May 30, 2007
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For the fourth consecutive year, a Big Ten team will compete in the Women's College World Series. Last weekend, Northwestern defeated South Carolina in Super Regional action to advance to the Wildcats' fifth WCWS in program history. Michigan, the 2005 national champion, nearly clinched a berth but fell to Baylor in game three of the Waco Regional last Saturday.
The Wildcats will be making a return engagement to the WCWS for the second consecutive year after advancing to the championship series last season and claiming runner-up honors. Four different Big Ten schools have made a combined 19 appearances in the WCWS with the Wolverines capturing the conference's first national title in 2005. Michigan (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005) leads the conference with eight WCWS appearances, while Northwestern (1984, 1985, 1986, 2006, 2007) has made five. Iowa (1995, 1996, 1997, 2001) follows with fourth showings and Indiana (1983,1986) has claimed two. At least one conference school has qualified for the WCWS in 14 of the 26 years that the championship has been sponsored by the NCAA. From 1983-86, at least one school represented the conference and in the last 12 years, only three times (1999, 2000, 2003) has the Big Ten not had a member squad advance to the World Series.
The Wildcats will open WCWS play on Thursday, May 31 against Arizona State at 6 p.m. on ESPN. The winner will then take on either No. 6 Washington or No. 14 DePaul on Friday. Every game of the series will be televised on either ESPN or ESPN2.