ILLINOIS at MICHIGAN STATE
Friday, April 23 - 12:05 p.m. ET
RHP Lee Zerrusen (2-3, 5.68 ERA) vs. RHP A.J. Achter (4-2, 3.30 ERA)
Friday, April 23 - Following Game 1
RHP Kevin Johnson (3-1, 5.21 ERA) vs. RHP Kurt Wunderlich (6-1, 3.23 ERA)
Saturday, April 24 - 12:05 p.m. ET
RHP Will Strack (1-2, 6.75 ERA) vs. RHP Tony Bucciferro (5-3, 4.72 ERA)
Storylines: Illinois (17-16, 4-5 Big Ten) and Michigan State (24-10, 5-4 Big Ten) both look to rebound from series losses last weekend, each having lost to a team tied at the top of the conference standings. The Illini dropped two of three to Michigan, while the Spartans salvaged the series finale from Ohio State. Michigan State is one game out of first in the Big Ten and leads the conference with a .351 team average during Big Ten play. The Spartans also rank second in team ERA (4.95) and first in fielding, a category in which they also lead the nation. The MSU offense is led by Eli Boike, who is hitting .407 on the year. A.J. Acther is the ace of the staff, ranking among the Big Ten's best in ERA (3.30), opponents' batting average (.257) and strikeouts (49). Illinois is led by Casey McMurray, who ranks among the conference's top 10 in slugging (.616) and on-base percentage (.463). Willie Argo provides the speed with a conference-leading 26 steals and 34 runs scored, reaching base at a .463 clip.
INDIANA at MINNESOTA
Friday, April 23 - 6 p.m. CT - Big Ten Network
LHP Drew Leininger (6-1, 1.20 ERA) vs. RHP Seth Rosin (3-3, 4.15 ERA)
Saturday, April 24 - 6 p.m. CT - Big Ten Network
TBA vs. RHP T.J. Oakes (2-2, 3.94 ERA)
Sunday, April 25 - 1 p.m. CT - Big Ten Network
TBA vs. LHP Phil Isaksson (2-0, 3.95 ERA)
Storylines: Indiana (19-16, 5-4 Big Ten) enters the weekend series coming off a sweep over Iowa, while Minnesota (14-23, 4-5 Big Ten) looks to rebound after dropping two of three to Northwestern last weekend. The Hoosiers are one of the most powerful teams in the country, leading the conference with a .523 slugging percentage on the strength of 52 homers and 82 doubles. Alex Dickerson holds the Hoosiers' biggest bat, leading the Big Ten in slugging (.822), homers (16) and RBI (51). Dickerson is also among the Big Ten's elite in average (.421), runs (39) and doubles (13). Jerrud Sabourin complements the left fielder, ranking first in the conference in average (.458), on-base percentage (.494) and hits (71). Indiana ace and National Pitcher of the Year candidate Drew Leininger is first in the Big Ten and among the NCAA's leaders in ERA (1.20) and opponents' average (.201). Minnesota will counter with a pitching staff that is third in the Big Ten in opponents' batting average (.291) and fourth in ERA (4.89). Seth Rosin is the stingiest pitcher in the nation in terms of walks allowed, having given up just two in 56.1 innings of work. He also has 49 strikeouts and has held opposing hitters to a .258 average.
