This week’s 10 Spot is a look back on the top 10 moments of the first half of the season around Big Ten baseball. From the continued run of facility enhancement, pitching duels, home run heroics and honoring the spirit of two courageous men, here’s the best of the first eight weeks.
Fred Hill Training Complex opens
Three weeks before the first pitch of the season was thrown, a milestone moment occurred. On Jan. 31, a ribbon ceremony was held to formally introduce the new, and much-needed, indoor home for Rutgers baseball and softball, the Fred Hill Training Complex. The state-of-the-art facility features a fully turfed indoor diamond, over an indoor space big enough to feature six drop down batting tunnels and pitching mounds. The Fred Hill Training Complex is the first new athletic facility on Rutgers’ campus in a generation and allows the diamond teams to escape the gymnasium’s cramped conditions of the Rutgers Athletic Center.
Glowicki closes the door in Irvine
Torrential rains and once-a-decade flooding in southern California postponed Minnesota’s season opener at UC-Irvine a day. When Minnesota was able to take the field on Feb. 18, in hopes of reaching a second consecutive regional, the Gophers unleashed a weapon. Looking to close out a 9-8 win, senior right-handed pitcher Brian Glowicki was called upon to shut down the heart of the Anteater order which featured DH Keston Hiura, a potential top-10 overall draft pick. Glowicki handled the task with ease. Two strikeouts, including one on a fastball by Hiura, and a pop up closed the victory. It was the first of already 11 saves for Glowicki, who has a .52 ERA in 17.1 innings.
Ohio State beats Oregon State
At 25-1, Oregon State is the consensus #1 team in the country. The Beavers have won 20 in a roll to take a solid perch atop the polls. But the Beavers aren’t invincible, as the Buckeyes of Ohio State know. On the second day of the Big Ten – Pac-12 Baseball Challenge, Ohio State defeated Oregon State, 6-1. Junior right-handed pitcher Yianni Pavlopoulos pitched six innings of shutout baseball with sophomore third baseman Brady Cherry picking up a two-run home run to power the Buckeyes to victory.
Jaskie vs. Canning
On March 3, in Michigan’s first game of the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic, Wolverine junior left-handed pitcher Oliver Jaskie went toe-to-toe against UCLA’s Griffin Canning, a potential first-round draft pick, producing a top notch pitching duel. Over six innings, Jaskie held the Bruins to three hits, allowing no runs, while striking out six batters against four walks. Canning equally stymied Michigan, holding the Wolverines to three hits in eight innings, striking out 12 batters while walking three. UCLA won, 1-0, in the bottom of the ninth on a throwing error.
Nebraska blanks Arizona, jump starts seasons
On March 4, a 15-5 loss to Arkansas dropped Nebraska to 2-6. A year after reaching the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years, the Huskers looked dead in the water with a date against last year’s national runners-up, Arizona, awaiting. Behind junior left-handed pitcher Jake Meyers, Nebraska blanked the Wildcats, 1-0. In the 20 games since the lost to Arkansas, Nebraska is 15-4-1.
Heller wins #800
Iowa’s 15-7 win over Lehigh, on March 12, gave Hawkeye head coach Rick Heller his 800th career win. In his 30th season as a head coach, Heller has guided four programs to the NCAA Tournament: Iowa, Indiana State, Northern Iowa and Upper Iowa. Iowa is 119-76 under Heller, who’s in his fourth season leading the Hawkeyes..
Troop twirls a gem, hits a homer
Michigan State redshirt-sophomore Alex Troop showed why he is one of the country’s best two-way players in two games against South Carolina. On the road, against the top-10 Gamecocks, Troop, a left-handed pitcher, tossed a three-hitter, allowing three runs, two earned, in receiving a tough luck loss, as Michigan State fell 3-2. The next day, as MSU’s DH, Troop hit a home run off USC’s Wil Crowe, a projected first-round pick.
Weber’s near no-no
A day after Troop’s strong outing in Columbia, S.C, Illinois freshman left-hander Ty Weber cooked up a quality starter of his own. In Conway, S.C., against the reigning national champions, Coastal Carolina, Weber carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning, losing it just six outs from history. Unfortunately the Illini lost 3-2, on back-to-back home runs, but in the no decision Weber was special. The southpaw allowed one run off one hit in 7.2 innings, walking four with six punchouts.
In an eight-day span, five Big Ten players hit three home runs in a game. Yes, three homer runs. Yes, five different players. Starting with Iowa’s Jake Adams and Ohio State’s Noah McGowan on March 19, respectively at Kansas State and Xavier, the trifecta continued the following weekend, starting on March 24 with Indiana’s Matt Lloyd in game one of a doubleheader against Northwestern, before Rutgers Jawuan Harris matched the feat the next day at USC-Upstate. And one week after Adams and McGowan’s three round-trippers, Michigan State’s Brandon Hughes did it at Illinois.
Zach Farmer Memorial Game
On March 25, in the first game of a doubleheader against Minnesota, Ohio State played the Zach Farmer Memorial Game. In August 2015, Farmer, a would-be junior left-handed pitcher, passed away after a fight with acute myeloid leukemia. It was the same battle fought by longtime Minnesota pitching coach Todd Oakes, who passed away last May. The game was a reminder that nobody fights alone, and continued to bring awareness to Be the Match, the national bone marrow donor program.
Today we play for our Coach and our brother. pic.twitter.com/PJCW6ipStw
— Minnesota Baseball (@GopherBaseball) March 25, 2017