U of I Preps To Host NCAA Regional
The Illini baseball team takes its 26-game winning streak to Minnesota today for the Big Ten tournament. Here in Champaign-Urbana, campus athletics staff already have their eyes set on next weekend.
The U of I submitted its first-ever bid to host an NCAA regional at Illinois Field. They’ll know Sunday whether it was accepted.
Event Coordinator Zach Acton says it’s “a lock” given the team’s record-setting 45-6-1 record, including the current winning streak.
The bid was submitted last Friday, but Acton says talks for hosting the four-team, double-elimination tournament started much earlier.
“About mid-season there, you start to realize – ok, we started that winning streak – and I think really after we went to Ohio State and kinda swept them, that was pretty much what we felt was a lock to get getting these regionals, we believe," he said. "That’s when we really started to get scramble, and get everything together to submit the bid.”
The bid cost $50-thousand, plus the cost of renting temporary seating down the foul lines. If Illinois is chosen as one of the 16 regional sites, the campus will host games next Friday through Sunday, and Monday if necessary.
Meanwhile, the Illini are the No.1 seed heading into their first game of the Big Ten Tournament, taking on Nebraska at Target Field in Minneapolis. First pitch is at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The game will be carried on the Big Ten Network.