"He's a hard worker, and he watched me and Tim (Hardaway Jr.) and Nik (Stauksas) put work in to become (first-round picks), and I'm just happy he's getting better," Burke said. "It's great for the program, too. It shows what type of program the University of Michigan is and the direction it continues to go in."
The Wisconsin Badgers took on Nebraska in a double-header today with major Big Ten Title implications across the board. After getting trashed 12-0 (5 inn.) in the first game, the Badgers bounced back in game two, topping Nebraska 6-4 in a what looked like a real thriller of a game (I was only able to watch the end of it).
This is a huge help to Michigan heading into the last weekend of Big Ten play, as the Wolverines now hold a two-game lead over the Huskers with just three to go. The Huskers will most likely sweep a weak Indiana team, so this was probably the last chance Michigan had at getting a helping hand. The Badgers themselves aren't completely out of the picture, sitting three games back, but they would need to earn a sweep in Ann Arbor and get a lot of help elsewhere. Minnesota is also still in the picture, but a cancelled game earlier in the season means I don't know how the math works out for them.
Michigan has been struggling for the last week, and took a bit of a hit in the polls (fortunately it was not too bad - the Wolverines actually still sit in the crucial top 8 of both polls and are still in the top 16 in terms of RPI) and Big Ten standings. Even so, by my counts all it will take is one more win to lock up at least a share of the Big Ten Championship, and two to secure yet another ouright title. Wisconsin is a very strong team though, and the last week has certainly taught us not to take anything for granted! If you'll be in Ann Arbor this weekend, you'd best get down to Alumni Field & get loud - this is a huge series and should be some great softball!
A nice little article on one of the brightest stars on Michigan's campus right now. It's a little fluffy, of course, but it's good to see that Romo is getting the national attention she deserves. Also, I never mind having an excuse to remind people that something really special is happening in Ann Arbor, and the time to pay attention is now!
The Michigan Softball and Women's Lacrosse teams played today (well, yesterday technically) and both won in dominating fashion.
The softball team won at CMU 11-0 in five innings. Romero hit a home run on her very first pitch and Sierra Lawrence and Kelly Christner each had home runs. Megan Betsa and Sara Driesenga were both solid on the mound for Michigan's 3rd straight shutout. Michigan has now won 20 straight, the sixth time in program history that has happened. The team has a big weekend against Big Ten #2 Minnesota this weekend. Winning at least one would be big, winning two or three would be huge.
Michigan Women's Lacrosse also won its third game (second straight) of the year against Detroit, 16-6. This is the most goals Michigan has scored this year and the fewest allowed this year. Detroit has had a team for longer than Michigan, so winning 16-6 is certainly a good sign for the future.
After breezing past WMU in a mid-week mercy rule walk-through, the Maize & Blue softball squad took Sparty to the woodshed in a 3-game sweep. The Wolverines bombed the Spartans back into the Stone Age, delivering 9-1, 8-0, and 14-0 drubbings.
The pitching and defense were outstanding, as Michigan allowed only one earned run (a solo homer off of Wagner) on the weekend and did not commit a single error. The Wolverines came into the weekend at 11th nationally in team ERA and 4th in fielding percentage, and managed to improve their stats in both of those categories (NCAA won't update their database until later, so I don't know about ranks). For a team that struggled defensively last year, this is a major bonus. All three pitchers have been dominating since Big Ten play began, and the fielding is first-rate. If this can keep up as competition gets stiffer, Michigan has a great chance to go deep in the tournament.
Offensively, it was more of the same. Romero went 5-for-8 on the weekend and drew a pile of walks. She crossed home-plate multiple times in each game. Romo came into the weekend 6th in the nation in runs per game, and improved her numbers. This is a great testimony to her insane on-base percentage, but even more so to the ability of the rest of the team to push her across. It has to be a huge help when she's up there drawing walk after walk & hitting singles instead of homers to have that trust, and the trust has been well-earned - major praise to the whole hitting line-up!
A fun side-note on Sunday's game: Michigan hit for the cycle in home runs as a team, delivering, one, two, and three run blasts along with Driesenga's pinch-hit grand slam to finish off the scoring in a 10-run 7th inning.
After a mid-week match-up against CMU, the 2nd place Golden Gophers come to town for a 3-game set. As long as Michigan gets a win, they'll retain a multi-game lead, and 2 out of 3 would put us in great position, but you can bet the team has it's eye on a sweep!
After brushing aside MSU in mercy-rule fashion in games 1 & 2, Michigan looks to complete the three-game sweep today at noon. The game will be up in East Lansing and broadcast on the Big Ten Network (for some reason Mgoblue.com isn't showing this, but BTN's schedule says it on). For many of us this will be the first time to see the team in action, so hopefully they have a great game! A win would send Michigan into next week's huge showdown with Minnesota with at least a 3-game lead (could be up to 4 depending on how Northwestern fares against the Gophers today). Let's go Blue!