The week that was B1G Baseball, Aug. 2

Michigan State is adding a heating system to its grass baseball infield. (Michigan State athletics)

Michigan State is adding a heating system to its grass baseball infield. (Michigan State athletics)

The has calendar turned over to August, the final month of summer upon us. There are officially three weeks of summer officially in September, but by August’s end classes will resume across Big Ten universities with plans and preparations for fall ball formalizing as focus on the 2016 college baseball becomes sharper.

The final week of July provided big news around the Big Ten and here’s a roundup of. Continue reading

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Financial records reveal Maryland is all in

John Szefc's five-year extension  is Maryland's latest sign of commitment. (Maryland Athletics)

John Szefc’s five-year extension is Maryland’s latest sign of commitment to baseball. (Maryland Athletics)

For even the most knowledgeable college baseball fans, a belief that Maryland is a program of national prominence may be hard to fathom. Prior to the 2014 season the last time the Terrapins were in the NCAA Tournament Richard Nixon was in the Oval Office. Be it Watergate, the fall of the Berlin Wall or Y2K, the world has change since 1971, the second of back-to-back seasons Maryland participated in the NCAA Tournament.

But the Maryland Terrapins of today are not the Maryland Terrapins of past generations.

Under head coach John Szefc Maryland has appeared in back-to-back super regionals, painstakingly close to a pair of College World Series appearances. And going forward all signs point to the Terrapins are here to stay, take notice college baseball.

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Kelzer’s return key to Hoosiers’ hopes

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Returning to Indiana for another season, Jake Kelzer is expected to be key to IU’s NCAA Tournament hopes.

The four relievers named first-team All-Big Ten since 2012 have anchored bullpens for clubs finishing either first or second in the conference standings. Over the last two seasons, 2014 NCAA Tournament national seed Indiana and 2015 NCAA Tournament national seed Illinois both placed a relief pitcher on the all-conference first team. Be it Trace Dempsey or Tyler Jay, it would appear having an elite stopper goes a long way to winnings games, and ultimately hardware.

To Indiana head coach Chris Lemonis there is no coincidence.

“I don’t think you can win without a great bullpen,” the second-year head coach said. “You’ve seen teams play in Omaha the last couple of years without great starting pitching but they all had great bullpens.”

As Indiana seeks a return to the College World Series, they’ll head into the 2016 with the pieces to have a great bullpen, buoyed by the return of right-hander Jake Kelzer.

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Peyton back and Perry joining, Hawks can still soar

Winning a school-record 77 games in his first two years, Rick Heller still has Iowa trending up.

Winning an Iowa-record 71 games in his first two years, Rick Heller has Iowa trending up.

If Rick Heller was a broker on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday’s draft deadline would have been a closing bell on a day he could do no wrong for his client. The 5 p.m. Eastern deadline for players drafted in the 2015 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft to sign with the club whom drafted them or forgo professional baseball until their next eligible opportunity saw Heller’s Hawkeyes retain its most valuable asset and welcome a highly-coveted prospect.

After the program soared to heights unseen in a generation, the return of Tyler Peyton and the addition of Daniel Perry makes the Hawkeyes a program to not sell any time soon.

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The week that was B1G Baseball, July 19

It was a whirlwind week for Big Ten baseball programs.

At baseball’s highest level of, former Rutgers standout Todd Frazier won the MLB Home Run Derby, a day after once Indiana All-American catcher Kyle Schwarber earned MVP honors in the All-Star Future Games, before ex-Gopher Glen Perkins closed the door on the American League’s victory in the Midsummer Classic. With MLB’s second-hald beginning, Schwarber was promptly recalled to the bigs for the second time this season.

Those who will not perfect their craft with a professional organization, the week ended with players and recruits forgoing professional opportunities, opting for Big Ten.

In between, Illinois made sure head coach Dan Hartleb will stay in Champaign, extending the contract of the Big Ten Coach of the Year for five years.

Here’s a lightning-round roundup of the week that was,140 characters at a time.

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Players and signees forgo pros on deadline day

While a pair of right-handed pitchers from the Bluegrass State shocked the college baseball world and carried the news as top 75 draft picks Kyle Cody and Kyle Funkhouser announced their respective returns to Kentucky and Louisville, all was quiet in the Big Ten as Friday’s 5 p.m. Eastern deadline for players drafted in the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft to sign came and pass without any last-minute deals down, an anticipated quiet afternoon did not offer any surprises.

As college players return for another year, high school players set to join a Big Ten program for at least three years, unless they turn 21 within 45 days of the draft following their sophomore year, coaches can now exhale and turn all attention to the 2016 season.

Here’s a collection announcing their decisions to hear, or return to Big Ten programs.

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