May 18, 2011
Northwestern (19-27, 9-11 Big Ten) at Michigan State (32-18, 13-8 Big Ten)
Thursday, May 19, 2011; 2:05 p.m.
Friday, May 20, 2011; 2:05 p.m.
Saturday, May 21, 2011; 12:05 p.m.
McLane Baseball Stadium (2,500)
East Lansing, Mich.
TV: Big Ten Network (Matt Shepard and Scott Pose) (Saturday only)
In-game Twitter updates: @NU_SportsLIVE
Northwestern Game Notes (PDF)
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern concludes it 2011 regular season as it travels to Michigan State for a three-game series with a spot in next week's Big Ten tournament still up for grabs. The series gets underway at 2:05 p.m. Central time Thursday.
Friday's contest also set for a 2:05 p.m. first pitch, while Saturday's game is being televised live by Big Ten Network beginning at noon.
At 9-11 in Big Ten play, the Wildcats enter the last weekend of the regular season in eighth place in the conference standings, but just a game and a half out of fourth place. The top six teams in the regular-season standings earn a bid to next week's Big Ten tournament in Columbus, Ohio.
Northwestern gets in with two wins if two of the following things happen...
Penn State loses at least twice
Indiana/Ohio State drop all three games
Northwestern gets in with three wins if two of the following things happen...
Penn State loses at least once
Purdue/Indiana/Ohio State lose at least twice
Minnesota/Illinois drop all three games
NU enters the series as winners of a season-best four straight games, including winning both games against Michigan in Evanston last weekend. The Wildcats defeated the Wolverines 7-1 on Friday and 11-6 on Saturday before having Sunday's contest wiped out due to rain.
was honored as the Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday after leading the Wildcats to four wins last week. He hit safely in all four games, including three multi-hit games, posting a .488 batting average. In the team's two wins over Michigan, he went a combined 6-for-8 at the plate including hitting a grand slam in Friday's 7-1 win. In Sunday's 11-6 victory, he worked the final 3 2/3 innings on the mound without allowing an earned run to pick up his fifth save of the season.
The Wildcats and the Spartans wrapped up their regular season against one another in Evanston a year ago. After the teams split the first two games, Paul Snieder's walk-off three-run homer gave NU an 8-6 win and a berth in the Big Ten tourney, while knocking out MSU.
Scouting Michigan State
The Spartans (32-18, 13-8 Big Ten) are coming off a 20-3 win over Notre Dame on Tuesday after dropping three games at Indiana last weekend. Michigan State enters the final weekend of Big Ten play in first place, one game in front of both Minnesota and Illinois. MSU has three of the top four Big Ten leaders in batting average in Jeff Holm (.390, 1st), Brandon Eckerle (.387, 2nd) and Torsten Boss (.366, 4th). Holm also paces the league with 59 RBI. On the mound, Kurt Wunderlich ranks first in the Big Ten with eight wins. Jake Boss Jr. is 89-68 in three seasons as head coach of the Spartans.
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