Chris Webb

Illinois-Rutgers schedule change

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Start times have been set for this weekend’s Illinois baseball series at Rutgers. The Illini and Scarlet Knights are scheduled to play Friday at 2 p.m. CT and a doubleheader Saturday at 11 a.m. CT.

Rutgers has opted to play two games Saturday because its commencement is scheduled for Sunday. Traffic and parking options on campus will be difficult.

There is rain in the forecast so game times could change.

Minnesota’s Coffey and Schulze Earn Weekly Big Ten Awards

Park Ridge, Ill. – The University of Minnesota collected two Big Ten awards this week as Micah Coffey was named Player of the Week and Brett Schulze was named Freshman of the Week.

This is the first Player of the Week award for Coffey after he finished the week with a .550 batting average (11-20), nine runs, 2 doubles, one triple, one home run and 10 RBIs. The junior third baseman hit for the cycle May 6 versus Penn State, capping it off with a three-run home run in the eighth inning. Coffey is the first Gopher to hit for the cycle since Rob Larue completed the feat versus Hamline in 2002. He finished the Penn State series 9-14 and seven RBIs. The last Gopher to win player of the Week was Austin Athmann (April 25, 2016).

Schulze picks up his first career weekly award after setting a career high with eight strikeouts and seven innings pitched. The freshman was in total command, only allowing one earned run on four hits and not issuing a walk. Schulze is now 4-2 on the season and has 42 strikeouts, the second most on the team.

Rutgers’ Herrmann Named to CoSIDA Academic All-District Team

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Maintaining a 4.0 GPA in graduate school, fifth-year senior Max Herrmann of the Rutgers baseball program earned a spot on the CoSIDA Academic All-District II Team announced Thursday. The award recognizes student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom.

Herrmann earned his undergraduate degree in May 2016 with a 3.8 GPA as a labor studies & employment relations and criminal justice double major. He is now enrolled in the School of Management and Labor Relations and is expected to compete the master’s degree this fall.

A three-time conference all-academic selection to date, Herrmann has made the Dean’s List the last seven semesters and claimed Big Ten Distinguished Scholar status twice so far. He is in Chi Alpha Sigma, the National College Athlete Honor Society, in addition to the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

On the field, Herrmann currently owns a 2.52 ERA with six saves this season. The left-hander has struck out 23 and held hitters to a .229 average against. He is tied for second in school history with 82 appearances and third with 15 saves.

Herrmann is now up for Academic All-America status, which will released later.

This continues the academic excellence for Rutgers baseball, as the program was publicly recognized on Wednesday for a high APR score. It was one of the top 32 marks in Division I baseball.

Michigan State’s Chmielewski and McGuire Earn CoSIDA Accolades

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State baseball players Dan Chmielewski and Zack McGuire were named first-team Academic All-District™ announced on Wednesday, May 4. Both were recognized as a part of NCAA Division I District 5 by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

Chmielewski and McGuire are the first Spartan baseball players to earn CoSIDA Academic All-District honors since Brandon Eckerle in 2011. Overall, they are 14th and 15th honors, and the 13th and 14th players as Ecklerle is the Spartans’ lone multiple honoree.

Sophomore outfielder Chmielewski is a native of Shelby Township, Michigan, and owns a 4.00 GPA in psychology. This season, Chmielewski is currently hitting .295 with 22 RBI, with nine doubles, one triple and four home runs. Chmielewski is currently tied for 10th in the Big Ten Conference with 12 stolen bases.

McGuire, a junior first baseman from Sterling Heights, Michigan, owns a 3.85 GPA as a packaging major. He is currently hitting .265 with 25 RBI, including 11 doubles and shares the team-lead with six home runs. McGuire is tied for 13th in the B1G in both doubles and home runs. Defensively, McGuire is fifth in the league with 340 putouts and tied for eighth in fielding double plays.

District 5 consists of schools in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. The Spartan duo are two of four Big Ten Conference players earning first-team Academic All-District Team honors, joined by Michael Hendrickson of Michigan and Pat McInerney of Illinois. The two MSU players are also two-fifths of the Michigan school represented, along with Hendrickson, Central Michigan’s Daniel Jipping and Eastern Michigan’s Brennan Williams.

