Big Ten Baseball Tournament Preview Release
May 23, 2005
The 25th annual Big Ten Baseball Tournament will run from May 25-28 (Wednesday through Saturday) in Champaign, as the Fighting Illini won the regular-season Conference crown to earn the right to host the event. The top six teams in the final regular-season standings are invited to the Tournament with the winner earning an automatic berth into the NCAA Championship.
2005 Big Ten Tournament On Web
2005 Big Ten Tournament On TV
BIG TEN TOURNAMENT NOTES
From 1981-99, only four Conference squads qualified for Big Ten Tournament play. All tournaments since have included six League teams. First-round byes for the top two teams were instituted in 2002.
The University of Illinois will be the site of the Tournament for just the third time in school history, as the program also hosted the event in 1998 and 1982.
The 2005 Tournament will be played outside of the states of Minnesota and Ohio for the first time in seven seasons, as the Gophers or Buckeyes hosted the event each year from 1999 through 2004.
Illinois has never won the Big Ten Tournament when serving as the host, as the Illini were defeated by Minnesota in the title game in 1998 and suffered two straight losses in 1982.
Illinois is one of only five schools to win the Big Ten Tournament, as the Illini were victorious on three occasions (2000, 1990, 1989). Their last tourney title came in Minneapolis in 2000, as Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Jason Anderson was also tabbed the Most Outstanding Player of the Conference Tournament.
The Illini end a three-year drought with their berth in the 2005 Tournament, as the program made six straight appearances from 1996-2001.
The 2005 Tournament features four of the six teams that played in last year's event in Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State and Purdue.
Purdue is making back-to-back appearances in the Big Ten Tournament for the second time since 2000, as the Boilermakers have advanced to the event in four of the last six seasons and 10 times overall. Purdue's top finish was a second-place showing in 1987.
Iowa returns to the Tournament for the first time since 2002 and just the second time in the last 15 years, as the Hawkeyes first four berths came prior to 1991. Iowa has not won a Big Ten Tournament game since 1990.
Michigan is making its 17th showing in the postseason event and its third-straight appearance for the first time since playing in the first nine events from 1981-1989.
With a berth in 2005, Ohio State has now qualified for each of the last nine Tournaments, the longest current streak of any team and a school record, surpassing the program's eight straight appearances from 1988-95.
Minnesota ranks second among current streaks with eight straight appearances in the Big Ten Tournament, equaling the school record of eight straight berths set from 1981-88.
Michigan is the only other Big Ten program to boast a streak of nine straight tourney bids, as the Wolverines qualified in each of the first nine years of the event from 1981-89.
Either Minnesota or Ohio State has appeared in every Big Ten Tournament with the exception of the 1996 event.
The 2005 field features the top four teams based on Big Ten Tournament all-time appearances, victories, winning percentage and titles in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio State.
Those four schools have combined for 71 total Tournament appearances and 23 titles -- Iowa and Purdue have combined for 16 appearances and no crowns.
Minnesota leads all Big Ten teams in tourney titles (8), appearances (22), wins (45) and winning percentage (.608).
Michigan and Ohio State are tied for second with six Big Ten Tournament crowns a piece and a .597 winning percentage in tourney play, while the Buckeyes rank second in appearances (19) and victories (37).
Four Big Ten teams have won 23 of the 24 Tournament titles in Minnesota (8), Michigan (6), Ohio State (6) and Illinois (3). Indiana is the only other school to win a Tournament, claiming the crown in 1996.
Noting Big Ten Baseball
Leaders at the Plate . . . : With the Big Ten season concluded, Illinois' Dusty Bensko became just the fifth player in school history to lead the Conference in home runs and runs batted in while Michigan State's Troy Krider became the first Spartan since 1988 to top all players in batting average. Bensko boosted the Illini to their first Big Ten Championship since 1998 by ranking first among all League standouts with nine home runs and 40 RBI, as the last Illinois player to lead the way in those categories was Josh Klimek with 12 long balls and 42 RBI in 1996. Bensko joins Klimek as only the second player in Conference annals to drive in 40 or more runs. Krider batted .405 in Big Ten play to lead all players, as the last MSU standout to top the League in batting average was Mike Davidson in 1988 (.440).
. . . and on the Mound: Iowa reliever Tim Gudex became the first Hawkeyes hurler since at least 1954 to lead the Conference in victories and ERA, while Penn State starter Alan Stidfole narrowly edged his twin brother Sean Stidfole to top the Big Ten in strikeouts. Gudex, who also tied for the League lead with six saves, produced a record of 7-1 and an ERA of 1.11 in 19 appearances to lead the way in both categories, as no other Iowa pitcher has accomplished that feat since ERA was first recorded in 1954. His 1.11 ERA is the lowest for any Big Ten hurler since Minnesota's Mike Pavelka produced a 1.08 ERA in 1987, as only two other Hawkeyes have boasted the League's lowest ERA -- Jim Koering in 1967 (0.69) and Bob Schauenberg in 1965 (0.28). The last Iowa hurler to top the Conference in victories was John DeJarld with a 6-1 mark in 1990. Alan Stidfole recorded 54 strikeouts in 51 innings pitched, as teammate Sean ranked second with 49 K's in 53 innings of work. Alan Stidfole becomes just the second Nittany Lion hurler to top the League in strikeouts, as former PSU standout Nate Bump ranked first in K's in 1996 (with 48) and 1998 (74).
Hitting the Books: Six Big Ten baseball student-athletes were named to the 2005 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District teams last week in two different districts. The honored players include Michigan's Kyle Bohm and Matthew Butler and Ohio State's Cody Caughenbaugh in District IV and Illinois' Drew Davidson, Indiana's Ryan Parker and Minnesota's Andy Hunter from District V. All six student-athletes were First Team selections and are now eligible for Academic All-America honors, as their names will be added to the national ballot. To be nominated for Academic All-District honors, a student-athlete must be a starter or key reserve and carry a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher. Team members are selected by a vote of members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) within the district. The 2005 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America team will be announced on June 2.