July 12, 2010
Three Big Ten softball teams represented the conference in the 2010 NCAA Softball Championships as Illinois, Michigan and Ohio State each earned spots in the 64-team field. Big Ten Champion Michigan advanced to super regional competition.
Having been selected to its 17th straight NCAA Tournament, Michigan served as host during regional and super regional play. The Wolverines won all three of their games to advance to their sixth straight super regional. The Maize and Blue defeated Wright State, 11-2, in their opener before twice defeating Notre Dame, 8-0 and 12-2. The following week, the second-ranked Wolverines hosted No. 15 Tennessee, but dropped a pair of matches to the Women’s College World Series semifinalist.
Illinois and Ohio State each won two games during NCAA Regional play. Illinois knocked off DePaul, 4-2, in its Columbia Regional opener and 9-1 in its third game, but dropped two contests to WCWS participant Missouri. After dropping their opening game of the Columbus Regional against Kentucky, the Buckeyes rebounded with a wins over Bucknell and Kentucky before being eliminated by California.
At the conclusion of Big Ten play, Michigan won its third straight conference championship, 13th overall, with a 18-1 Big Ten record. Behind the efforts of Co-Players of the Year Nikki Nemitz and Maggie Viefhaus, the Wolverines climbed to as high as second in the national rankings. Ohio State’s Melanie Nichols was named Freshman of the Year, while Illinois’ Terri Sullivan was voted Coach of the Year.
Six conference student-athletes were named Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Americans at season’s end. Earning first-team honors was Illinois first baseman Meredith Hackett. A quartet of Michigan standouts were named to the second team, including utility player Nemitz, first baseman Dorian Shaw, pitcher Jordan Taylor and third baseman Viefhaus. Ohio State’s Sam Marder was named to the third team.