Big new comes out of the Rosemont, Illinois this morning, they have expanded the Big Ten Baseball tournament from six to eight teams.
This just comes one year before the conference expands to 13 teams (Maryland and Rutgers). So the odds are in our favor for this upcoming year that we will be heading to TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., which is also the home of the College World Series. The Tournament will take place on May 21-25, which will be broadcast on Big Ten Network.
Having eight teams in the tournament that will only leave three teams out for the 2014 season and then will leave five teams out for the 2015 season. The tournament is a traditional double elimination bracket, where the number 1, 4, 5, and 8 seeds are on one side and the 2, 3, 6, and 7 are on the other side of the bracket. The winner receives the automatic NCAA tournament berth and represents the Big Ten the following weekend in the NCAA Regionals.
Click here to view the bracket that the Big Ten has published.
The Boilers had appeared in five consecutive tournaments until the 2013 season snapped that streak. The squad has made eight appearances in the last 10 years and made it 10 times under Coach Doug Schreiber's first 15 seasons as head coach. The Boilers are just 18-30 (.375) all time since 1981 in16 appearances it has made. The squad unfortunately has embarrassed itself four times in the tournament by going two-and-out; however that has only happened once under Coach Schreiber, which was in his 2001 campaign.
The tournament had been a four team tourney from 1981-1999 when it then expanded to a six-team tournament from 2000-2013. Wisconsin is the only current Big Ten School that does not have a baseball program. So out of the remaining 11 teams that have programs, six of them have won the Big Ten Baseball Tournament:
-Ohio State (8)
With this expansion I think it seals the deal for our Boiler squad this spring, I believe you will see our team in Omaha for the tournament come late May.
The team is gearing up and ready to take the field in a week from today in Knoxville, TN. Playing their first game on Friday at noon against Nebraska-Omaha.
Follow me on Twitter @markoftheking25 for more pictures and updates on games throughout the season.