With a chance to win the Big Ten regular season championship, Indiana was swept by Nebraska, thoroughly outclassed as they managed to score just one run and fell to third place in the conference standings.
The punishment? Instead of starting with Iowa or Michigan State, two teams the Hoosiers know and have handled, they'll get to face Maryland and Mike Shawaryn, one of the best pitchers in the country.
With a mediocre record and an incredibly bad RPI, the Hoosiers have just one path to an NCAA regional and it begins at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday when Kyle Hart steps onto the rubber at TD Ameritrade Park. Ultimately, the club hopes that this is the beginning of a round-trip that will culminate back in Omaha in a few weeks, but it has to start with four or five wins in the Big Ten Tournament and an automatic bid to an NCAA regional.
Names to Know
Carmen Benedetti, Michigan. The Wolverines' renaissance man is most equipped to be the player of the tournament if Michigan can get off to a good start and into the winner's bracket. Hitting .332 with 32 RBIs, Benedetti is one of the most seasoned hitters in the league. Add in that he's 16 appearances on the mound in relief, and you've got perhaps the best, or at least most valuable, all-around player in college baseball.
Scott Schreiber, Nebraska. Schreiber has been on a tear for the Huskers as of late, and all season really. He's htting .320 with 16 home runs and 55 RBIs and was in full form as the tournament drew near, going 2-for-4 with a home run and 3 RBIs in the Huskers' 4-1 win over Indiana on Thursday. But Schreiber tweaked his groin that evening and didn't play the rest of the weekend. It'll be critical to Nebraska's title hopes that he is healthy and productive.
Matt Fielder and co., Minnesota. Matt Fielder is hitting .383 with seven home runs and 36 RBIs for the top-seeded Gophers, but he's just the first name that comes up on the stat sheet. Seven other regular contributors for Minnesota -- Terrin Vavra, Austin Athmann, Alex Boxwell, Dan Moti, Micha Coffey, Connor Schaefbauer, and Toby Hanson -- are all hitting over .300 and together they tell the story of the 2016 regular season champions.
As you assuredly do every year, take a look at the bracket and try to figure out what these people were thinking when they created this format:
Game 1, 10 a.m. ET: (3) Indiana vs. (6) Maryland
Game 2, 2 p.m. ET: (2) Nebraska vs. (7) Michigan State
Game 3, 6 p.m. ET: (1) Minnesota vs. (8) Iowa
Game 4, 10 p.m. ET: (4) Ohio State vs. (5) Michigan
Minnesota 8 - Iowa 4
Nebraska 5 - Michigan State 2
Maryland 1 - Indiana 0
Michigan 6 - Ohio State 1
Player of the Tournament: Carmen Benedetti
Check back with Crimson Quarry for a Q&A with Testudo Times to learn about the Terps and to get analysis, previews, and predictions of all the Big Ten action.