Big Ten Baseball Opens Conference Schedule Friday
March 26, 2009
The Big Ten baseball conference schedule opens this weekend with all 10 teams in action. The first conference weekend will feature two nationally televised games as Illinois hosts Michigan State Friday at 6:05 p.m. CT and Saturday at 3:05 p.m. CT, both on the Big Ten Network. The series finale will be played Sunday at 1:05 p.m. CT.
Also in action, defending Big Ten Champion Michigan heads to Iowa, Indiana welcomes Minnesota, Northwestern hosts Purdue and Ohio State travels east to Penn State.
Several Big Ten teams are ranked in various national polls, including Ohio State, who sits at No. 16 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (CBN) poll, No. 25 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll and No. 28 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) poll. Illinois is No. 25 in the CBN poll and receiving votes in the coaches poll, while Minnesota is also receiving votes from the coaches and is ranked No. 25 by Baseball America. Rounding out the rankings, Michigan is receiving votes from the NCBWA and the coaches.
Big Ten baseball has enjoyed a successful non-conference campaign, beginning with the season-opening Big East/Big Ten Challenge. The Big Ten won the 24-game interconference schedule, 15-9, including perfect 3-0 records from Michigan State and Ohio State.
Other key non-conference wins by Big Ten teams include Illinois taking two out of three games from then-No. 1 LSU in Baton Rouge, March 6-8, Minnesota winning a three-game series vs. then-No. 11 TCU, March 13-16, and Ohio State one-hitting No. 2 Miami in a 7-1 victory on Tuesday night.
This year, Big Ten baseball teams will be battling for the right to head to Columbus, Ohio, for the 2009 Big Ten Baseball Tournament. The event marks the conference’s first neutral-site baseball tournament since 1994, and will be played March 20-23. The Big Ten Network will broadcast the entire tournament from Huntington Park, the home of the Triple-A Columbus Clippers. The top six teams in the Big Ten standings will participate in the double-elimination event, with the tournament’s winner earning the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. For more information on the Big Ten Baseball Tournament, visit Tournament Central by clicking here: http://bigten.cstv.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/big10-09-baseball-tourney-central.html