Big Ten Tournament Conclusion
by, 05-27-2012 at 09:04 AM (641 Views)
Championship: Purdue 6, Indiana 5
A nearly-empty stadium in Columbus is not the usual setting for a Purdue-IU matchup. Usually the rivalry brings out the best (or worst) of the schools' respective fans in packed stadiums and arenas. The two teams made up for the lack of fan frenzy with a ninth inning brawl around third base, of all places.
After Field of Twins draft-endorsed catcher Kevin Plawecki's second homer of the tournament and 7th of the season put Purdue up 5-4 in the 8th inning, Indiana tied the game in the bottom of the inning on a sac fly (which came after a blatantly blown third strike call by the umpire). In the top of the ninth, Purdue put men on the corners. With one out, Eric Charles chopped a grounder to third, forcing a rundown. As Indiana's third basemen made the tag he pivoted and threw wildly to third base to try to get the runner advancing from first. The runner scored easily, but Charles, for whatever reason tried to make it all the way to third on the play.
What happened next was either an intentionally violent slide or an example of a runner getting stuck between a head-first and feet-first slide and unintentionally running into the third basemen. The third baseman initially reacted, but stood up and Purdue coach Schrieber got in between the players. Then IU's shortstop charged into the back of the third basemen, knocking him down into Charles. Both benches poured out and Charles eventually threw a punch and was ejected. The melee last for a few minutes, but the game was delayed for over 15 minutes because one of the umpires was injured.
The game resumed in the bottom of the ninth and Field of Twins draft-endorsed pitcher Nick Wittgren struck the first two batters out before coaxing a fly ball to center to end the game.
Plawecki was named tournament MVP.
Purdue will likely host in the CWS, but it will be at Gary's U.S. Steel Yard instead of in West Lafayette due to delayed construction on the new stadium.
Michigan State is the only other team that could make it into the tournament as the Big Ten is a weak conference.
Later in the week, I will wrap up a discussion of those players who could be drafted.