The second week of Big Ten play is here, with Maryland, Ohio State, Purdue joining their peers in a race for the conference crown.
Many believe pitching and defense wins championships, but what can disrupt pitching an defense? A threat on the bases. This week we highlight each clubs leader(s) in stolen bases as the calendar turns to April and the race for the postseason begins in earnest.
#1 Indiana (17-5, 1-1) Last Week: 1
Soph. OF Matt Gorski– For the second season in a row Gorski is IU’s top threat on the bases with eight steals in nine attempts. Last year, as Indiana’s first baseman, Gorski paced the club with 15 swipes, only being caught three times.
#2 Illinois (16-5, 3-0), LW: 3
Jr. 1B Bren Spillane– This season it’s Spillane’s turn to show surprising speed from a first baseman. While the junior’s Big Ten-leading 11 home runs have grabbed national headlines, Spillane is 12-for-16 in stolen base attempts, standing second in the conference in steals.
#3 Ohio State (17-7, 0-0) LW: 2
Soph. OF Dominic Canzone– A year after stealing 13 bases in 15 attempts, Canzone is right on pace with six steals in seven attempts. A team powered by extra base hits, Canzone is one of only three Buckeyes with at least three steals.
#4 Minnesota (16-10, 2-1) LW: 4
Jr. OF Ben Mezzenga– Minnesota has the Big Ten’s top average at .299, and have drawn the most walks, but are squarely in the middle in steals with 24. Mezzenga is responded for one-fourth of them, with six in eight attempts.
#5 Michigan (13-11, 3-0) LW: 6
Soph. OF Christian Bullock– Michigan is again a top-three club in terms of stolen bases, even though the team returned only three starters. Filling one of the outfield vacancies, Bullock leads the club with 10 steals in 12 tries and sports a team-leading .324 average.
#6 Iowa (14-8, 1-1) LW: 7
Soph. INF Lorenzo Elion– Iowa stands next-to-last in the Big Ten with 16 stolen bases. But no team has more players with stolen bases than Iowa’s 12. Elion leads the Hawkeye dozen with three in four attempts, as nine players have one stolen base and two with two.
#7 Rutgers (13-9, 2-1) LW: 5
Jr. OF Jawuan Harris– Stolen bases are nothing new to Harris, as he again leads the Scarlet Knights. Suspension has limit the outfielder to 13 games, but he has eight steals in nine tries, running his career total to 68 in 84 attempts.
#8 Nebraska (13-12, 1-2) LW: 8
Jr. INF Angelo Altavilla Sr. INF/OF Zac Repinski– The Huskers round up the rear of the Big Ten with only 13 stolen bases. On a positive, the Huskers have been thrown out a Big Ten-low three times. Altavilla and Repinski’s 3-for-3 efforts lead the team.
#9 Maryland (12-13, 0-0) LW: 10
Sr. OF Zach Jancarski– A balanced attack has five Terrapins with at least four stolen bases through the teams first 25 games. Jancarski leads the pack with six against one caught stealing.
#10 Purdue (11-10, 0-0) LW: 12
Jr. C Nick Dalesandro– The tools which has Dalesandro drawing the attention of professionals includes his speed, evident by his prowess on the bases. As he has thrown out 11 runners in 23 attempts, on the bases himself the backstop has stolen eight bags in nine tries.
#11 Penn State (7-12, 1-1) LW: 11
Soph. OF Mason Nadeau– Nadeau leads a group of seven Nittany Lions who have recorded a stolen base this season. Although he only has 10 hits on his second season in State College, Nadeau has recorded six steals without being thrown out.
#12 Northwestern (7-12, 0-3) LW: 9
Soph. 2B Alex Erro– Erro is emerging as a player who can do it all for Spencer Allen, adding a stolen base element to his sophomore season. Erro leads a strong Wildcats presence on the bases with 11-for-12 showing in steals, as the WIldcats average 2.5 steals a game.
#13 Michigan State (6-17, 0-3) LW: 13
Soph. OF Bryce Kelley– It’s been a tough go in 2018 for the Spartans, but the team’s ability on the bases cannot bear blame. MSU leads the Big Ten with 56 steals in 66 attempts, led by Kelley’s 17 steals in 20 attempts. The Big Ten leader is emerging as one of the country’s best, one steal behind the nation’s leader, after nabbing 13 bags a year ago.