IOWA at MICHIGAN
Friday, April 23 - 2:30 p.m. ET
LHP Jarred Hippen (2-3, 3.86 ERA) vs. RHP Alan Oaks (4-4, 3.60 ERA)
Friday, April 23 - Following Game 1
RHP Nick Brown (2-4, 7.27 ERA) vs. LHP Bobby Brosnahan (4-3, 4.26 ERA)
Saturday, April 24 - 1:05 p.m. ET
RHP Phil Schreiber (3-3, 5.29 ERA) vs. TBA
Storylines: Tied for the Big Ten lead, Michigan (24-12, 6-3 Big Ten) is one of the hottest teams in the Big Ten, having won eight of its last 10 games. Iowa (14-20, 3-6 Big Ten) is looking to rebound from a series sweep last weekend at the hands Indiana. Reigning Big Ten Co-Player of the Week Patrick Biondi, a freshman for the Wolverines, leads the conference with 50 runs and is third with a .489 on-base percentage. After suffering an injury early in the season, Ryan LaMarre has returned to provide the power for Michigan, owning a .593 average, .889 slugging percentage and .607 on-base percentage in Big Ten play. Michigan closer Tyler Burgoon is the reigning Big Ten Pitcher of the Week and has not given up an earned run in conference play this season. Zach McCool leads the Hawkeye offense, ranking among the Big Ten's top 10 in average (.533), slugging (.700) and on-base percentage (.607) during conference play. Jarred Hippen is the ace of the Iowa staff, among the Big Ten's best with a 3.86 ERA. Closer Kevin Lee is tied for second in the conference with six saves.
NORTHWESTERN at PURDUE
Friday, April 23 - 4 p.m. ET
LHP David Jensen (1-2, 6.47 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Bischoff (5-1, 2.76 ERA)
Saturday, April 24 - 2 p.m. ET
LHP Eric Jokisch (3-4, 5.06 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Morgan (3-1, 4.47 ERA)
Sunday, April 25 - 1 p.m. ET
TBA vs. TBA
Storylines: Purdue (22-14, 5-4 Big Ten) enters the weekend series as the Big Ten's hottest team, having won its last seven games and eight of its last 10. Northwestern (13-22, 5-4 Big Ten) is also riding high, having taken two of three from Minnesota last weekend, plus a mid-week game vs. Illinois State on Wednesday. Both squads are led by their pitching staffs, as the Boilermakers rank first in the conference in ERA (4.64), opponents' batting average (.273) and strikeouts (286) in all games, while the Wildcats are fourth in ERA (5.27) and opponents' batting (.297) and second in strikeouts (71) during Big Ten play. Purdue ace Matt Bischoff ranks among the conference's top 10 in most statistical categories including ERA (2.76), opponents' average (.249) and strikeouts (54), while Northwestern's Eric Jokisch has come alive during Big Ten play, owning a 3.52 ERA, .271 opponents' average and 16 strikeouts over three conference series. Northwestern's Francis Brooke is among the nation's best in control, having given up just six walks in 54 innings of work.
PENN STATE at OHIO STATE
Friday, April 23 - 6:35 p.m. ET
Steven Hill (2-3, 5.40 ERA) vs. RHP Alex Wimmers (8-0, 1.71 ERA)
Saturday, April 24 - 1:05 p.m. ET
Mike Wanamaker (2-2, 5.30 ERA) vs. RHP Drew Rucinski (3-1, 2.56 ERA)
Sunday, April 25 - 1:05 p.m. ET
Ryan Ignas (2-3, 6.10 ERA) vs. TBA
Storylines: Ohio State (21-11, 6-3 Big Ten) enters the weekend series tied for the Big Ten lead, while Penn State (15-21, 2-7 Big Ten) is looking to snap a three-game conference skid. The Buckeyes lead the Big Ten in average and on-base percentage, hitting a combined .338 as a team and reaching base at a .412 clip. Zach Hurley leads the OSU offense with a .407 average and a .660 slugging percentage on 13 doubles. National Pitcher of the Year candidate Alex Wimmers is first in the Big Ten and among the national leaders in strikeouts (67) and wins (8) and is second in ERA (1.71) and opponents' average (.228). Catcher Ben Heath leads the Nittany Lion offense, ranking among the NCAA's best in slugging percentage (.727) on the strength of 12 home runs and 14 doubles, which each rank among the top three in the Big Ten. Heath is also tied for second in the conference with 40 RBI. David Lutz has been a source of reliability for PSU on the mound, leading the Big Ten by a wide margin with 24 appearances, all in relief. Lutz owns a 3.86 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 38.2 innings and is holding opponents to a .282 average.