March 23, 2005
A record-setting run of 27 straight victories by the Michigan softball team, including eight straight over ranked teams, has gained national recognition as the Wolverines became the first non-Pacific-10 Conference team voted No. 1 in the three-year-old ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate top 25. Only Arizona, UCLA and California, all of the Pac-10, had resided in the top spot of the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll since its inception in 2003. Also rounding out the Big Ten contingent in this week's poll was Iowa at No. 21, while Northwestern nabbed a No. 24 ranking.
Michigan currently leads the Big Ten with a 27-1 record after posting a 6-0 record last weekend at the Kia Klassic in Fullerton, Calif., including a 6-2 championship-game victory over previously No. 1 Arizona on Sunday. The win extended Michigan's school-record winning streak to 27 games after dropping the season opener to then-No. 17 Baylor (7-6) on Feb. 11. Iowa and Northwestern follow in second and third place, respectively, in the team standings. The Hawkeyes have tallied a 23-5 record with wins over No. 15 Oregon State and No. 22 Arizona State, while the Wildcats are 15-6, claiming victories over three ranked opponents - California, Washington and Stanford - this season.
Michigan, Iowa and Northwestern will compete in one more week of non-conference action, before opening the Big Ten slate on April 1. The Wolverines will host the Hawkeyes, while the Wildcats will welcome Illinois in their League home opener.