May 15, 2013
Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin open NCAA Championship play this weekend with the beginning of regional play. The Badgers earned the conference’s automatic bid to the postseason after winning their first tournament championship last weekend. That and other news, notes and NCAA Championship history can be found in this week’s release.
• Four Big Ten teams earned berths into NCAA Tournament field as Michigan and Nebraska are among 16 seeded teams and will host regional competition this weekend.
• Michigan’s Sierra Romero was named a finalist for the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year, one of 10 players nationally, and the only freshman, named to the list.
• The Big Ten is one of three conferences, joining the SEC and Pac-12, with seven or more teams in the top 60 of the latest RPI. Michigan appears in the top 10 at No. 8, followed by No. 14 Nebraska, No. 24 Wisconsin, No. 31 Minnesota, No. 34 Iowa, No. 45 Northwestern and No. 60 Ohio State.
• Four Big Ten teams are receiving votes in the national rankings this week, including two in the top 15. Michigan appears at No. 7 in the NFCA rankings and No. 8 in the USA Softball poll, Nebraska is 16th in the USA Softball poll and 17th in the NFCA standings and Wisconsin is ranked 25th in the coaches poll. The Badgers are also receiving votes in the USA Softball standings, while Minnesota is among the teams receiving votes in both polls.
• Indiana’s Amanda Wagner (on-base percentage), Iowa’s Megan Blank (on-base percentage), Michigan’s Sierra Romero (home runs, RBI per game, runs per game), Minnesota’s Sara Moulton (shutouts, wins) and Kaitlyn Richardson (on-base percentage), Northwestern’s Amy Letourneau (strikeouts) and Penn State’s Cassidy Bell (home runs, slugging percentage, on-base percentage) rank among the top 10 nationally in their respective stat categories.