First-team Academic All-District™ honorees advance to the CoSIDA Academic All-America® Team ballot, where first-, second- and third-team All-America® honorees will be selected later this month.

For more information about the Academic All-District™ and Academic All-America® Teams program, please visit www.cosida.com.

Rutgers-Minnesota series rescheduled

Minneapolis, Minn. – The Big Ten Conference has determined that the three-game series between the University of Minnesota and Rutgers will be rescheduled to May 16 as a doubleheader.

Originally, the two teams were supposed to play April 7-9 but inclement weather on the east coast cancelled all flights resulting in Rutgers being unable to fly out.

The series will be moved to a two-game series that will be played as a doubleheader at Siebert Field with the first game of the day beginning at 2 p.m. central time. The second game will begin 30-45 minutes following the conclusion of the first game.

The first game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network live while the second game will be broadcast later at 8 p.m. on tape delay.

May 5-7 Weekend Review

 

What. A. Weekend. There were sweeps, rivalry contests and two Sunday walk-offs which lead to a new clubhouse leader atop the Big Ten standings. Here’s the weekend’s headlines and storylines.

Weekend headlines

Huskers power to the top

It wasn’t the prettiest weekend, but Nebraska did what they have consistently done since Big Ten play started: win. Claiming all three games against Rutgers, the Cornhuskers moved to the top of the Big Ten standings with their 12-5-1 conference clip, taking dead aim at the program’s first ever Big Ten championship.

On Friday, the Huskers weathered a late-inning rally by the Scarlet Knights to win, 8-5. Though their Big Ten record stands at 5-10, Rutgers hasn’t been a pushover, taking a road series at Iowa and winning the series opener against Michigan. In the opener against the Huskers, the visitors made the hosts work.

Rutgers grabbed the initial 1-0 in the top of the first, but Nebraska responded with a two-spot in their first at-bat. The 2-1 scored held until Nebraska scored six runs in the middle innings, a four-run fifth inning powering the way. But Rutgers, who out-hit the Huskers, made a last-ditch effort, crossing home three times in the seventh and once in the ninth to close the scoring. The top of the Husker order, Jake Meyers and Angelo Altavilla, both went 3-for-4 with two runs, while three-hole batter Scott Schreiber was the benefactor of their on-base ability, driving in three runs in two hits, including his fifth home run of the season.

The middle innings were again the deciding stretch in the second game of the series as Nebraska cruised to a 9-3 victory. After tallying a run in the first inning for a second consecutive game, the Huskers doubled their lead with a run in third. Darin Erstad’s team seized full control of the game with a five-run fourth. The two clubs traded two-run at-bats in the sixth before Rutgers capped the day’s scoring with a run in the ninth. Rutgers kept Schreiber in the year, on Saturday, but he picked up two more hits and crossed home twice, as did Meyers and Altavilla. Senior right-handed pitcher Derek Burkamper made the early run support stand, allowing two runs over 6.1 innings, scattering two hits. Sophomore center fielder Jawuan Harris lead Rutgers on the afternoon with a 2-for-4 day, driving in two runs and hitting his team-best eighth home run of the year. Second baseman Carmen Sclafani recorded three hits in four at-bats to match the feat of Scarlet Knight teammate Nick Matera.

On the third Sunday of the season, Nebraska entered the day 2-6. The Huskers road to being in the NCAA Tournament picture hasn’t been easy. So it’s fitting the game that led to the Huskers’ perched on top of the Big Ten standings was far from a walk in the park.

Again, Nebraska enjoyed a 1-0 lead after the first inning. But unlike the previous two games, Nebraska looked to take control in their next at-bat, no waiting until the middle innings, scoring three runs in the second. Rutgers halved the deficit with two runs in the third, but Nebraska scored a run in the fifth and another in the sixth to regain their four-run cushion. All seemed in Nebraska’s favor until a rocky eighth.

With junior left-handed pitcher Jake Meyers entering his eighth frame of the game, Rutgers freshman shortstop Kevin Welsh reached base on an error. Back-to-back one-out singles advanced, then scored Welsh, cutting the deficit to 6-3 and bring the tying run to the plate in the form of senior right fielder Tom Marcinczyk. Marcinczyk not only represented the tying run, he became the tying run with a first-pitch, three-run home run to right field, chasing Meyers and resetting the game.

