.

Despite the score, Illinois made it interesting. Down by 9-1, they rallied. Scoring three runs in the 7th and 8th innings, they came within two runs 9-7. But that was all they could muster and to add insult to injury, Indiana added five more in the bottom of the 8th.

Indiana hit the ball and and hit it hard. The tandem of Chris Hervey and Josh Phegley were a two-man wrecking crew. Between the two of them, they were a combined 7 for 8 with 8 rbis and 8 runs.

Altobelli coming home to score

Ryan Hastings and Dom Altobelli came through with 3 hits for the Illini. Casey McMurray, who was 2 for 3 with 2 rbis, keyed the 7th innng rally with a 2-run double. Hastings, Altobelli, and McMurray all got base hits in the 8th inning spurt of runs.

Credit John Schlichter for taking one for the team. He took two. Schlichter was hit by the pitch twice in the game and scored both times.

Indiana’s Tyler Tufts got the complete game win.

More photos from the game

Tournament info

More Zealot coverage of the Tournament

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Heartbreak in Ann Arbor

Scott Shaw

Let’s make one thing clear.  Despite what those of you looking the boxscore might be thinking, Scott Shaw pitched the game of his career.  I don’t know if we could have asked any more of him.  Shaw held the potent Wolverine lineup to one run three hits for six innings.

Unfortunately, it was seventh that got away from us. A double, an intentional walk to Big Ten Player of the Year Nate Recknagel, another walk… well it just got ugly.  Credit Michigan 3B Adam Abraham for coming through with the two-run single.

Three runs scored in the seventh and the Illini never recovered.

Michigan won 5-2.

Zach Putnam

Michigan starter (and DH) Zach Putnam was pitching just as effectively but we didn’t have the big inning on him as they did on us.  He struck out nine in seven innings and allowed 2 earned runs.

I also give some credit to the fans.  They came out in droves.  Michigan or no, it’s good to see fans supporting their college baseball team.

More photos from the game here.

I’m keeping this short because it’s time to go to the ballpark.  Illinois is playing Indiana in an elimination game.

They’ll be more later.

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Long day ahead at the Big Ten Baseball Tournament

big ten tournament bonadonna

Joe Bonadonna made his one hit count Wednesday

A quick post before I head out for the second day of the Big Ten Tournament.

What’s on for today?

First up at 12:05 is Loser’s round game where we find out who gets to go on in the tournament and who gets to get on the bus.  #5 seed Ohio State faces #6 seed Indiana.

At 3:35, Penn State who defeated Indiana yesterday afternoon, will take on #2 seed Purdue.  Purdue is a tough team who have a formidable offense as Illinois found out last weekend.

Finally, at 7:05, host Michigan will take on Illinois who are fresh off their first round win.

A busy day for the Big Ten tournament for sure.

Which announcer will we get?

I’m not a picky guy but I have to say the PA announcer for the Illinois-Ohio State left something to be desired.  Between announcing the wrong defense at the beginning of the game and announcing players out of order it got a little nuts.

But when he referred to our team as the ‘Fighting Irish’, that was it.  I think the crowd cheered a little extra louder when it was time for the stadium’s “Junior Announcer” promo when a lucky 10-year-old announced the players.  He got the players right.

It didn’t go unnoticed when Penn State-Indiana played, they got a new announcer.

Congrats and Encouragement from an Alum

I just got an email from former Illinois SS Shawn Roof this morning.  Roof is currently playing for the Lakeland Flying Tigers in the Gulf Coast League.  He’s enjoying the updates and photos.  He passes on congrats and greetings to everyone.

Apparently his roommate at Lakeland is a Michigan grad so there’s some trash talking going on between the two.

All for now, I stepped outside and though it is a bit overcast, it did stop raining and forecast for the day looks good.

Go Illini!

Link to photos of Big Ten Baseball Tournament

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