Idled by rain, Michigan softball still closes in on fifth straight Big Ten title
Chris Asadian | AnnArbor.com
Rain wiped out the Michigan softball team’s final game of a weekend series at Wisconsin, but the Wolverines return to Ann Arbor in much better position to win their fifth consecutive Big Ten title.
All four teams challenging No. 23-ranked Michigan (36-15, 15-5) for first place in the conference took a step backward in that race over the weekend.
Michigan (36-15, 15-5) swept a Saturday doubleheader from Wisconsin (33-17, 12-8), which had trailed the Wolverines by one game. Sunday’s canceled game will not be made up.
Purdue and Nebraska were both 1/2 game back entering their weekend series. The Boilermakers (31-19, 13-7) lost two of three games against eighth-place Minnesota and Nebraska (31-21, 12-8) was swept in a three-game series at sixth-place Indiana.
After sweeping a Saturday doubleheader, Iowa lost 2-1 to 11th-place Ohio State on Sunday, leaving the Hawkeyes (25-25, 14-7) as Michigan’s primary threat heading into next weekend’s regular-season ending series.
The Wolverines can clinch their 15th regular season title in the past 21 years by winning two of three games against Purdue at Alumni Field in Ann Arbor. The teams play a single game Friday night (6 p.m., BTN) and a doubleheader beginning at noon Saturday.
The Hawkeyes, who have won four straight Big Ten series for the first time since 2004, play three games at Minnesota. Iowa hasn't finished higher than third place in the conference standings since it won a regular season and tournament title in 2003.
The Big Ten discontinued its postseason tournament prior to the 2009 season.