Wednesday, May 09, 2007

NU-MSU Preview

My colleagues may use this blog to get a cheap laugh. They use it to poke fun at my dashing red hair, my melodic singing voice, my cat-like reflexes and many of my other incredible qualities. Me? I brush off these comments and bring you the content. Now onto the matchups....

Big Ten Tournament Opening Round
#2 NU (43-10, 15-3 Big Ten) vs. #7 MSU (33-25, 7-9 Big Ten)
First Pitch: 4pm

C: Erin Dyer vs. Kara Weigle

Dyer may be the 'Cats hottest hitter heading into the BTT. Fresh off 3 home runs in a doubleheader sweep of #14 Depaul, the sophomore is the reigning Big Ten Player of the Week. Still, as far as body of work, the sophomore in green and white gets the edge. Weigle sports a .356 average and leads the spartans in RBIs (48) total bases (113).

Edge: MSU

1b: Garland Cooper vs. Dayna Feenstra

No information necessary. A more appropriate matchup would be Cooper vs. Albert Pujols or Cooper vs. Ted Williams. Cooper has 14 more HRs, 43 more RBIs and slugs at a clip .359 higher than Feenstra's.

Edge: NU

2b: Nicole Pauly vs. Gina Mondo

Pauly has been perhaps the 'Cats biggest surprise this season. The freshman burst onto the scene in the high pressure spot of hitting behind Williams and Cooper in the lineup. All she did was respond with a .310 average and 11 doubles. She's even a perfect 8 for 8 on the basepaths. Mondo is one of the lightest hitters in the Spartan lineup.

Edge: NU

3b: Darcy Sengewald vs. Caitlin Mahoney

Sengewald is not in the lineup for her offense. Although she has shown the propensity for the clutch hit, the junior is the anchor in the NU infield and saves several runs per season with her glove. Mahoney leads Michigan St. in homeruns (12) and is second in RBIs (47).


SS: Tammy Williams vs. Meghan Darhower

Much like the 1b matchup, this one isn't even close. A glance at Williams' numbers boggles the mind (.438 average, 14 doubles, 13 home runs, 43 RBIs, .747 slg, 14 stolen bases). The sophomore who wasn't even supposed to be a Wildcat is on pace to be one of the finest hitters ever to don the purple and white. Darhower can't hold a candle to Tammy.

Edge: NU

Outfield: Dyer/Logan/Miller vs. T. Nicosia/N. Nicosia/Mercado

Twin sisters Traci Nicosia and Nikki Nicosia are 1st and 2nd on the team in average (.362 and .358, respectively). Traci has more power (15 doubles vs. 2), but Nikki wreaks havoc on the basepaths (21 stolen bases in 25 attempts). Logan often goes unnoticed on the star-studded Wildcat squad. The senior slaps her way onto the basepaths and sets the table for the big boppers behind her. Still, Kelly Dyer and Jessica Miller are two of the weakest hitters in the NU starting lineup. MSU has the depth and wins the matchup.

Edge: MSU

Pitching: Canney/Delaney vs. Turner/Hair/Noel

This is the difference maker in the matchup. NU's staff ERA is more than a point and a half lower than MSU's (1.74 vs. 3.39). Canney worked through her early season inconsistencies and seems to be peaking at the right time. Delaney has pitched like a seasoned veteran since she first stepped into the circle this Spring. The Spartans are 9th in the Big 10 in pitching. Lesley Noel makes the majority of the starts (10 of the 16 conference games) but is only mediocre.

Edge: NU

Overall: NU wins 4-3

Prediction: NU should have little trouble with the Spartans. This could be a trap game as most are looking forward to a potential semifinal matchup with Michigan, but Coach Drohan will have the 'Cats focused on the task at hand.

Final Score: NU wins 8-2.


Guy Benson said...


Ryan said...

Thank you Kyle for actually adding substance to this otherwise worthless blog. There's no better defense of the idiotic insults your "partners" are throwing about. I hope you're enjoying the trip otherwise.