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Iowa, Ohio State and Michigan State Play Sunday for the Big Ten Baseball Title

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Mike Jaixen

After two rain-shortened days in Omaha at the Big Ten baseball tournament, the sun broke out and the games went off without any delays.  In the morning matinee, eighth-seeded Iowa drubbed sixth-seeded Maryland 11-0. Sophomore Nick Gallagher pitched six innings of one hit baseball to pick up the win, as the Hawkeyes advanced to Sunday afternoon's Big Ten Championship game despite being the lowest seeded team in the tournament.

Michigan and Ohio State resumed their suspended game in the afternoon in the second inning with Ohio State leading 5-2. Despite some defensive heroics from first baseman Drew Lugbauer, there wasn't much for Michigan to cheer about today.

Ohio State broke the game open in the 6th inning with a bloop single to right field that was originally ruled a foul ball. After a long discussion with the entire umpiring crew, the crew chief disappeared into the tunnel at TD Ameritrade Park to review the play on instant replay. After a lengthy delay, the officials overturned the call, plating two runs that would have scored easily. Three more runs in the seventh inning gave Ohio State an 11-4 victory, eliminating their archrivals from that school up north.

After a one hour break, Ohio State faced Michigan State in the evening matchup. Both teams bullpens carried a 2-2 tie game into extra innings, until Ronnie Dawson led off the top of the tenth with a solo shot to right field.

Yianni Pavlopoulos shut down Sparty in the bottom of the tenth to pick up the save.  The Buckeyes 3-2 victory forces a rematch at 9 am Sunday morning for the right to face Iowa in the afternoon for the conference championship.

4,810 fans attended Saturday's games. That's less than half the attendance of the Saturday games two years ago in Omaha, but those numbers still exceed the attendance of Big Ten tournaments held outside of Omaha.  In fact, more people have attended the Big Ten Tournament since Nebraska was eliminated than attended last year's entire tournament at Minneapolis' Target Field.

While I'm sure everybody would enjoy larger crowds, attendance the last two days proves that Omaha is the correct host for the Big Ten tournament.  Now the question is:  how many Iowa fans will drive west Sunday morning to cheer on their Hawkeyes?