With conference leaders Maryland trailing at Illinois, the opportunity was there for Nebraska to take reign with a win. They did that in dramatic fashion.

Held scoreless in the bottom of the eighth, closer Chad Luensmann kept Rutgers from taking the lead with a scoreless ninth. Hitless in three at-bats, Schreiber singled to center to open the ninth. After a pop-out, Nebraska kept the sacrifice bunt on with pinch-hitting Brison Cronenbold successfully advancing Schreiber to second. With two down and Schr0ieber in scoring position, Altavilla hit a full count pitch into center fielder, scoring Schreiber to send Nebraska to a 7-6 victory, weekend sweep, and moments later first place in the conference.

Illini trip up Terps

Nebraska moved into first as Maryland lost their weekend series at Illinois. While the Illini may be a year away from competing for a Big Ten championship of their own, they’re starting to play the role of spoiler, but are also entering the mix for a spot in the Big Ten Tournament, keeping alive the prospect the 2017 season can bring one title to Champaign.

In the series opener, Maryland overwhelmed Illinois in a 9-4 win. The Terps jumped out in front, 8-0, after three innings and rode the steady arm of Brian Shaffer to victory. With all but one Terrapin recording a hit, and the lone player who did not, Will Watson, drawing three walks, the kids from College Park provided Shaffer with more than enough support. The right-handed pitched eight innings, allowing four runs, two earned, off eight hits. Illini freshman right-hander Ty Weber only lasted 2.1 innings, surrendering more runs, eight, than outs gathered, seven.

But the roles reversed on Saturday. Freshman right-handed pitcher Cyrillo Watson made easy work of the Terps, pitching seven innings of two-run baseball, allowing just one earned run off five hits. It was the Maryland freshman arm who ran into trouble early. The Illini tagged Tyler Blohm for six runs off six hits in 2.2 innings, using a six-run third to carry the day. In the crooked inning, left fielder Bren Spillane recorded a two-out, bases-clearing double to put the game away. After Watson rocked Maryland to sleep, freshman left-hander Ryan Schmitt closed the door with two innings of perfect relief.

Where Maryland had control of game one, and Illinois rolled to a game two win, the series finale was a back-and-forth affair, worthy of causing a change of guard atop the Big Ten table.

On a clear afternoon, with a slight breeze, the conditions were favorable for an offensive day and neither team disappointed. With 10 hits to a side, nine extra-base hits were racked up, including five home runs. A long ball from Illini freshman second baseman Michael Massey put the hosts in front, 1-0 in the second, a lead that grew to 4-0 in the fifth. Runs in the sixth and seventh cut Illinois’ lead in half, bringing the score to 4-2. But immediately after the stretch, senior first baseman Pat McInerney put the Illini back in front by four runs with his 13th home run of the season, a two-run shot.

That would not be it for the home run. In the top of the ninth, after second baseman Nick Dunn drove in two runs with a double off of the right field wall, to again bring Maryland within two runs, Will Watson, who homered in the sixth to account for Maryland’s run, lined his second homer of the game over the right center field wall to knot the game, 6-6.

That still would not be it for the home run. After a leadoff walk, a fly out and strikeout were recorded to bring the game to its final out. Though the scored was tied, the teams were seven minutes over Maryland’s travel curfew. But there would not be a second tie game in this Big Ten season with sophomore Mark Skonieczny homering to left field, walk-off the game and giving the Illini a critical weekend win.

Weekend storylines

A tight battle for the top, tourney spots

With Nebraska sweeping Rutgers and Maryland falling to Illinois, the top of the Big Ten standings look like a six-car pile-up. But it’s equally congested in the battle for eighth place, the final spot in the Big Ten Tournament.

