Image by Erik Holladay (Special to the Kalamazoo Gazette)
Already looking toward next year's recruiting class, Michigan has gotten it's first publically known commit from the class of 2011 in Gull Lake's Zach Fish.
Fish was a Gazette first-team all-area infielder as a sophomore, when he hit .423 with six homers, 31 RBIs and an .880 slugging percentage for the Maroon Giants. He posted a 5-0 pitching record.
As a Blue Devil, he's picked up where he left off. Fish is hitting at a .470 clip with a .909 slugging percentage, 35 runs, 33 RBIs, six doubles and four triples. He's 16-for-17 in stolen bases, and has a 1-0 pitching record and 0.66 ERA.
He's a short stop for Gull Lake, but he's also played outfield for his summer league teams. I wouldn't be surprised if that's where he was slated. The interesting other tidbit:
The junior recently accepted a significant scholarship offer from the University of Michigan, with whom he plans to sign in November.
"It's a lot of money," Fish said without revealing the specifics. "They have an All-American right now, his name is Ryan LaMarre, and he has the highest in-state offer. They said they'd match that in-state offer. For an in-state offer, it just shows a lot of respect coach (U-M's Rich Maloney) has and it's very, very, very, very nice."
North Carolina, Clemson, Louisville, Oregon, Mississippi and Tennessee were other heavy hitters with a close eye on Fish, a 6-foot, 185-pound utility player with good foot speed and a cannon-like arm.
Judging by his numbers, Fish has a pretty solid chance of being drafted, especially if he continues at that pace in his senior year. It's great to see Michigan lock down a local talent over the likes of any of those other power teams also recruiting Fish.
Western Michigan (10-32)
|Tuesday 3:05pm ET, Kalamazoo, MI|
|Matt Miller (1-2, 5.98 ERA)||vs||Eric Heckaman (0-7, 8.65ERA)|
|Notes: 73-64 All Time (WMU used to be really good back in the 50s), |
Last year's home-and-home was a 2-0 Michigan sweep by score
20-1 and 6-0.
Michigan travels to coach Rich Maloney's old stomping ground today to face off with the Western Michigan Broncos. The Broncos are one of the worst teams in D1 baseball, #267 in Boyd's Pseudo-RPI. Despite that, they do have a mid-week win over Michigan State and a series win over a decent Miami (NTM) team.
Eric Heckaman gets the start for the Broncos for the 10th time this season, which leads the team. In his 51 innings pitched, the righty has given up 75 hits for an opponent batting average of .335. He has just 31 strikeouts but also has 20 walks. He hasn't given up a ton of extra base hits (13 doubles and 5 homers), and he also seems a bit wild with 7 HBP and 4 wild pitches.
At the plate, WMU is lead by Chris Lewis. Lewis leads the team in batting average (.370), on base percentage (.440), slugging percentage (.543), and RBI (34). Ryan McMillan is the only other major threat in the lineup batting .341 and slugging .541. His 24 RBI is second only to Lewis.
After that, there is a lot of meh. Michigan should be able to handle these guys easily, getting an easy win and probably dropping 3 spots in the RPI while their at it. WMU is just that bad.
Weather looks to be perfect with winds blowing straight out to right center at 15 to 20 mph.
Polls and Bubble Watch after the jump:
Just a little bit of change since last week, but ESPN did tweak their ratings a bit. Action since last rankings:
Now that Iowa has jumped into the fray, Penn State and Purdue are the only Big Ten (plus Notre Dame) programs that don't have any commitments.
|Big Ten Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# of Commits||Rivals 250||Scout Average||ESPN 150|
I'll only make charts for the teams that currently have commits. Rivals 250 means that a given prospect is on the Rivals 250 to Watch, and ESPN 150 means that a prospect is on the Watch List for the ESPNU 150. Scout ratings are on the 5-star scale.
|#1 Ohio State - 10 Commits|
ESPN now deems DE Chase Farris worthy of being on the ESPN150 watch list.
|#2 Notre Dame - 9 Commits|
Nothing new for the Irish.
|#3 Michigan - 4 Commits|
Brennen Beyer goes back on the ESPN150 watchlist.
|#4 Michigan State - 5 Commits|
|#5 Indiana - 8 Commits|
Teams are going to start passing the Hoosiers once they get more commits.
|#6 Minnesota - 2 Commits|
ESPN finally acknowledges that Calvin Phillips isn't committed to the Gophers (which he hasn't been for at least a couple months now).
|#7 Wisconsin - 2 Commits|
No change for Wisconsin.
|#8 Northwestern - 2 Commits|
Both of NU's commits are unranked to the services.
|#8 Illinois - 2 Commits|
Still just two for the Illini.
|#10 Iowa - 3 Commits|
Iowa picks up a decent offensive lineman. They're right on the heels of Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Michigan beat Ohio State on Friday and Sunday to secure one of the more exciting series wins in Ann Arbor in quite some times. This series saw surprises abound: a first round draft pick get scratched from the starting lineup with an injury, nearly every pitcher in this series pitched to or beyond their potential, great defense, and most importantly, the good guys coming out on top.
