Big Ten Baseball Tournament Expands to Eight-Team Field
Feb. 7, 2014
ROSEMONT, Ill. - The conference office announced today that the Big Ten Baseball Tournament will feature an eight-team field for the first time in conference history, beginning with the 2014 event. The 2014 Big Ten Baseball Tournament will be held May 21-25 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., home of the College World Series.
The tournament's double-elimination format will culminate with a single championship game on Sunday, with the winner earning the tournament title and the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Championship. All eight teams will begin play in one of two brackets, with the No. 1, No. 4, No. 5 and No. 8 seeds appearing in one bracket and the No. 2, No. 3, No. 6 and No. 7 seeds appearing in the other bracket.
The tournament begins with four contests on Wednesday and Thursday and two games slated for Friday. Saturday will feature the winners of each bracket facing the remaining one-loss team from the opposite bracket in the semifinals. As many as four games are scheduled for Saturday, with the opportunity for two if necessary games to be played to determine Sunday's championship game participants.
The full 2014 Big Ten Tournament bracket is linked above. Game times and television information will be available at a later date.
The Big Ten Baseball Tournament has been played annually since 1981, with a four-team field through 1999 and a six-team event from 2000-2013. Six different schools have won the Big Ten Baseball Tournament, with Minnesota leading all conference programs with nine titles. Michigan and Ohio State have each won eight conference tournaments, followed by Illinois with four tournament crowns, Indiana with three and Purdue with one.
The Illini are 26-31 in 19 all-time appearances in the Big Ten Tournament, with their last title coming in 2011. Head coach Dan Hartleb has led Illinois to the Big Ten Tournament in six of his first eight seasons.
Opening day of the 2014 Big Ten baseball season is Friday, Feb. 14, with all 11 teams beginning the new campaign. Illinois will begin the year in Atlanta, Ga., for a three-game series against Georgia State from Feb. 14-16.