Big Ten Softball Weekly Release

Purdue will host Michigan in a key doubleheader on Wednesday.

Purdue will host Michigan in a key doubleheader on Wednesday.

April 22, 2014

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• This week's Big Ten schedule gets underway on Tuesday, with Illinois hosting Northwestern in a doubleheader on BTN. Two more twinbills will be held on Wednesday, with Purdue hosting first-place Michigan and Ohio State entertaining Penn State. All 12 teams will be in action in conference series this weekend, beginning with a full slate on Friday.

• With two weeks remaining in the regular season, Michigan (14-1) owns a three-game lead over Nebraska and Purdue (11-4), who are tied for second place in the Big Ten standings, while Minnesota sits in fourth place with an 11-5 record. The Wolverines will play a pair of conference road series at Purdue and Illinois this week. Nebraska will travel to Michigan State this weekend, Purdue will wrap up the week at Wisconsin and Minnesota will host Penn State in a three-game series beginning on Friday.

• In the latest national polls, four Big Ten teams appeared in the top 25 of the NFCA Coaches poll, while three conference squads received top 25 nods in the USA Softball ballot. In the coaches' poll, Michigan checks in at No. 4, followed by No. 12 Minnesota, No. 19 Nebraska and No. 25 Northwestern. Wisconsin is also receiving votes. In the USA Softball ballot, Michigan remains at No. 3, followed by No. 13 Minnesota and No. 19 Nebraska. Northwestern and Wisconsin also received votes in the USA Softball ballot.

• According to the latest NCAA Softball RPI ratings, five Big Ten teams are rated among the top 50 in the nation, including three in the top 20. Michigan leads the way at No. 7, followed by No. 14 Nebraska and No. 17 Minnesota. Northwestern checks in at No. 27 and Wisconsin is ranked No. 50.