BASE: Weekend Previews

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ILLINOIS at OHIO STATE
Friday, May 7 - 6:35 p.m ET
RHP Lee Zerrusen (2-4, 5.94 ERA) vs. RHP Drew Rucinski (4-2, 3.97 ERA)
Saturday, May 8 - 1:05 p.m. ET
RHP Kevin Johnson (3-2, 6.14 ERA) vs. RHP Dean Wolosiansky (3-6, 5.45 ERA)
Sunday, May 9 - 1:05 p.m. ET
TBA vs. TBA
Storylines: Illinois visits Ohio State just two games back of the Buckeyes in the conference standings, but on the outside of the top six, looking in for a spot in the Big Ten Tournament. Both teams are coming off series losses to conference co-leaders with the Illini having dropped two of three to Northwestern and the Buckeyes losing a pair at Michigan. Willie Argo leads Illinois with a .443 on-base percentage and is second in average (.338) and slugging percentage (.519). With 34 stolen bases in 42 games, he is also approaching his team's single-season steals record. As a team, the Buckeyes rank second in the Big Ten with a .325 average, led by Zach Hurley and Michael Stephens who are hitting .379 and .374, respectively. Hurley is also slugging .604 on the strength of 17 doubles, while Stephens is sixth in the conference with eight homers. The OSU pitching staff, who is holding conference opponents to a .288 average, is expected to be without ace Alex Wimmers this weekend. Drew Rucinski will pick up Friday's starting duties.

INDIANA at NORTHWESTERN
Friday, May 7 - 3 p.m. CT
LHP Drew Leininger (6-3, 3.38 ERA) vs. LHP Jack Havey (2-0, 3.93 ERA)
Saturday, May 8 - 1 p.m. CT
TBA vs. LHP Eric Jokisch (3-5, 4.68 ERA)
Sunday, May 9 - 1 p.m. CT
TBA vs. TBA
Storylines: Following a series victory at Illinois last weekend, Northwestern remains tied for first in the Big Ten standings. Indiana dropped two of three to Purdue last weekend and is currently tied for sixth in the conference. The Wildcats, who have won their last four conference series, have come on strong during Big Ten play, hitting .324 with a combined ERA of 4.56 in conference games. Two-way player Paul Snieder leads Northwestern with a .400 overall average, also with a 2.01 ERA in 19 relief appearances spanning 31.1 innings. Francis Brooke is the ace of the Wildcat starters with a 5-3 record, also among the NCAA's top 10 having only allowed six walks in 67.1 innings of work. The Hoosiers possess some of the toughest hitters in the nation, as Jerrud Sabourin (.419) and Alex Dickerson (.413) rank first and second, respectively, in average in the Big Ten. Dickerson also leads the conference in slugging (.804), RBI (57) and home runs (18) and is fifth in doubles (16). Drew Leininger paces the IU pitching staff, ranking among the conference's best in ERA (3.38), opponents' average (.254) and wins (6).

IOWA at PENN STATE
Friday, May 7 - 7 p.m. ET - Big Ten Network
LHP Jared Hippen (4-3, 3.41 ERA) vs. RHP Mike Wanamaker (3-2, 6.65 ERA)
Saturday, May 8 - 4 p.m. ET - Big Ten Network
RHP Nick Brown (3-5, 7.25 ERA) vs. RHP Steven Hill (2-4, 5.44 ERA)
Sunday, May 9 - 11 a.m. ET - Big Ten Network
RHP Phil Schreiber (3-5, 5.37 ERA) vs. TBA
Storylines: Iowa and Penn State enter this weekend's series with just one game separating the two teams, both needing to make up ground to crack the top six squads that make the Big Ten Tournament field. The Nittany Lions are the Big Ten's hottest team, having won their last five straight conference contests. Catcher Ben Heath leads the PSU offense, while outfielder Steve Snyder is the reigning Big Ten Player of the Week and reliever David Lutz is Pitcher of the Week. Heath tied Penn State's single-season school record with his 17th homer of the season last weekend and currently ranks first in the Big Ten in slugging (.915), on-base percentage (.534), RBI (22) and homers (8) during conference play. Zach McCool leads the Hawkeyes with a .363 average and .532 slugging percentage, while Jarred Hippen is the ace of the staff with a 3.41 ERA and 4-3 record including a complete-game win over Minnesota in his last outing. The entire series between Iowa and Penn State will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.

MICHIGAN at MINNESOTA
Friday, May 7 - 6:35 p.m. CT
TBA vs. RHP Seth Rosin (4-4, 4.43 ERA)
Saturday, May 8 - 2:05 p.m. CT
TBA vs. RHP TJ Oakes (3-3, 4.19 ERA)
Sunday, May 9 - 1:05 p.m. CT
TBA vs. LHP Phil Isaksson (4-0, 3.16 ERA)
Storylines: Michigan heads into this weekend's series tied for first in the Big Ten, while Minnesota is just one game back of the top spot in a tie for third. The Wolverines are led by Ryan LaMarre, who has been on a tear since his return from an injury sustained early in the season. The outfielder leads the Big Ten with a .520 average and is second in slugging (.800) and on-base percentage (.528) during conference play. Freshman Patrick Biondi provides the speed with 18 runs scored and five steals during the Big Ten slate. On the mound, closer Tyler Burgoon has been lights-out with a 1.54 ERA and opponents average of .244 in conference play, having saved four of Michigan's nine Big Ten wins. The Gophers have won their last two Big Ten series and are led by their pitching staff, which ranks second in the conference in ERA (4.78) and opponents' average (.287). Friday starter Seth Rosin leads the nation with just three walks allowed in 69 innings and is also among the Big Ten's leaders with 58 strikeouts. Sunday starter Phil Isaksson is fourth in the conference with a 3.16 ERA, which improves to 2.56 during Big Ten play.

MICHIGAN STATE at PURDUE
Saturday, May 8 - 1 p.m. ET
RHP A.J. Achter (4-2, 3.52 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Bischoff (7-1, 3.29 ERA)
Sunday, May 9 - 1 p.m. ET
RHP Kurt Wunderlich (7-2, 4.52 ERA) vs. LHP Calvin Gutner (1-0, 5.26 ERA)
Monday, May 10 - 1 p.m. ET
RHP Tony Bucciferro (6-4, 4.86 ERA) vs. RHP Drew Wurdack (4-2, 5.21 ERA)
Storylines: Michigan State and Purdue enter the series just one game apart in the Big Ten standings with the Boilermakers tied for third at 8-7 and the Spartans tied for sixth at 7-8. Purdue is coming off a tightly contested series win over Indiana last weekend, while Michigan State is looking to rebound from a sweep at the hands of Penn State. This weekend's matchup pits the Big Ten's best hitting team, Michigan State, against the conference's top pitching squad, Purdue. The Spartans are hitting a combined .331, led by Eli Boike and Jeff Holm, who are batting .395 and .381, respectively. Boike is also among the Big Ten's leaders in slugging (.623) on the strength of 101 total bases. The Purdue pitching staff paces the conference with a 4.77 ERA and a .278 opponents' average as well as 343 combined strikeouts. Saturday's starter, Matt Bischoff is Purdue's all-time strikeouts king and ranks among the conference's best with a 3.29 ERA, .268 average against and 70 strikeouts. Tyler Spillner leads the Boilermakers at the dish, hitting .410 and reaching base at a .471 clip in Big Ten play.

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