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Illinois earns No. 4 seed in Big Ten Tournament

With the final two games of the regular season completed earlier on Monday (May 8), the Big Ten Conference has announced the 2017 Big Ten Softball Tournament bracket with Illinois earning the No. 4 seed in the 12-team tournament, hosted by the University of Michigan on May 11-13 in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The Illini will have a first-round bye after securing one of the tournament's top four seeds and will play the winner of fifth-seeded Nebraska and No. 12 seed Penn State on Friday (May 12) at 10 a.m. CT at the Wilpon Complex/Alumni Field.

The tournament is a single-elimination format that will began on Thursday, with the title contest slated for Saturday night at Alumni Field. The tournament champion will earn the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

The first pitch of the 2017 Big Ten Tournament will take place at 10 a.m. CT on Thursday when No. 8 seed Northwestern faces No. 9 seed Purdue, with the winner advancing to play top-seeded Minnesota on Friday. The Huskers and the Nittany Lions will square off in Thursday's second game at approximately 12:30 p.m., with the winner moving on to play the No. 4 Illini. The No. 7 seed, Michigan State, takes on 10th-seeded Indiana at approximately 3:30 p.m. Thursday, with No. 2 seed Michigan awaiting the winner. In the last of Thursday's first-round games at approximately 6 p.m., No. 6 Wisconsin meets No. 11 seed Iowa, as third-seeded Ohio State gets set to face the winner.

Friday's quarterfinal games will begin at 10 a.m., with the four victorious schools reaching the semifinals. The first semifinal will be played at 12 p.m. Saturday, with the second semifinal beginning at approximately 2:30 p.m. Saturday. First pitch for Saturday's Big Ten Tournament championship game is scheduled for 5 p.m.