Penn State baseball is in the Big Ten tournament for the first time since 2012.
Ten years is a long time to go without playing in a conference tournament. Although coach Rob Cooper and his team would have preferred not to be swept by Illinois in its last regular-season series, Penn State is glad to be back in the postseason and will begin its journey Wednesday evening at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska.
Here’s how the Big Ten tournament works. If Penn State beats Iowa, it will play the winner of the tournament’s second game– between second-seeded Rutgers and seventh-seeded Purdue– Thursday evening at 6 EST.
If Penn State loses to Iowa, it will play the loser of Purdue-Rutgers Thursday at 10 a.m. EST. The tournament is double-elimination, and its kickoff game- Penn State-Iowa- was initially scheduled to start at 10, but due to rain, it will start at 6 in the evening, with Purdue and Rutgers following.
Its opponent for its long-awaited return Big Ten tournament game will be the Iowa Hawkeyes, who finished the regular season third in the conference with a 17-7 league record.
Iowa recently received national attention for its 30-16 win over Indiana this past Thursday, but ironically, its offense finished just the ninth of 14 teams in the Big Ten in runs scored.
Iowa’s strength has been its pitching staff. Of the 14 Big Ten teams, the Hawkeyes are the only squad that finished the year with a total staff era under 4 (3.57).
Starters Adam Mazur and Ty Langenberg combined to go 13-4 over 25 starts, and Dylan Nedvend, used primarily out of the bullpen, went 6-2 with a 3.53 ERA.
Penn State and Iowa didn’t play in the regular season. First pitch for this game is at 6 p.m. EST.