As predicted there was a lot of close and exciting games in Bloomington. Here is how the story played out on the week:
The weather was a major issue most days of the tournament and none more so than the opening contests. Major story lines for day one were the late inning pushes by teams to close out with wins. (#3) Minnesota came back to tie then pull ahead in the later innings to take the first game from hometown team (#6) Indiana. (#7) Northwestern used a late 9th inning push to score three runs and grab the victory over (#2) Michigan getting the biggest upset of the tournament. The field was plenty wet and wild by the time (#1) Nebraska and (#8) Purdue played creating an offensive showcase with the Huskers winning 15-9. Due to the delays with weather and extended game times the nightcap was pushed back till day 2.
The second day of the tournament brought about elimination games with (#6) Indiana and (#2) Michigan leading things off. Both teams did not want to go home yet which resulted to, at the time, the longest B1G tournament game in history and ended when the Hoosiers getting a walk off hit in the 13th to continue on. (#4) Maryland and (#5) Iowa would then finish up the scheduled day 1 games by playing a tight one with the Hawkeyes pulling away late. With the loss the Terps would have to turn around and face (#8) Purdue in an elimination game which they won eliminating the Boilermakers. Due to delays and extended games the action would pick back up on day 3.
The Friday games led things off with finally getting to the winner's bracket games with (#7) Northwestern facing (#3) Minnesota first. The Wildcat bats were determined to keep their postseason dreams alive winning a shootout 11-7 over the Gophers. (#5) Iowa would use stellar pitching to beat (#1) Nebraska 2-0 in a game where the Huskers could not find any clutch hitting. In the later elimination half of the day (#3) Minnesota would break (#6) Indiana hearts again by scoring 9 runs in the last three innings knocking the Hoosiers out of the tournament. (#1) Nebraska's time in Bloomington would also come to an end much later in the evening with (#4) Maryland outlasting the Huskers 8-5.
Semi-final Saturday pitted teams from opposite sides of the bracket where the team coming from the loser's bracket would need to win twice to advance to the finals. (#3) Minnesota would start things off in the opening game jumping on (#5) Iowa early winning 9-3 ensuring that the two teams would face later that day. (#4) Maryland followed suit in forcing a second game on their side of the bracket taking one from (#7) Northwestern 9-5. In the evening winner take all game between (#5) Iowa and (#3) Minnesota both teams desperately wanted to get to the finals. The match up broke the barely two day old 'longest game' record also going to 13 innings with the Hawkeyes finally getting the win late in the night 7-5.
Due to the extended game the previous day (#7) Northwestern and (#4) Maryland's game was pushed to early Sunday morning. There the Wildcats almost gave up a 6 run lead to the Terps but prevailed 6-5 meaning they would face (#5) Iowa later that day in the finals. In the final game (#5) Iowa would jump out to an early lead and never looked back cruising to a 13-4 win over (#7) Northwestern. This would get the Hawkeyes their first B1G tournament title and the B1G's auto-bid in the NCAA tournament.
2017 Big Ten Baseball All-Tournament Team
Most Outstanding Player
Chris Whelan, Iowa
P - Ryan Erickson, Iowa
P - Josh Martsching, Iowa
P - Sam Lawrence, Northwestern
P - Cooper Weatherbee, Northwestern
C - Tyler Cropley, Iowa
1B - Toby Hanson, Minnesota
2B - Jake Schleppenbach, Nebraska
3B - Connor Lind, Northwestern
SS - Kevin Smith, Maryland
OF - Chris Whelan, Iowa
OF - Jordan Smith, Minnesota
OF - Joe Hoscheit, Northwestern
DH - Matt Lloyd, Indiana
B1G NCAA Tournament Selections
With the B1G tournament finished all eyes moved to the NCAA college baseball selection committee in which the field of 64 would be announced. Iowa would obviously be in due to the auto-bid but other B1G teams waited to see if their names were called as well. Here are the other B1G teams that will be joining the Hawkeyes representing the B1G in the NCAA tournament:
Chapel Hill regional - North Carolina #2 overall seed
Game 1: No. 3 Michigan (42-15) vs. No. 2 Florida Gulf Coast (42-18) 1 p.m. ESPN3
Game 2: No. 4 Davidson (32-24) vs. No. 1 North Carolina (47-12) 6 p.m. ESPN3
Corvallis regional - Oregon St. #1 overall seed
Game 1: No. 3 Yale (32-16) vs. No. 2 Nebraska (35-20) 4 p.m. ESPN3
Game 2: No. 4 Holy Cross (23-27) vs. No. 1 Oregon State (49-4) 11 p.m. ESPU
Houston regional - Houston
Game 1: No. 3 Texas A&M (36-21) vs. No. 2 Baylor (34-21) 3 p.m. ESPN2
Game 2: No. 4 Iowa (38-20) vs. No. 1 Houston (40-19) 8 p.m. ESPNU
Lexington regional - Kentucky
Game 1: No. 4 Ohio (31-26) vs. No. 1 Kentucky (39-20) noon ESPNU
Game 2: No. 3 NC State (34-23) vs. No. 2 Indiana (33-22) 7 p.m. ESPN3
Winston-Salem regional - Wake Forest
Game 1: No. 3 Maryland (37-21) vs. No. 2 West Virginia (34-24) 2 p.m. ESPN3
Game 2: No. 4 UMBC (23-23) vs. No. 1 Wake Forest (39-18) 7 p.m. ESPN3
All tournament team and regional info courtesy of bigten.org & ncaa.com