March 12, 2013
With conference softball teams quickly closing on the start of the Big Ten campaign, teams are bolstering their schedules during the non-conference portion of their seasons. Big Ten teams were slated to make 140 appearances against teams that advanced to the 2012 NCAA Tournament, while Nebraska will be the first Big Ten team to play on their home field this weekend.
Through the first five weekends of the 2013 non-conference season:
- Ten conference squads have won 11 or more games this season. Four teams carry a .739 winning percentage or better, which ranks among the top 40 in the nation.
- Four Big Ten pitchers rank among the nation's top 14 in victories. Michigan's Sara Driesenga and Minnesota's Sara Moulton are fifth with 13 and Michigan State's Kelly Smith and Wisconsin's Cassandra Darrah are tied for 14th with 11 victories.
- Nine Big Ten pitching staffs carry an ERA under 3.00 this season, while seven conference lineups are averaging 4.5 runs or more per game this season
- As many as six Big Ten teams have been ranked or receiving votes in either the National Fastpitch Coaches Association or USA Softball weekly polls.
- Seven Big Ten programs have earned at least one Big Ten Player, Pitcher or Freshman of the Week accolade.
- Big Ten teams have combined for 41 victories over teams that ended the 2012 season among the RPI's top 50, including 16 triumphs over those ending last season among the top 25 of the RPI.