Big Ten Spring Season in Review: Part 1
June 17, 2008
by Jeff Smith
Throughout the Big Ten's spring campaign, the regular season offered plenty of memorable moments in baseball, softball, rowing and men's and women's golf, tennis and track and field. In the first of three features this week, BigTen.org will take a look back at some of those defining moments. The Big Ten Championship/Tournament season will be the focus on Wednesday, while the series concludes Thursday by highlighting NCAA Championship action. Here now are just a few of the memorable moments that occurred this past spring during the regular season.
JANUARY 20 - Indiana women's tennis head coach Lin Loring earned his 700th career win with a 6-1 defeat over Miami (Ohio). Loring became the first Division I women's tennis coach to win 700 matches, with the majority of those wins coming in his 31 seasons in Bloomington.
JANUARY 31 - After knocking off 12th-ranked Vanderbilt in Michigan's home opener last year, the Wolverines' women's tennis team answered the call again with a 4-3 upset over No. 12 Notre Dame to start the season. The victory in the 2008 home opener also gave head coach Ronni Bernstein her first career win at Michigan.
FEBRUARY 1 - The Michigan's men's tennis team was also one for upsets early in the season as the Wolverines defeated 16th-ranked Pepperdine, 4-3, in Ann Arbor.
FEBRUARY 16 - The sixth-ranked Northwestern softball team topped the nation's top team in Arizona by a score of 8-5 in the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. The win marked NU's first regular-season victory over the nation's No. 1-ranked team since the Wildcats took out UCLA at Easton Stadium, 3-2, on March 26, 2006.
FEBRUARY 17 - A 4-1 win over defending national champion and second-seeded Georgia earned the Ohio State men's tennis team a right to play for the 2008 ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship. The Buckeyes were ranked third in the nation at the time and opened the season with 11-consecutive wins for the first time since 1987-88, when it started 14-0. The Buckeyes went on to fall to No. 1 Virginia, 4-1, in the final, marking the second time in as many years the team finished runner-up in the event. Another upset was recorded on this day as the Illinois softball squad topped No. 6 UCLA, 6-2, in the nightcap of the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic. The outcome gave the Illini a win over their highest ranked opponent in two years.
FEBRUARY 19 - Northwestern freshman Rebecca Lederhausen recorded the third hole-in-one in program history during the Wildcats' final round at the Central District Invitational. Lederhausen, who earned her first career ace, used a 5-iron on the par-3, 164-yard No. 5 hole. The NU freshman finished 13-over at 229 (78-74-77) to finish 18th, while the team placed 13th and conference foe and host Michigan State captured the tournament title.
FEBRUARY 23 - Michigan sophomore pitcher Nikki Nemitz tossed the fifth perfect game in school history in an 8-0, five-inning shutout over Birmingham Southern at the UCF Tournament. Nemitz struck out seven of the 15 batters she faced, including six of the first nine, and did not allow a ball out of the infield en route to the first no-hitter of her collegiate career. Speaking of pitching, Mike Wanamaker threw six innings for five hits and five strikeouts while Drew O'Neil recorded the save to give Penn State baseball its first win in a season opener since 2002 with a 4-2 victory over High Point.
FEBRUARY 24 - In an exhibition contests at the New York Mets' training facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla., the Michigan baseball team surprised the major league squad by tying them 4-4. The 18th-ranked Wolverines were led by a two-hit performance by Derek VanBuskirk, who tagged a home run in the eighth inning to give U-M the lead.
FEBRUARY 25 - For the second time in her career, Michigan State senior Sara Brown was recognized as both the Big Ten Golfer of the Week and the Golfweek and GolfWorld National Player of the Week. Brown carded a 4-under-par 212 (70-70-72) to win by seven strokes at the Central District Invitational on February 18-19. The total was the second best 54-hole score in Michigan State women's golf history and also the second lowest score in the eight-year history of the Central District Invitational.
FEBRUARY 26 - After picking up two wins against top-10 opponents, Northwestern women's tennis earned the ITA's No. 1 ranking, marking the first time a Big Ten team was voted as the nation's top team. NU was the seventh squad in the last 20 years to be ranked No. 1 and the first Northern school to achieve the top spot. Northwestern joined Duke, Georgia, Florida, Georgia Tech, USC, Stanford and Texas as the only schools in the last 20 years to be ranked No. 1.
