BigTen softball tournament begins Thursday in Lincoln
The postseason has arrived and conference teams converge on Lincoln for the 2013 Big Ten Softball Tournament, held Thursday through Sunday. Four games are scheduled for Thursday's opening round, with four more slated for Friday's quarterfinals. Saturday will feature a pair of semifinal contests before the tournament concludes on Sunday with the tournament championship game.
Michigan earned the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament after winning its sixth straight Big Ten Championship. Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin also earn top-four seeds and first-round byes.
BTN will provide live coverage of Saturday's semifinals and Sunday's final.
Michigan's Sierra Romero becomes the second player in conference history to win both Player and Freshman of the Year honors, while mentor Carol Hutchins wins Coach of the Year and Nebraska's Tatum Edwards win Pitcher of the Year.
The Big Ten is one of three conferences, joining the SEC and Pac-12, with eight or more teams in the top 65 of the latest RPI. Michigan appears in the top 10 at No. 7, followed by No. 11 Nebraska, No. 26 Wisconsin, No. 31 Minnesota, No. 33 Iowa, No. 41 Northwestern, No. 60 Ohio State and No. 63 Illinois.
Four Big Ten teams are receiving votes in the national rankings this week, including two in the top 15. Michigan appears at No. 6 in the NFCA rankings and No. 8 in the USA Softball poll, while Nebraska is 14th in the USA Softball poll and 16th in the NFCA standings. Minnesota and Wisconsin are among the teams receiving votes in both polls.
Michigan's Sierra Romero (runs per game, slugging percentage, home runs, RBI per game), Minnesota's Sara Moulton (wins, shutouts) and Kaitlyn Richardson (on-base percentage), Northwestern's Amy Letourneau (strikeouts) and Penn State's Cassidy Bell (on-base percentage, slugging percentage, home runs, walks) rank among the top 10 nationally in their respective stat categories.
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