B1G Baseball Tournament Day 1 Recap
Michigan State vs Illiniois
For all the talk of the lack of home runs in TD Ameritrade Park leading up to the Big Ten Tournament, Michigan State left fielder Cam Gibson led the game with a home run. That was actually the first ever in the park’s history. The Spartans only got 5 more hits after that though as pitching really dominated this game. The Illini tied the game up with bases loaded walk in the bottom of the third but couldn’t get anything else going. MSU took the lead for good in the 5th inning and that was all they needed. Starting pitcher for Illinois Drasen Johnson was salty striking out 10 batters and only giving up one earned run. It wasn’t quite enough though and Michigan State moves on to face Nebraska tomorrow at 5:00 pm tomorrow.
Nebraska vs Ohio State
The Husker fans really came out to support the team and it was reported that the crowd today was bigger than the attendance for the entire tournament last year in Minneapolis. Pat Kelly gave the fans a little something to cheer for with a diving catch bottom of 1st. Austin Darby came up with a diving catch on the warning track that could land on him the SportsCenter Top 10. In the top of the 4th, the wheels came off for Huskers after a questionable ball/strike call. The Buckeyes got 6 runs on 6 hits in that inning and that was all she wrote for Nebraska starter Chance Sinclair. That was the first time since April 9th that Huskers gave up 6 runs in an inning. The Huskers struck back with three runs of their own in the bottom of 5 to make it 6-3. The boys from Columbus stayed at 6-3 until the bottom of the ninth when they Huskers loaded the bases with one out thanks to walks given up by closer Trace Dempsey. The Huskers won the game on a walk off sac fly run scored by Mike Pritchard. They scored 4 runs on 1 hit in the 9th to win it. The crowd was electric and sent the Huskers off with a “Go Big Red chant. They play tomorrow at 5 pm against MSU for the right to get a bye on Friday.
Iowa vs Indiana
Indiana came into this one the clear favorite and they didn’t disappoint. The sent Joey DeNato to the mound who happens to be the B1G pitcher of the year. He got the job done nicely with 8IP, 9Ks, 0BBs, and giving up 1 earned run. Offensively, Casey Rodrigue was on fire going 3-3 with a single, double, triple, and 2 RBIs. Iowa did mange to scratch across a couple of runs, one of them aided by sloppy play in the field by the Hoosiers, but their highlight of the day was the 6-4-3-4 double play you see in the video below. Indiana moves on to face Michigan tomorrow at 9pm central on Big Ten Network after getting the 5-2 win.
Michigan vs Minnesota
In the final game of the night, the Michigan Wolverines faced off against the Minnesota Golden Gophers with the winner getting the prize of facing off against top seeded Indiana tomorrow night. Early on, the pitching really kept things under control with both Trent Szkutnik(Mich) and Alec Crawford starting off strong. That all changed in the 4th inning when Minnesota drew first blood when Handel got an RBI double. The next inning the Gophers picked up another run on a single to left. In the top of the 7th, Michigan’s Travis Maezes crushed a HR to right center which was unheard of coming into the day’s action. That HR put Michigan up for good 3-2 and they will move on to face Indiana Thursday night at 9pm central on BTN.
Attendance for Day 1 of the #B1GBaseball Tournament, 10,424. That is a single-day tournament record. Thank you fans!
— Big Ten Baseball (@B1Gbaseball) May 22, 2014