With two weekends to go, the Huskers have the inside track to their first Big Ten championship. If Nebraska wins out, they’re the conference champs. But, even if the Huskers suffer a loss, they still have the edge. If Nebraska goes 5-1, the Huskers would finish the Big Ten slate 17-6-1, only a 5-0 finish by Minnesota would best Nebraska’, the Gophers would finish with a .739 winning percentage, to Nebraska’s .729. But, if Nebraska scuffles twice, the door opens for Indiana, Iowa, Maryland and Michigan, each of those four teams sit within two games of the Huskers.

The Big Ten recognizes co-champions if there is a tie atop the standings. But for tiebreaker purposes heading into the Big Ten Tournament, here’s who hold’s the head-to-head advantages of other top-six teams.

Nebraska: Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota.

Maryland: Michigan.

Minnesota: None.

Michigan: None.

Indiana: Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota.

Iowa: Nebraska.

Tiebreakers may help seed the top half of the conference when they head to Bloomington, but they may be more important in the race for the eighth and final spot in the Big Ten Tournament. Last year, Illinois, Iowa and Penn State all finished 12-12 in conference play, but the Hawkeyes own head-to-head tiebreakers to enter the tournament before making a run to the conference championship game.

In the battle for eight, Michigan State is currently in the field with an 8-10 record. Northwestern also holds an 8-10 conference mark, but Michigan State grabbed two of three games in Evanston, April 28-29. The Spartans are fortuitous they have fared well in Illinois, as they also own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Illini, who they swept March 24-26. With their weekend win over Maryland, Illinois is now within a game of Michigan State in the standings at 7-11. Between the Illini and Wildcats, Illinois has the head-to-head tiebreaker, by way winning the weekend series in Champaign, April 14-16.

Hoosiers continue to roll

Exactly a month ago, Indiana entered the day 15-13-2 on the season, coming off of a second straight loss to in-state rival Purdue. But the last month has seen IU go from missing a second straight NCAA Tournament to a near lock for their four regional appearance in five years.

The Hoosiers continued their hot run over the weekend, stepping out of conference play to welcome Xavier to Bloomington.

Sweeping the Musketeers, Indiana improved to 27-17-2 on the year, winning for the 12th time in 16 games. In dispatching the Big East foe, the Hoosiers showed a bit of everything, pitching, defense and offensive fireworks.

On Friday, Jonathan Stiever shined in a pitcher’s duel. Stiever tossed 7.2 innings of scoreless, five-hit baseball, outdueling XU’s Zac Lowther, who allowed one run off four hits in six innings, striking out 11. The lone blemish on Lowther’s record was a third-inning home run by Indiana second baseman Tony Butler, the deciding hit in IU’s 1-0 victory. The Hoosiers had no trouble finding the offense on Saturday, dialing up 16 hits, seven for extra bases, in a 14-3 romp. Junior right fielder Logan Sowers collected a double and home run in four at-bats. Indiana completed the weekend sweep with an 11-7 win on Sunday, holding off Xavier who scored all of their runs over the final two innings.

Heading into a midweek showdown at top-1o Kentucky, Indiana has the best RPI in the Big Ten, according to Warren Nolan, at No. 24, and show no signs of slowing down as postseason play nears.

Racking up the punchouts

There was a slew of gaudy strikeout totals in dominant pitching performances across the conference this weekend, providing several pitcher of the week candidates. While the conference’s weekly honor went to Michigan junior left-handed pitcher Oliver Jaskie, who struck out 14 Buckeyes in a seven-hit shutout over Ohio State on Friday, he was far from alone in lighting up the K-counter.

In seven innings, Minnesota junior left-handed pitcher Lucas Gilbreath struck out 10 batters, conceding just an unearned run, in the Gophers’ 6-5 win over Penn State on Friday.

Maryland junior right-handed pitcher Brian Shaffer struck out eight over eight innings in Maryland’s 9-4 win over Illinois, Friday.

Nebraska junior right-handed pitcher Jake Hohensee struck out 10 in 6.2 innings, leading Nebraska to a 8-5 win over Rutgers in the series opener.

On Saturday, freshman right-handed pitcher Brett Schulze picked up where his Gopher teammate, Gilbreath, left off. Schulze struck out eight batters in seven inning, surrendering just one run as Minnesota clinched the series with a 17-1 win.

