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2023 B1G Tournament Preview

#3 Iowa 39-13 (15-8) vs #6 Michigan 26-26 (13-11)

May 23, 10 A.M. Central

Big Ten Network

The Hawkeyes come into the B1G tournament with hopes of a strong performance to solidify their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2017. Iowa has a strong pitching staff often headlined by fireballer Brody Brecht, but keep your eyes open for sophomore Marcus Morgan, who ranked first among starting pitchers in ERA (2.67), hits allowed (16), runs allowed (10), batting average against (.150), and extra base hits allowed (4) in conference play. The Hawkeyes look to avenge their elimination by the Wolverines in the semifinals from a year ago.

Michigan heads to their first B1G tournament under new head coach Tracy Smith and will also be defending their championship from a year ago. The Wolverines rank near the middle of the conference in most major stat categories at the plate and on the mound. The defending champs will likely need strong performances from their pitching staff, specifically from starter Connor O'Halloran (3.43 ERA, 103 K's). Michigan will need to win the B1G championship to make the NCAA tournament.

#2 Indiana 40-16 (16-8) vs #7 Illinois 25-25 (12-12)

May 23, 2 P.M. Central

Big Ten Network

Indiana enters the B1G tournament as the 2 seed after fifth-year head coach Jeff Mercer's best regular season with the Hoosiers. Indiana will hope ace Luke Sinnard (4.48 ERA) can get back on track after a couple of up-and-down starts in the big righty's last two times on the hill. Expect a heavy dose of stinginess by way of relief pitcher Ryan Kraft (2.51 ERA). Catcher Brock Tibbits (.387 BA), SS Phillip Glasser (83 hits), and freshman OF Devin Taylor (16 HR) lead the Big Ten's second-best offense in producing runs. The Hoosiers would like to have a strong performance as they hope to be a 2 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Illinois comes into the B1G tournament for the fourth straight time under longtime head coach Dan Hartleb. It has been a rocky road for Fighting Illini starting pitchers outside of ace Jack Wenninger (4.62 ERA) this season. The offense has not been overly impressive either, but they can do have some sneaky power in the lineup. 1B Drake Westcott (18 HR) and catcher Jacob Schroeder (14 HR) will look to spark the offense as Illinois will also need to win the conference tournament to make the NCAA tournament.

#1 Maryland 37-19 (17-7) vs #8 Michigan State 32-20 (12-12) May 23, 6 P.M. Central

Big Ten Network

Maryland enters the B1G tournament as top dogs for the second straight season. The Terrapins have become an offensive juggernaut in the Big Ten, as they lead the conference in every major offensive statistic. Maryland's offense is led by the NCAA RBI leader, 3B Nick Lorusso (96 RBI); the NCAA runs leader, catcher Luke Shliger (87 runs); and the B1G homerun leader, SS Matt Shaw (23 HR). Maryland has not lost a series since February 24-26 (vs Ole Miss) and looks to stay hot for the NCAA tournament.

Michigan State had to claw their way into the B1G tournament in the final weekend of the regular season, with two wins against Indiana, despite having solid production at the plate and on the mound this season. MSU's offense is led by 6-foot-7 JR 1B Brock Vradenburg (.397 BA, 66 RBI) and by JR lefty Nick Powers (4.28 ERA) on the mound. Like Michigan and Illinois, the Spartans will have to win the Big Ten championship to make their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2012.

#4 Nebraska 31-21-1 (15-9) vs #5 Rutgers 33-21 (14-10)

May 24, 2 P.M.

Big Ten Network

Nebraska is back in the B1G tournament after missing out last season, and they do so while boasting one of the more complete teams in the conference, both at the plate and on the mound. The Husker offense is led by the conference's hits and batting average leader, 3B Max Anderson (93 hits, .412 BA, 21HR), and SS Brice Matthews (.380 BA, 20 HR, 65 RBI). On the mound, Nebraska has a pair of reliable starters in Jace Kaminska (4.36 ERA) and Emmett Olson (4.42 ERA). The Huskers will likely need to win the tourney championship too, but they will still have an outside shot at earning an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament with a strong performance, a poor performance from Rutgers, and some help in other conference tournaments.

Rutgers returns to the B1G tournament with yet another very solid team. The Scarlet Knights are also a very well-rounded squad, and as a team, they have an almost identical statistical output as Nebraska. Ryan Lasko (.332 BA, 11 HR) and Chris Brito (.308 BA, 14 HR) headline the deep Rutger offense. Also like the Huskers, the Scarlet Knights deploy a duo of reliable starters in Christian Cappola (3.60 ERA) and Drew Conover (4.50 ERA). Rutgers finds itself also on the NCAA tournament bubble and can't afford a poor performance, while also needing some help in other conference tournaments.

The Big Ten baseball tournament gets underway Tuesday morning at 10 A.M. Central in a matchup between defending champion Michigan Wolverines and the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Big Ten tournament will conclude with a single-elimination championship game on Sunday afternoon at 2 P.M. Central time. All games will be televised on the Big Ten Network.


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