Big 10 Baseball Tournament Staying In Omaha


The University of Iowa baseball team has a good shot at playing at least two games in Omaha this season, as the Big 10 baseball tournament will be played at the site of the College World Series again this year and in future years.

TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. hosts the NCAA Division I College World Series on an annual basis, and while getting to the site to play those games is the ultimate goal for the Hawkeyes, Iowa also hopes to be one of the eight Big 10 teams who will get a “practice run” in the conference tournament for many years to come.

A press release from the Big 10 earlier today announced that the venue and the conference have agreed to extend the terms of the current deal to include the seasons from 2019-22, adding to an already-existing agreement to play the tournament there this year and in 2018.

Playing in college baseball’s most iconic venue has meant great returns for the Big 10. Playing the Big 10 tournament there for the first time in 2014 broke multiple attendance records, and improved performance from the conference’s schools will only mean further attendance boosts. The 2015 season saw a record five teams from the conference selected for NCAA regionals.

Iowa is 1-2 in Big 10 tournament games played at TD Ameritrade, including a 5-2 loss to Indiana, a 2-1 victory over Minnesota and a 7-1 loss to Michigan in 2014.

The Big 10 baseball tournament has been a constantly evolving event. In its first incarnation which ran from 1981 through 1999, the tournament was hosted by conference members on a rotating basis and only included the top four teams in the regular season conference standings.

At the turn of the century, the field was expanded to six teams and the top seed became the host for the tournament. That situation existed through 2013, when the field was expanded to eight teams, a double-elimination format was adopted and Omaha played host for the first time.

Last season the Big 10 tournament was played at Target Field, the home of Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins, in which the Hawkeyes again lasted three games. The location of the 2017 tournament is yet to be announced.

Iowa has never won the Big 10 baseball tournament, but did finish as the runner-up in 1983 and 2010. The Hawkeyes have a record of 9-20 in 10 Big 10 baseball tournament appearances.

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Hopefully a return to TD Ameritrade in 2016, 2018 and beyond will net better results for Iowa, including a first-ever then multiple Big 10 tournament titles.