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Michigan pitcher Megan Betsa and Minnesota hurler Sara Groenewegen were named top 25 finalists for the inaugural National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) National Freshman of the Year award on Thursday.

Betsa currently ranks third in the Big Ten in earned-run-average at 1.84 and is second in opposing batting average (.182). The McDonough, Ga., native boasts a 10-3 record in 19 total appearances, and has struck out a team-high 93 batters. Betsa was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Feb. 18 and Feb. 24.

Groenewegen was tabbed the Big Ten Freshman of the Week on March 31, and collected Big Ten Pitcher and Freshman of the Week accolades on April 7. The White Rock, B.C., native is limiting her opponents to a .183 batting average and has recorded 126 strikeouts on the season, which ranks fifth in the Big Ten. Groenewegen boasts an unblemished 11-0 record and has pitched 77.1 total innings with 12 starts in the circle.  

On May 8, the list will be trimmed down to the top 10 finalists, while the top three finalists will be selected and released on May 22. The inaugural NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year trophy will be presented during a live ceremony on May 27 prior to the opening of the annual Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.

Wednesday's Softball Results

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Conference teams posted a convincing 10-2 record on Wednesday's Big Ten softball slate, including a doubleheader sweep by Iowa over nationally ranked Missouri.

Wednesday, April 16
-/rv DePaul 5, Illinois 3
Ball State 6, Indiana 3 (Game One)
Indiana 3, Ball State 2 (Game Two)
Iowa 3, #15/13 Missouri 1 (Game One)
Iowa 13, #15/13 Missouri 9 (Game Two)
#3/3 Michigan 11, Central Michigan 0 (5 innings)
Michigan State 1, Eastern Michigan 0
rv/#25 Northwestern 8, Loyola-Chicago 0 (5 innings)
Penn State 6, Bucknell 3 (Game One)
Penn State 10, Bucknell 5 (Game Two)
-/rv Wisconsin 9, Green Bay 8 (Game One)
-/rv Wisconsin 5, Green Bay 2 (Game Two)

Rankings are USA Softball/NFCA Coaches

Wednesday's Softball Schedule

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Wednesday's Big Ten softball slate features 12 games, including four contests on the Big Ten Digital Network (BTDN).

Wednesday, April 16
Ball State at Indiana, 4 p.m.
#15/13 Missouri at Iowa, 4 p.m. (BTDN)
#3/3 Michigan at Central Michigan, 4 p.m.
Green Bay at  -/rv Wisconsin, 4 p.m.  (BTDN)
-/rv DePaul at Illinois, 5 p.m.
Eastern Michigan at Michigan State, 5 p.m.
rv/#25 Northwestern at Loyola-Chicago, 5 p.m.
#15/13 Missouri at Iowa, 6 p.m. (BTDN)
Bucknell at Penn State, 6 p.m.
Green Bay at -/rv Wisconsin, 6 p.m. (BTDN)
Ball State at Indiana, 7 p.m.
Bucknell at Penn State, 8 p.m.

All times Eastern
Rankings are USA Softball/NFCA Coaches

One day after being named the Big Ten Softball Player of the Week, Wisconsin's Michelle Mueller was tabbed the Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) and USA Softball National Player of the Week on Tuesday.

Mueller batted .600 with nine hits, 18 RBI, five runs scored and four home runs in leading Wisconsin to a 5-0 record last week, including a Big Ten sweep over Illinois. In the three games against the Illini, she belted three home runs, tallied an on-base percentage of .636 and slugged at a clip of 1.600.

In game two of a doubleheader against Illinois on Friday, Mueller went 4-for-4 and plated a school-record eight runs, including three consecutive home runs, which ties the second-best performance in NCAA history.

Mueller currently ranks third in the Big Ten in RBI with 41. She is batting .385 on the season, which ranks 11th in the Big Ten, and is slugging at a clip of .702, the sixth-best mark in the conference.

 

Big Ten Softball in the Polls

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The latest college softball top 25 polls were released on Tuesday, with Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin representing the Big Ten.

Michigan led the way, moving up to No. 3 in both the USA Softball and NFCA Coaches polls. The Wolverines have won 19 straight games, and sit atop the Big Ten standings at 12-0. Minnesota appeared at No. 13 in the USA Softball ballot, and was ranked 12th in the coaches' poll. The Gophers are in sole possession of second place in the conference standings with a 10-3 Big Ten record.

Nebraska sits at No. 19 in the USA Softball poll, and is No. 20 in the coaches' rankings. The Huskers have won three consecutive Big Ten series, including last weekend's sweep of Iowa. Northwestern is ranked No. 25 in the coaches' ballot, and received votes in the USA Softball top 25 poll. Wisconsin received votes in the coaches' poll.

Michigan will host Minnesota in a pivotal series this weekend, with single games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Nebraska will visit Ohio State, Northwestern will host Indiana while Wisconsin will travel to Penn State.   

Sunday's Softball Results

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Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Purdue picked up wins on Sunday's Big Ten softball slate. The Wolverines recorded a series sweep over Michigan State, while Minnesota and Purdue secured weekend series wins.

Sunday, April 13
Indiana 8, Penn State 7 (8 innings)
#4/5 Michigan 14, Michigan State 0
#14/14 Minnesota 3, #25/23 Northwestern 1
Purdue 5, Ohio State 4

All times Eastern
Rankings are USA Softball/NFCA Coaches

Sunday's Softball Schedule

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Four single games are on Sunday's Big Ten softball schedule, with Michigan State hosting #4/5 Michigan on BTN beginning at Noon ET.

Sunday, April 13    
#4/5 Michigan at Michigan State, Noon (BTN)
Penn State at Indiana, 1 p.m.
Purdue at Ohio State, 1 p.m.
#25/23 Northwestern at #14/14 Minnesota, 2 p.m.

All times Eastern
Rankings are USA Softball/NFCA Coaches

Saturday's Softball Results

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Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin picked up wins on Saturday's Big Ten softball slate, with the Huskers and Badgers completing weekend series sweeps.

Saturday, April 12
Wisconsin 3, Illinois 2
Penn State 2, Indiana 1
#19/22 Nebraska 18, Iowa 0 (5 innings)
#4/5 Michigan 8, Michigan State 0 (5 innings)
#14/14 Minnesota 13, #25/23 Northwestern 5 (6 innings)
Ohio State 8, Purdue 0 (5 innings)

All times Eastern
Rankings are USA Softball/NFCA Coaches

Saturday's Softball Schedule

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All 12 Big Ten softball teams will be in action on Saturday, with Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin serving as single-game hosts. 

Saturday, April 12    
Penn State at Indiana, 1 p.m.
#4/5 Michigan at Michigan State, 1 p.m.
Illinois at Wisconsin, 1 p.m.
#25/23 Northwestern at #14/14 Minnesota, 2 p.m.
Purdue at Ohio State, 2 p.m.
Iowa at #19/22 Nebraska, 5 p.m.

All times Eastern
Rankings are USA Softball/NFCA Coaches

Friday's Softball Results

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Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin posted wins on Friday's Big Ten softball slate.

Friday, April 11

Wisconsin 3, Illinois 2 (Game One)
Wisconsin 10, Illinois 3 (Game Two)
Penn State 4, Indiana 1
#19/22 Nebraska 5, Iowa 2
#19/22 Nebraska 9, Iowa 1 (6 innings)
#4/5 Michigan 9, Michigan State 1 (5 innings)
#25/23 Northwestern 13, #14/14 Minnesota 9
Purdue 1, Ohio State 0

Rankings are USA Softball/NFCA Coaches