MARCH 1 - The Iowa baseball team upset No. 7 Vanderbilt in a 6-3 win, capitalizing on four Commodore errors and out-hitting them 14-9. Michael Jacobs earned the win with six innings of work, allowing three earned runs and seven hits. The Hawkeye bullpen threw three quality innings with Jason Belk, Andrew Porter and Matt Mossey combining to allow no Commodore runs and only two hits.
MARCH 7 - Speaking of Hawkeye pitching, Iowa junior Brittany Weil and sophomore Amanda Zust teamed up to throw a no-hitter in a 6-0 win over Utah Valley in the Hawkeyes' opening game at the Amy S. Harrison Classic.
MARCH 8 - Lauren Delaney threw her third-career no-hitter in a rare loss on the mound as eighth-ranked Northwestern fell in eight innings to No. 24 Virginia Tech, 1-0.
MARCH 9 - With only four starters back for the 2007 Big Ten champion Ohio State softball team, the Buckeyes managed to tie the program's best 20-game start after knocking off UNLV, 5-1, in the final game of the UNLV Invitational. With the win, 20th-ranked Ohio State improves to 16-4 to tie the school record for best record after 20 games, matching the Buckeyes ' mark in 2002.
MARCH 14 - Layne Anderson was promoted as Iowa's head women's track and field coach, after serving as interim head coach following the death of former coach James Grant last summer. Anderson also served as the women's cross country coach the past five seasons and an assistant track coach for four.
MARCH 15 - No. 9 Michigan softball extended its winning streak to 12 and 13 games with a 12-0 (5 inn.) win over Miami (Ohio) a 4-3 (8 inn.) victory over host Louisville in Louisville Tournament. Freshman pitcher Jordan Taylor was nearly perfect in the morning contest against Miami, striking out eight of 15 batters faced while allowing no hits in the five-inning performance.
MARCH 17 - Fresh off its victory at the Gainesville Shootout III, the Illinois women's golf team carded a record-tying 291 in the second round of the Samford Women's Intercollegiate. The 3-over 291 tied the lowest single round in school history, previously set at the 2002 Pat Bradley Championship.
MARCH 18 - All five Indiana men's golfers, including one additional individual, finished in the top 10 to help the 26th-ranked Hoosiers to their second straight Pinehurst Intercollegiate title. IU carded a 1-over-par 865 (286-292-287) to take a 24-stroke victory over runner-up Eastern Kentucky. Seth Brandon's 216 (69-75-72) earned him a one-shot win over teammate Ren Han, a freshman who fired 70-75-72 for a second-place 217.
MARCH 26 - Down 5-0, the Minnesota baseball team scored 12 unanswered runs to defeat No. 2 Missouri, 12-5, at the Metrodome. The Golden Gophers' victory over the second-ranked Tigers was its highest ranked win since they defeated No. 2 Cal State Fullerton twice in a three-game series on March 7-9, 2003. Minnesota's victory also snapped Missouri's 14-game winning streak in the process.
MARCH 27 - For the first time in conference history, Purdue teammates Christel Boeljon and Maria Hernandez were named Big Ten co-Golfers of the Week after tying for first at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic and helping guide their team to a second-place finish. Hernandez and Boeljon ended the tournament with a 72.7 average and a 54-hole score of 218.
MARCH 29 - Michigan sophomore Sean Pruitt set the school record in the hammer throw with a toss of 196-6 at the Yellow Jacket Invite. The heave surpassed the previous U-M school record of 195-4 set by Patrik Johansson in 1999. Just one week later, Pruitt would best his own personal mark with a toss of 197-3 in "The Dual" at Ohio State's Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
MARCH 30 - The 45th-ranked Wisconsin men's tennis team upended No. 16 Illinois, 5-2, snapping the Badgers' 14-match losing streak to the Illini.
APRIL 4 - Longtime Illinois women's track and field head coach Gary Winckler announced he is retiring following the 2007-08 season after 23 years with the Illini. At the time of his announcement, Winckler had guided Illinois to 11 team and 266 individual Big Ten titles and helped 51 Illini standouts earn All-America honors 188 times. He had been named the conference's Coach of the Year 11 times and the NCAA Coach of the Year on three occasions.
