SB Team #37 inched their way to another Big Ten Championship tonight. I say "inched" because we split with Second Place Purdue. We lost the first game 3-2 but game back with a vengence in the night cap boiling the Boilermakers 11-0 in mercy-rule style.
We dropped one slot to #4 in this week's Coaches Poll but remained at #3 in the USA Today Poll.
Purdue (11-4 B1G) is actually tied for second with Nebraska (11-4 B1G). Minny, who dropped 2 to us this weekend, dropped from 2nd place to 4th place at 11-5 in the B1G.
In the first game, Haylie started and did not have her best stuff. She pitched 3 innings and gave up 3 runs (2 ER) off 5 hits. She had no BBs and 4 Ks. Sara came on in the 4th and did not give up any runs, off 3 hits. Sara had 2 BBs and 2 Ks.
On offense, Lauren had the hot bat going 2 for 3 with a long ball in the 6th. Lindsay M. went 2 for 2 with the other RBI.
In the second game, Megan was lights out. She pitched all 6 innings gave up no runs and scattered 5 hits. She finished with 4 walks and 4 strikeouts.
Romo was the offensive hero in the second game. She went 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs and a run scored. Silo went 2 for 3 with 1 RBI and 2 runs scored. Lyndsay D. went 2 for 4 with an RBI.
Overall not a great day but the split with the second place team does not hurt. We play 3 games this weekend at last-place Illinois then return home the following weekend against 6th place Wiskey. So if we go at least 4 for the next 6 then we will do no worse that tied for the B1G as Nebraska has 4 loses. I think will win all three at Illinois and win 2 for 3 versus Wiskey.
I also think Nebraska will lose one in their upcoming schedule with Wiskey. Nebraska also plays staee and Indiana. So my prediction is that we will end up with a 2 game lead over Nebraska while Minny and Purdue will be tied for 3rd.
Megan just continues to impress. She is now a full-fledged #1 pitcher. What a wonderful problem to have if you are Hutch: 3 legitimate Aces.
I cannot wait for the NCAA Tournament to start so we can get back to Oklahoma City.
The SB Team finished their weekend series with Minny in A-Maizing fashion today at Alumni Field. They defeated Minny 7-2 before a packed crowd.
Megan was in the circle and pitched all 7 innings. She finished with 2 runs (both ER) off 2 hits. She had only 3BB and 11 Ks.
Caitlin was the offensive hero today. She went 2 for 3 with 3 RBIs. Lauren went deep and long today going 1 for 2 with 3 RBIs. Romo went deep as well, going 1 for 2 with 1 RBI and 2 runs scored. Abby went 2 for 3 with a run scored. Lyndsay went 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored.
Sara Moulton was the starting pitcher before we knocked her out in the 6-run 5th inning. she finished with 3 runs (all ER) off 5 hits. She had 2 BB and 3 Ks. Sara is a very good pitcher and she ahs given us fits over the years. I, for one, am glad that she is graduating.
This weekend's 2 wins certainly puts us in the driver's seat for the Big Ten Championship. We travel to Purdue on Wednesday. If we take both games from Purdue, we will in-effect (not mathematicallY) have clinched the Big Ten title. We travel to Illinois this weekend and then hose Wiskey the following weekend.
MOD EDIT - we're going to lock this one. It was reported as having some over-the-top comments in it for MGoBlog purposes, and yeah, it does. - LSA
The SB Team will try to rebound from last night's disappointing loss to Minny. We should bounce back. Minny Pitcher Sara Moulton only pitched 4 innings yesterday so I would imagine that she will be the ball tonight.
This is a very important game for us. We need to pick up the pieces and have a convincing win.
For all the Directv Viewers, it is channel 610 @ 7pm.
First place in the Big Ten Softball standings is up for grabs this weekend when #12 (2nd B1G) Minnesota comes to town to face our beloved Wolverines. We are ranked #3 in both polls and 17th in the latest RPI. Games will be played Friday 6pm, Saturday 7pm (BTN) and Sunday 1pm (BTN Delayed).
Now, the winner of the series is not guaranteed the regular season standings winner; however, a clean sweep by the Leaders and Best will certainly make things very difficult for the next challenger, Purdue. We play Purdue later in the spring so we certainly are in the driver's seat.
We are coming into the weekend series 12-0 in the B1G, 34-6 overall with a 20 game winning streak. Minny comes in with a 10-3 B1G record, 32-6 overall. Minny has 3 loses in the B1G to Nebraska, Wisconsin and Northwestern.
Thus far in the B1G, we lead the league in BA at a whopping .364; followed by Northwestern at .328 and Purdue at .306. We are also leading the B1G in ERA at a stellar 1.51; followed by Minny at a respectable 1.80 and Nebraska at 2.18.
Minny leads the league in HRs at an impressive 47, followed by Nebraska at 43 and then us at 38. They also lead the league in least number of HRs surrendered. So the Minny pitching staff is formitable and will give us some trouble.
The key in this weekend's series will be our pitching. Minny is second to us in slugging % at .502. We are at .535. If our pitchers can have at least a good day; then we should win all 3. If we let them get their bats hot; then it will be more difficult.
My prediction: We will all 3 with an overall score of 18-5. Megan will get an opportunity to shine, most likely on Sunday. She will do great. Haylie and Sara should have their usual "lights-out" performances.
Now for the 'Way too early World Series" predictions: We will certainly host a home series but the question is can we improve our RPI enough to get into the top 8 to host a Super Regional? At present, it looks 50/50 on us being in the top 8. If we win out the rest of the season, then there is no question that a #3 ranked team should be in the Top 8 for the World Series. However, if we lose to anyone but Minny this weekend, our chances fall dramatically. We would need some serious help to remain in the Top 8.
My WS Prediction: We get a 7 or an 8 seed and host a Super Regional vs the other Regional Host Tennessee or Kentucky.
I will have an open thread for Saturday's game as well. Go Blue!!!