For full recap, follow the jump:
Apologies for the lack of updates over the weekend, the general festivities of graduation got in the way (which also resulted in my not making it to yesterday's game... grumble grumble). An update on the first couple rounds of the CCLA conference tournament, and a brief preview of the final this afternoon (2PM at Saline High School ).
Round 1 Recap
After Eastern Michigan was disqualified from the conference tournament, Central Michigan stepped in to fill their spot against Miami (Not That Miami) on Friday. The Chippewas were outmatched, however, falling to the South Division's #2 seed 18-6. I wonder how Eastern would have fared against the RedHawks, considering they lost to Miami on the road in the middle of the season. Regardless, Miami advanced to face Michigan in the semifinals.
On the other side of the bracket, Michigan State showed that they're still interested in making the national tournament by pasting Pittsburgh 15-6. It was the Spartans' first win since April 10, and helped them inch closer to making the MCLA finals.
Miami (Not That Miami)
In their first taste of the conference tournament, Michigan got off to a fast start. They led 7-0 after the first quarter, but the offense became stagnant through the second and third, with the teams matching output at five goals each. Michigan came alive in the final frame, however, scoring 11 goals and holding Miami scoreless to reach the 23-5 final margin.
The Wolverines dominated statistically, nearly doubling up Miami in shots and groundballs, winning more than 75% of faceoffs, and riding the RedHawks to an abysmal 42% on clears. Freshman Thomas Paras scored four goals and four assists, while Trevor Yealy, a leading contender for MCLA Player of the Year honors (and recently-named team MVP) put four in the back of the net himself. Junior defenseman Harry Freid notched the first goal of his Michigan career in the fourth quarter.
David Reinhard (18/25) and Edward Ernst (6/6) dominated on faceoffs, and both Mark Stone (who got the start and allowed one goal) and Andrew Fowler (who played the second half and allowed four goals) played in the cage for Michigan.
The Spartans took down the South's #1 seed, Buffalo, 12-9 yesterday. That victory sets up a rematch of last week's Great Lakes Lacrosse Classic in the CCLA Tournament final, as Michigan looks to capture their fourth consecutive conference crown, and Michigan State looks to upset big brother.
The Spartans may also be looking to seal their place in the MCLA Tournament, as their slide at the end of the regular season put their at-large bid in question. I had them pegged as one of the last two teams in the field coming into the weekend. A win over Michigan would lock up an automatic qualifier (while not keeping MIchigan out of the tournament), but I think the two games on Friday and Saturday may be enough to seal their spot in the tournament. I haven't had a chance to give the tournaments of the other conferences a close look yet, but I think Michigan State is probably in, win or lose. I'll try to have a brief Bracketology segment in tomorrow's weekend recap post.
Since these teams just played last week, I won't preview the Spartans once again, but check out my preview of Michigan State (including an interview with their coach, Duane Hicks), and the recap of last Saturday's game.
It's everybody's favorite non-pollutionary, anti-institutionary, pro-confectionary conference conundrum...
I've got a real good question for you:
If money is the driving force behind Big Ten expansion, and academics are the official sticking point, and the Big Ten Network makes this conference so attractive that almost any team would be in for joining, who is really a potential expansion candidate now?
This Has All Been Chewed Before
Gum chewing's fine when it's once in a while
It stops you from smoking and brightens your smile
But it's repulsive, revolting, and wrong
Chewing and chewing all day long
I realize I'm not exactly the first person to start talking about Big Ten Expansion. But this isn't just any old stick of gum: this gum has an entire meal in it. You probably won't learn anything new here, but you'll get some information to back up what we already know.
This diary is a look at current FBS (formerly Division I-A) teams that might be considered for Big Ten Expansion, and others that might fit the academic profile, even if there's no way they would join the Big Ten.
When expansion to 12 or 14 teams was the modus operandi, this blog reviewed the leading candidates. However, with even 24 teams having been mentioned by NCAA people (by which I mean "Just Tom Osborne"), the field has grown.
The question: are there that many schools out there that fit the conference's academic profile, or at least close enough the Big Ten can continue to claim itself the most academic FBS conference?
In reality, there is a clear cutoff: does the school match the criteria to join the American Association of Universities?* and the Big Ten's own little version of that, the CIC. There are currently 63 members, but I would imagine a Big Ten addition not already part of the AAU would be able to join, if it matches the academic criteria. Therefore, the lower bound of AAU membership is the functional lower bound of Big Ten expansion consideration.
To find out who has a golden ticket, follow me, overjoyed, enraptured, entranced. Are we ready? Yes, good. In we go.
* If not, MaizeAndBlueWahoo is going to neg me.