IOWA CITY, Iowa – The disappointment from losing in the Big Ten Tournament championship game on Sunday didn’t last long for members of the Iowa baseball team.
Because less than 24 hours later, they were celebrating making the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017.
Iowa (42-14) was awarded with the No. 2 seed in the Terre Haute regional and will face No. 3 seed North Carolina on Friday at 6 p.m. in Terre Haute, Indiana.
The game will be broadcast on the ACCN.
Host Indiana State will face four-seed Wright State in the other first-round matchup.
Iowa earned the two-seed despite losing to Maryland 4-0 in the Big Ten championship game on Sunday in Omaha, Nebraska.
The Hawkeyes were considered a lock heading into the conference tournament, and they strengthened their position by winning three games in the conference tournament by a combined score of 27-7.
The 42 wins for Iowa this season are the second most in program history behind the 44 games won by the 1981 Iowa team.
Iowa also has arguably the best pitching staff in the Big Ten with three talented starters in Marcus Morgan, Brody Brecht and Ty Langenberg, and a deep bullpen.
The Hawkeyes have been without one of their leading hitters in sophomore Keaton Anthony for nearly a month.
Anthony and relief pitcher Jacob Henderson and catchers Ben Tallman and Gehrig Christensen have been withheld from games as an investigation into sports wagering is conducted.
Their status for the NCAA Tournament is uncertain at this time.
North Carolina will be without one of its top players in outfielder Vance Honeycutt because of a lower back injury, according to North Carolina head coach Scott Forbes. Honeycutt is expected to miss the regional.
This will be a homecoming of sorts for Iowa head coach Rick Heller, who was the Indiana State head coach from 2010 to 2013 before moving to Iowa.
Iowa is making its third NCAA Tournament appearance under Heller and the sixth in school history. The Hawkeyes earned an at large selection to the tournament after finishing third in the Big Ten and runner up at the Big Ten Tournament. Iowa is 42-14 overall – the 42 wins are the second-most victories in school history.
The North Carolina Tar Heels are the regional’s 3 seed after winning 35 games.
North Carolina has a .285 team batting average and averages 7.5 runs per game. The Tar Heels are led by Tomas Frick with a .329 batting average and Hunter Stokley with a .323 average. Along with Frick and Stokley, three other North Carolina regulars hit above .300. On the mound, the Tar Heels have a 4.73 team ERA and 502 strikeouts over 504 2/3 innings.
Terre Haute Regional tickets will go on sale to the general public via the Indiana State ticket office starting Tuesday, May 30, at 4 p.m. ET.
Hawkeyesports.com contributed to this report
— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) May 29, 2023