This Week in the Big Ten

April 28, 2014

[ONE // sharing is caring]
Michigan State and Ohio State shared the Big Ten Championship in women's golf on Sunday after shooting a three-round score of 895 at the 2014 Big Ten Women's Golf Championships. The Spartans and Buckeyes were followed by third-place Northwestern (905), fourth-place Penn State (912) and fifth-place Illinois (913) at the par-72, 6,017-yard Pete Dye Course. Due to the Big Ten's tiebreaking procedures, the Spartans earned the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Championship.  Michigan State won its sixth Big Ten title, while Ohio State secured its 12th Big Ten Championship.  Ohio State's Jessica Porvasnik won the individual Big Ten title, shooting an even-par 216 (73-72-71).

[TWO // buckeyes atop the big ten men’s tennis world]
With a 4-2 victory over No. 2 seed Illinois, top-seeded Ohio State claimed the 2014 Big Ten Men's Tennis Tournament Championship Sunday afternoon at MSU Outdoor Courts in East Lansing, Mich. The Buckeyes earned their second consecutive conference tournament crown and fifth overall.  With the win, Ohio State earns the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Championships. Team draws for the NCAA Championships will be announced at 5 p.m. ET on Tues., April 29, while individual draws will be announced at 6 p.m. on Wed., April 30. Both selection shows will be available on NCAA.com.

[THREE // handing out the hardware]
The Big Ten men’s tennis All-Conference teams and individual awards were announced on Thursday night at the Big Ten Tournament banquet. Illinois’ Farris Gosea was named Big Ten Athlete of the Year, Northwestern’s Sam Shropshire earned Freshman of the Year honors and Ohio State’s Ty Tucker picked up Coach of the Year laurels.  The Big Ten also recognized a pair of All-Conference teams as well as 12 Sportsmanship Award honorees. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These student-athletes must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.

[FOUR // we must protect these courts]
With a 4-3 victory over top-seeded seed Michigan, No. 2 seed Northwestern won the 2014 Big Ten Women's Tennis Tournament Championship Sunday afternoon at Combe Tennis Center in Evanston, Ill. The Wildcats earned their second consecutive conference tournament crown and fifth overall.  With the win, Northwestern earns the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Championships. Team draws for the NCAA Championships will be announced at 5:30 p.m. ET on Tues., April 29, while individual draws will be announced at 6 p.m. on Wed., April 30. Both selection shows will be available on NCAA.com.

[FIVE // buckeyes, wolverines share women’s tennis awards]
The Big Ten announced its women’s tennis All-Conference teams and individual award winners at the conference tournament banquet on Thursday. Michigan’s Emina Bektas was named Athlete of the Year, while Ohio State’s Gabriella De Santis took home Freshman of the Year honors and the Wolverines’ Ronni Bernstein was tabbed Coach of the Year.  Bektas and De Santis were both unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selections and are joined by Michigan’s Ronit Yurovsky, Michigan State’s Marina Bohrer and Northwestern’s Veronica Corning as unanimous picks. Also on the first team are Iowa’s Ruth Seaborne, Michigan’s Brooke Bolender and Sarah Lee, Northwestern’s Alicia Barnett and Belinda Niu, Ohio State’s Miho Kowase and Wisconsin’s Lauren Chypyha.  The Big Ten also recognized a pair of All-Conference teams as well as 12 Sportsmanship Award honorees. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These student-athletes must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.

[SIX // btn going prime time this football season]
Big Ten schools on Tuesday announced six football games to be televised in prime time by BTN during the 2014 season. Nine conference programs will appear in BTN night games next season, including Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers, with the Huskers and Scarlet Knights playing two prime time contests each.

[SEVEN // closing out spring practice]
Three Big Ten football teams concluded their respective spring practices this past weekend with spring games or scrimmages.  Iowa, Michigan State and Rutgers finished play for the spring season as the Hawkeyes played before 20,400 fans, the Spartans took their annual Green and White game to the final seconds of play, and Rutgers saw its preseason game to end with the White team blanking the Scarlet squad, 21-0.

[EIGHT // getting to know rutgers]
Speaking of Rutgers, BTN embarked on a visit to catch up with the league’s newest member and will formally introduce them to the Big Ten.  The Scarlet Knights are slated to become a full-time member on July 1.  Mike Hall got a tour of the campus on Thursday and sat down with former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand for a feature that will air in July. See some of the best from the BTN visit by clicking here.

[NINE // indiana baseball holds three game lead]
At week’s end, Indiana baseball holds a three-game lead over conference opponents Nebraska and Illinois, who sit in a tie for second in the league standings.  The Hoosiers (28-12, 13-2) collected 15 hits and scored 11 runs on their way to the 11-3 victory over Illinois to win the weekend series. Brian Korte pitched five innings and struck out a career-high six to earn his first win of the season.  The game was called in the top of the ninth inning after a 90-minute weather delay. The delay started after Illinois’ relief pitcher threw one pitch to Will Nolden to start the ninth inning.

[TEN // big ten pair putting a stop to it]
Michigan's Jacob Cronenworth and Nebraska's Zach Hirsch were named this past week to the 2014 NCBWA Stopper of the Year Midseason Watch List, given annually to the nation's top relief pitcher. Cronenworth has pitched 18.1 innings in 12 appearances, carries a 1.96 ERA and eight saves for the Wolverines this season, tied for the most in the Big Ten. Hirsch has made 19 relief appearances this season for the Huskers, touting a 1.44 ERA, a 4-1 record and 36/8 strikeout-to-walk ratio this year.

[ELEVEN // softball race tightening up]
At week’s end, Michigan softball holds a slim advantage in the conference standings at 17-3, while Nebraska (14-4) is second, and Minnesota (14-5) follows closely behind.  Michigan’s Taylor Hasselbach hit a home run in game one, and Sierra Lawrence hit a homer in game two of No. 4 Michigan's 10-2 (six innings) and 6-5 wins at Illinois.  Sitting third behind Michigan and Nebraska is Minnesota and former Wisconsin (12-5).

[TWELVE // flipping over all-america status]
Finally this week, following the 2014 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships, 10 Big Ten gymnasts from three institutions earned All-America honors from the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches. Michigan's Joanna Sampson and Sachi Sugiyama, Minnesota's Lindsay Mable and Hanna Nordquist and Nebraska's Hollie Blanske, Jessie DeZiel, Jamie Schleppenbach and Emily Wong were named to the first team, while Michigan's Nicole Artz and Shelby Gies earned second-team honors.