Michigan State junior right-handed pitcher Jake Lowery lead the Spartans to a series-evening, 2-1 victory over Iowa on Saturday. Without issuing a walk, Lowery struck out nine batters, allowing just an unearned run off five hits.

Down I-96 from East Lansing, in Ann Arbor, junior right-handed pitcher Alec Rennard struck out eight in seven innings, giving up just one run off five hits as the Wolverines clinched the weekend win over Ohio State with a 5-2 victory.

The standings

HOME AWAY NEUTRAL LAST 10 STREAK
Nebraska 12-5-1  .694 29-16-1  .641 15-5-0 11-5-1 3-6-0 8-2-0 W5
Maryland 14-7-0  .667 31-15-0  .674 18-1-0 8-12-0 5-2-0 6-4-0 L2
Minnesota 12-6-0  .667 29-15-0  .659 13-10-0 16-5-0 0-0-0 6-4-0 W3
Michigan 11-7-0  .611 35-11-0  .761 20-5-0 9-4-0 6-2-0 6-4-0 L1
Iowa 11-7-0  .611 29-17-0  .630 16-3-0 7-11-0 6-3-0 6-4-0 W1
Indiana 10-7-1  .583 27-17-2  .609 12-7-1 12-8-1 3-2-0 8-2-0 W4
Purdue 10-8-0  .556 26-20-0  .565 10-6-0 16-14-0 0-0-0 8-2-0 L1
Michigan State 8-10-0  .444 24-19-0  .558 8-7-0 12-10-0 4-2-0 4-6-0 L1
Northwestern 8-10-0  .444 19-27-0  .413 9-12-0 10-15-0 0-0-0 5-5-0 W1
Illinois 7-11-0  .389 21-24-0  .467 11-9-0 9-13-0 1-2-0 6-4-0 W2
Ohio State 6-12-0  .333 18-29-0  .383 6-14-0 7-10-0 5-5-0 3-7-0 W1
Rutgers 5-10-0  .333 17-28-0  .378 6-9-0 11-19-0 0-0-0 4-6-0 L3
Penn State 2-16-0  .111 14-32-0  .304 8-11-0 4-19-0 2-2-0 2-8-0 L6

Michigan, Maryland ranked in NCBWA poll

DALLAS – The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association continues its tradition of NCAA Division I polls for the 20th year with its 2017 weekly surveys. Polls will be circulated from Feb. 20-June 30 (weekly through June 5) following the 71st annual NCAA World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, at TD Ameritrade Park.

Oregon State, displaying a 34-4 record, took over the top spot on March 27 and has stayed there for six straight weeks. Louisville stays at No. 2, North Carolina moves up to No. 3, Texas Tech bumps up to No. 4 and Kentucky makes its first top five appearance this season. Nine of the top 10 return from last week’s poll.

The current survey has representation by 11 different conferences (12 for the season) among the 300 baseball-playing schools in the 2017 NCAA Division I ranks. The rankings of 2012 had a NCBWA-poll record 22 different DI conferences and independents rated at least one week while 16 separate circuits had team rankings in ‘16. For more information or to join the NCBWA, please go to www.ncbwa.com.

The 2017 poll voters come from 40 college baseball writers and related media persons from throughout the nation.

 

Rank, School                        Record             Conference                    Previous Rank