APRIL 5 - Illinois carded seven of 10 rounds under par en route to a team victory in the 39th Annual Marshall Invitational at the Guyan Club in Huntington, W.V. The Illini darted to a seven-stroke lead after opening with a tournament record 274 and finished at 14-under par 554 in the 36-hole rain shortened event. That 36-hole score set a new school record and the single round of 274 tied for the fourth-best round in school history.
APRIL 5 - Michigan State softball coach Jacquie Joseph recorded her 600th career win with a 5-3 victory over No. 24 Ohio State. Caitlin Mahoney's two homers drove in all five of Michigan State's runs in the win.
APRIL 6 - Hitless in four at-bats with three strikeouts, Jake Owens doubled home Tommy Finn from first base to give Northwestern a 5-4 comeback win over Michigan State at Rocky Miller Park. Staying within the Wildcat family, Lauren Delaney fired her fourth no-hitter of the season and her second in Big Ten play in the first game of a doubleheader at No. 24 Ohio State. She struck out 11 batters in a 7-0 win for No. 15 Northwestern.
APRIL 11 - Keeping with game-winning heroics, Ohio State sophomore Ryan Dew came off the bench in the 11th inning and hit a first-pitch fastball out of the park for the winning run in the Buckeyes' 4-3 victory over Michigan State Friday at Oldsmobile Park. Dew's supplemented efforts by OSU starter Jake Hale, who pitched 10.0 innings and retired 16 of the final 17 batters he faced. He scattered nine hits and allowed just two earned runs in raising his record to 4-0 on the season. In track and field, Indiana senior Marcus Thigpen recorded a time of 10.34 seconds in the 100-meter dash, marking the second fastest time in school history and the 10th quickest in the nation to date.
APRIL 19 - After matching the course record with an opening 9-under 63, Indiana's Jorge Campillo took home his second straight title and the fifth victory of his career at the Boilermaker Invitational. His career-low round was also the second-lowest 18 in Hoosier history, and his winning score of 15-under 201 (63-68-70) was the program's third-best 54-hole total. On the water, No. 14 Ohio State rowing saw its First and Second Varsity Eight boats go undefeated against Iowa and Wisconsin in the Big Ten Challenge at Griggs Reservoir.
APRIL 20 - The second-ranked Ohio State men's tennis team completed conference play 10-0 after a 7-0 blanking of No. 15 Michigan. The Buckeyes earned their 36th-consecutive Big Ten victory and closed out the 2008 regular season by going 14-0 at home and extending their home-winning streak to 71, which dates back to 2003.
APRIL 23 - Iowa head baseball coach Jack Dahm earned his 400th career win with a 5-2 victory over Northern Iowa at Riverfront Stadium.
APRIL 24 - The Michigan women's track and field squad made history as the distance medley relay (DMR) team clocked the second-fastest collegiate time ever to place first in the event at the Penn Relays. Freshman Danielle Tauro, senior Serita Williams, junior Geena Gall and senior co-captain Nicole Edwards finished in 10:49.58 to break the school record, which had stood for nine years.
APRIL 26 - Illinois' John Schlichter broke the Big Ten record for triples in a conference game with three and had five RBIs to help lead the Illini past Penn State, 20-11. Schlichter's third triple also tied the school record set by Fred Frink on April 2, 1934.
APRIL 30 - Speaking of Illinois record breakers, shortstop Angelena Mexicano tagged her 24th home run of the season to break the Big Ten single-season record in the Illini's 4-0 victory over Southern Illinois. Mexicano bashed her 23rd in the first game for the series to tie the record set by Northwestern's Garland Cooper in 2007.
MAY 3 - Penn State's Shana Cox emerged from the Jesse Owens Invitational with victories in the 200-meters, 400-meters, and 4x100-meter relay. Her quarter mile was a season-best 52.45 and she captured the 200 by nearly half a second in 23.37. The 45.78 ran by the 4x100 team ran was also a season-best, missing the NCAA regional mark by less than a tenth of a second.
MAY 13 - After a nine-run fourth inning to extend its lead to 11-0, Buffalo was stunned by the Ohio State baseball team as the Buckeyes rallied to score nine runs over the final three innings to beat the Bulls, 14-13, at Bill Davis Stadium.