There’s a reason people think baseball players are superstitious and quirky. Guys like Nebraska pitcher Kyle Kubat perpetuate that notion. The Nebraska southpaw put on a show, both inside and outside the lines, in the Huskers’ opening game of the Big Ten tourney Wednesday.
The 2013 Big Ten Baseball Tournament got underway Wednesday at Target Field. No. 4 Minnesota carded a 3-2 walk-off victory over No. 5 Illinois, and No. 3 Nebraska routed No. 6 Michigan, 11-2.
Baseball players don’t forget when an opponent robs them of a potential base hit. And nothing makes them happier than returning the favor. The opportunity doesn’t always present itself, but it did in the first game of the Big Ten tournament Wednesday. Three innings after Illinois’ Thomas Lindauer made a diving grab to retire Minnesota’s Connor Schaefbauer (video above), the latter got revenge in the eighth inning. Both catches were nice, but which was better?
Nebraska product and longtime Minnesota baseball assistant Todd Oakes was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia nearly a year ago. But that won’t keep him from doing what he loves most: coaching baseball. Oakes, in his 15th season with the Gophers, continues to serve as Minnesota’s pitching coach. The uninformed fan wouldn’t even know about Oakes’ illness – if it weren’t for the surgical mask around his face.
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John Shoop long has admired Purdue’s offensive tradition from afar. Now, he gets a chance to add to that tradition by pushing the buttons on the Boilermakers’ attack under first-year coach Darrell Hazell.
First-year coach Darrell Hazell has his work cut out for him, playing arguably the toughest schedule in the Big Ten. There is no more challenging non-conference schedule in the conference, with a trip to Big East co-champ Cincinnati and home games vs. Notre Dame (BCS title game) and Northern Illinois (Orange Bowl). Getting one Big Ten road victory may be a difficult proposition, too. Bottom line: A 1-6 start isn’t out of the question.