1 Oregon State                     34-4                  Pac-12                             1

2 Louisville                             38-6                  ACC                                  2

3 North Carolina                   36-9                  ACC                                  5

4 Texas Tech                         36-12                Big 12                              6

5 Kentucky                             31-14                SEC                                   7

6 TCU                                      31-11                Big 12                              3

7 Clemson                              34-11                ACC                                  4

8 Auburn                                 32-14                SEC                                   9

9 Virginia                                35-11                ACC                                  8

10 Florida                               30-13                SEC                                   11

11 Long Beach State            28-14                Big West                         14

12 LSU                                    29-15                SEC                                   15

13 Mississippi State              30-16                SEC                                   13

14 Arkansas                           34-12                SEC                                   12

15 Stanford                            27-12                Pac-12                             20

16 Cal State Fullerton          26-15                Big West                         17

17 Arizona                              27-15                Pac-12                             10

18 Texas A&M                       32-13                SEC                                   23

19 Michigan                           33-10                Big Ten                            18

20 Wake Forest                    30-13                ACC                                  19

21 Saint John’s                      31-7                  Big East                           16

22 Southern Miss                  34-12                Conference USA            28

23 South Florida                   34-10                American Athletic         26

24 Maryland                          29-13                Big Ten                            24

25 Missouri State                 30-13                Missouri Valley              Received Votes

26 Texas                                 30-16                Big 12                              Received Votes

27 West Virginia                   25-17                Big 12                              25

28 Houston                            28-15                American Athletic         21

29 Loyola Marymount         30-14                West Coast                    Received Votes

30 Florida Atlantic                29-13-1            Conference USA            Received Votes

Choices by Conference:

SEC 7, ACC 5, Big 12 4, Pac-12 3, American Athletic 2, Big Ten 2, Big West 2, Conference USA 2, Big East 1, Missouri Valley 1, West Coast 1.

Dropped Out:

Mercer (22), South Carolina (27), San Diego (29), Louisiana-Lafayette (30).

Also Receiving Votes:

Baylor, BYU, Coastal Carolina, Dallas Baptist, FGCU, Florida State, Georgia Southern, Hawaii, Indiana, Jackson State, Kent State, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, McNeese State, Mercer, Miami (OH), Navy, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Oklahoma, Old Dominion, Ole Miss, Oregon, Sam Houston State, San Diego, San Diego State, South Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee Tech, Tulane, UCF, UIC, UTA, Vanderbilt, Washington, Wright State.

Michigan’s Kerr Earns First Career Big Ten Weekly Award

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — After hitting .700 in a week that featured a series victory over Rutgers, sophomore infielder Jimmy Kerr was named the Big Ten Player of the Week.

The sophomore led Michigan with seven hits through three games, and tied his career-high with three hits in both Saturday’s and Sunday’s wins. Kerr also posted a 1.000 slugging average on the week with a double and a triple, and led the Wolverines with a .750 on-base percentage.

The weekly award is the first of his career.

Illinois’ Massey Earns Second Straight Big Ten Freshman of the Week Award

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — After another huge week, Illinois second baseman Michael Massey has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the second straight time, the conference office announced Monday. Massey hit .526 (10-19) on the week with three three-hit games including two three-hit games in a series win at Minnesota.

Massey is the fifth player to win back-to-back Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors since the award began in 2011. He joins Maryland’s Tyler Blohm (March 13-20, 2017), Nebraska’s Matt Waldron (May 16-24, 2016), Indiana’s Sam Travis (March 26-April 3, 2012) and Indiana’s Dustin DeMuth (March 28-April 4, 2011).

It is Illinois’ third Freshman of the Week award this season, one for pitcher Ty Weber and Massey’s two.

Massey helped Illinois clinch a series win over Minnesota with two three-hit games, including a homer in the series finale, in a Saturday doubleheader sweep of the Gophers. He also had three hits in the Illini’s win Tuesday at Bradley.

Massey is riding a 13-game hitting streak in which he is hitting .439 (25-57) with two homers and 12 RBIs. Massey’s hot streak goes further back than just the last 13 games. His entire month of April has been among the best in the conference.

Iowa’s Gallagher Named B1G Pitcher of the Week

IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa junior Nick Gallagher has been named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week, it was announced Monday by the league office.  The honor is the first of Gallagher’s career.

The Iowa City, Iowa, native earned the distinction after scattering three hits and allowing two runs (one earned) over eight innings in a 4-2 series-opening victory over Penn State on April 28. Gallagher struck out eight of the game’s first 10 batters and finished with a career-high 10 strikeouts without issuing a walk.

Gallagher is the first Hawkeye since 2014 to strike out 10 or more batters in a game.  His eight innings matched a career-long outing.

The victory was Gallagher’s second straight and sixth of the season.  He is 6-1 with a 2.42 ERA with 57 strikeouts over 63 1/3 innings.

Gallagher is the fourth Hawkeye to earn a Big Ten weekly distinction this season.  Mason McCoy and Jake Adams earned Player of the Week honors Feb. 27 and March 6, respectively, while Zach Daniels was the Pitcher of the Week on March 27.

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