Big Ten baseball has seen a rise in competitiveness in recent years. On Monday afternoon that rise paid off with a conference record five teams earning bids to the 2015 NCAA baseball tournament.
Regular season conference champion Illinois was named as one of the 16 top seeds in the overall tournament and will host a regional because of it. The Illini finished the regular season with just one loss in Big Ten play and a 47-8-1 overall record. Illinois will be the No. 1 seed in the Champaign regional, hosting fourth seeded Ohio. The winner will take on the winner of third-seeded Wright State and second-seeded Notre Dame.
Iowa, which was second in the Big Ten regular season, earned a No. 2 seed and will face third-seeded Oregon at 1 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN3. The winner will advance to take on either top-seeded Missouri State or fourth-seeded Canisius in the Springfield regional. The Hawkeyes are making their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 1990.
One of the biggest signs of respect for the Big Ten came as Indiana drew the No. 3 seed in the Nashville regional. They will make a third consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament despite a sixth place finish in the Big Ten (12-10) and just a 34-21 overall record.
The Hoosiers open tournament action against second-seeded Radford at 3 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN3. The winner will face top-seeded Vanderbilt or fourth-seeded Lipscomb.
Big Ten newcomer Maryland is the No. 3 seed in the Los Angeles regional and will take on second-seeded Ole Miss at 7 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN3. UCLA is the top seed, and will host CSU Bakersfield. The Terrapins return to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in program history and for the second consecutive season. The Terrapins are coming off a Super Regional appearance in 2014.
Maryland finished this regular season third in the Big Ten standings (14-10) and were 39-21 overall on the year.
Michigan earned the Big Ten’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament after winning the Big Ten Tournament Championship. The Wolverines drew the No. 3 seed in the Fullerton Regional, and will face second-seeded Bradley at 2 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN3. The winner will advance to face either top-seeded Louisville or fourth-seeded Morehead State. Michigan enters its 22nd NCAA Championship and first appearance since 2008.
Each of the 16 regionals features four teams, playing a double-elimination format. The regionals are scheduled to be conducted from Friday, May 29, to Monday, June 1 (if necessary). Selection of the eight super regional hosts will be announced at approximately 11 p.m. ET June 1.