MICHIGAN at ILLINOIS
Friday, April 16 - 6:05 p.m. CT - www.BigTenNetwork.com
RHP Alan Oaks (3-4, 4.02 ERA) vs. RHP Kevin Manson (2-0, 2.35 ERA)
Saturday, April 17 - 3:05 p.m. CT - www.BigTenNetwork.com
LHP Bobby Brosnahan (4-2, 4.54 ERA) vs. RHP Kevin Johnson (2-1, 5.73 ERA)
Sunday, April 18 - 1:05 p.m. CT - www.BigTenNetwork.com
RHP Brandon Sinnery (3-0, 3.34 ERA) vs. RHP Lee Zerrusen (2-1, 5.96 ERA)
Storylines: One of three teams tied for the Big Ten lead, Michigan (20-11, 4-2 Big Ten) is the hottest team in the conference right now, entering this weekend's series having won eight of its last 10 games, including four straight. Illinois (15-13, 3-3 Big Ten) dropped two to Iowa last weekend, but rebounded by winning a pair of mid-week contests. After suffering an injury on Feb. 20, Michigan's Ryan LaMarre made his first starts since then last week and hit .692 with a 1.077 slugging percentage against Purdue to take home Big Ten Player of the Week honors. Willie Argo and Casey McMurray lead the Illini at the plate, batting .396 and .394, respectively. McMurray is also among the Big Ten's best in slugging (.649) and on-base percentage (.478), while Argo has reached base at a .500 clip and is among the NCAA's leaders with 26 stolen bases.
IOWA at INDIANA
Friday, April 16 - 3:05 p.m. ET
LHP Jarred Hippen (2-2, 3.17 ERA) vs. LHP Drew Leininger (5-1, 1.38 ERA)
Saturday, April 17 - 1 p.m. ET
RHP Nick Brown (2-3, 8.38 ERA) vs. LHP Matt Igel (0-4, 8.38 ERA)
Sunday, April 18 - 1 p.m. ET
RHP Phil Schreiber (3-3, 5.49 ERA) vs. RHP Walker Stadler (3-3, 5.36 ERA)
Storylines: Iowa (13-16, 3-3 Big Ten) has won its last three straight, including a series victory against Illinois last weekend, while Indiana (16-15, 2-4 Big Ten) dropped two of three to Ohio State before picking up a mid-week win against Valparaiso. The Hoosiers boast some of the conference's heaviest hitters in Jerrud Sabourin (.445) and Alex Dickerson (.430), who rank first and second in the Big Ten in average. Zach McCool has provided the offense for Iowa during the conference slate, ranking first in average (.632) and on-base percentage (.65) and second in slugging (.913) over two Big Ten series. The two squads also boast tough pitching challenges for their opponents as Indiana is led by Drew Leininger, who ranks among the NCAA's best in ERA (1.38), and Iowa closes out games with Kevin Lee, who is among the nation's best with six saves.
OHIO STATE at MICHIGAN STATE
Friday, April 16 - 3:05 p.m. ET
RHP Alex Wimmers (7-0, 1.80 ERA) vs. RHP A.J. Achter (4-1, 2.44 ERA)
Saturday, April 17 - 1:05 p.m. ET - Big Ten Network
RHP Drew Rucinski (3-1, 2.50 ERA) vs. RHP Kurt Wunderlich (6-1, 3.49 ERA)
Sunday, April 18 - 1:05 p.m. ET
RHP Dean Wolosiansky (3-3, 5.65 ERA) vs. RHP Tony Bucciferro (4-3, 4.47 ERA)
Storylines: Michigan State (22-7, 4-2 Big Ten) and Ohio State (19-9, 4-2 Big Ten), two of the teams tied at the top of the Big Ten standings meet this weekend in one of the nation's most talked-about series. National Pitcher of the Year candidate Alex Wimmers leads the Buckeyes, owning a 7-0 record and a 1.80 ERA, which are both among the nation's best. As a staff, Ohio State pitchers lead the Big Ten in ERA (4.52). On offense, Ohio State leads the Big Ten with a .336 average, fronted by Cory Kovanda's .398 mark. Kovanda is one of six Buckeye regulars hitting over .300, joining Michael Stephens and Zach Hurley, who both rank among the Big Ten's best in slugging. A.J. Acter leads the Spartan staff that is the Big Ten's best in opponents' batting average and wins, himself ranking among the conference's elite in those categories as well as ERA. The Michigan State offense is second only to the Buckeyes in batting, but just barely, with a combined .335 average. Eli Boike leads the Spartan bats with a .409 average, .638 slugging percentage and .473 on-base clip, which all rank among the Big Ten's top 10.
MINNESOTA at NORTHWESTERN
Friday, April 16 - 3 p.m. CT
RHP Seth Rosin (2-3, 4.01 ERA) vs. RHP Francis Brooke (3-2, 4.25 ERA)
Saturday, April 17 - 1 p.m. CT
RHP TJ Oakes (2-2, 3.69 ERA) vs. LHP Eric Jokisch (2-4, 5.30 ERA)
Sunday, April 18 - 1 p.m. CT
LHP Phil Isaksson (2-0, 4.06 ERA) vs. LHP Joe Muraski (0-5, 7.09 ERA)
Storylines: Minnesota (13-20, 3-3 Big Ten) and Northwestern (10-21, 3-3 Big Ten) both come in to this weekend's series with .500 conference records and 5-5 marks over their last 10 contests. Friday's matchup features two of the Big Ten's control leaders on the mound as Minnesota's Seth Rosin ranks first in the nation in walks allowed per game, and Northwestern's Francis Brooke is eighth. Combined, the two hurlers have allowed just seven walks over 98 innings this year. On offense, Paul Snieder leads four Wildcats hitting over .300 with a .390 average. Snieder is one of two two-way Northwestern players, also with a 2.21 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 20.1 innings. Gopher shortstop AJ Pettersen is one of six Minnesota regulars batting over .300, leading the squad with a .338 mark and 24 runs scored. Michael Kvasnicka leads the club in slugging (.578) on 13 doubles, five homers and two triples.
PENN STATE at PURDUE
Friday, April 16 - 4 p.m. ET
RHP Steven Hill (2-2, 3.55 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Bischoff (4-1, 2.09 ERA)
Saturday, April 17 - 2 p.m. ET
RHP Ryan Ignas (2-2, 5.82 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Morgan (2-1, 4.46 ERA)
Sunday, April 18 - Noon ET
RHP Mike Wanamaker (2-2, 6.21 ERA ) vs. TBA
Storylines: Penn State (14-17, 2-4 Big Ten) is riding high after its come-from-behind win over Pittsburgh, ranked No. 24 by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, on Tuesday, while Purdue (17-14, 2-4 Big Ten) upped its win total to 17 with a pair of mid-week wins. Both squads enter the series with 2-4 conference records following series losses last weekend. Penn State is led by catcher Ben Heath, who is second in the conference with a .756 slugging percentage on the strength of 11 home runs and 13 doubles. He has also driven in 38 runs, ranking second in the conference. The Boilermakers are led by their pitching staff, which ranks in the top half of the Big Ten in almost every statistical category. Friday starter Matt Bischoff is third in ERA (2.09) and strikeouts (44) and fourth in opponents' batting average (.236).