Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Big Ten Softball Power Rankings: Big Shakeup as March Continues

March 10, 2023

As expected, there was a big shakeup in the Big Ten this week.

I mentioned this on Behind the Plate this week, but I tend to agree with the D1 Softball Rankings more than any of the others. Their Top 25 seems to be more objective and involve the eye test.

The only teams who remained in the same spot as last week are Purdue, Indiana and Michigan State.

1.ย No. 24 Nebraska

Previous: 3

Record: 14-6

The Huskers went 5-0 in Tucson including a 10-3 win over No. 19 Arizona. Courtney Wallace improved to 8-3 and Katelyn Caneda was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week. Caneda was 8-for-17 with two doubles, a home run, five RBIs and four runs scored.

Up Next: The Huskers continue non-conference play at the Shocker Classic with two games against No. 23 Wichita State and two games against Missouri State. Nebraska will plays its first in-state game at Omaha on March 15.

(Editor’s note: Join Maren and Nate Rohr at Hail Varsity Club on Wednesday, March 15 following Nebraska’s matchup with Omaha. ย There will be softball trivia and more for the whole family to enjoy.)

2. No. 25 Maryland

Previous: 1

Record: 15-4

The Terps honestly dropped one spot because they didnโ€™t play a ranked opponent. They went 5-0 against Saint Josephโ€™s, East Carolina and Monmouth. They will face a hard test this weekend at the Liberty Tournament when they close out the weekend against the Liberty Flames.

Up Next: Two games against Fairfield and single games against Ball State, Sacred Heart and Liberty awaits Maryland.

3. RV Northwestern

Previous: 2

Record: 9-7

A 5-2 loss to Toledo caused Northwestern to drop in this weekโ€™s power rankings. Hannah Cady provided the offense with a two-run homer and Sydney Supple fell to 1-3 with the loss. She gave up three runs, two earned, on four hits in just over two innings of work. She walked one and struck out one.

Up Next: The Wildcats are off this weekend.

4. Illinois

Previous: 9

Record: 12-6

Illinois went 3-1 with wins against North Carolina A&T, UNC Wilmington and Columbia. The Illini lost to South Carolina 4-1. Avrey Steiner record-career hit No. 199 with a 3-for-4 performance against Columbia. The infielder struggled all weekend going 0-for-9 in the first three games.

Up Next: The USF Tournament will bring five games against Florida Gulf Coast, South Florida (twice), Marist and Saint Francis (PA). Illinois will play at Mizzou on Tuesday in a midweek doubleheader.

5. Minnesota

Previous: 4

Record: 11-9

The Gophers earned a 4-1 win against No. 19 Oregon and a 7-4 win against RV Cal State Fullerton. They finished 3-3 on the weekend with a 9-6 loss to Seattle and 2-1 loss at San Diego State.

Up Next: Minnesota is set to host a historic weekend. The Gopher Indoor Classic at U.S. Bank Stadium will host games against North Dakota State, Central Michigan, Idaho State, Drake and St. Thomas.

6. Rutgers

Previous: 8

Record: 16-4

Rutgers went 4-1 with a loss to Texas Tech in Lubbock. Kyleigh Sand extended her on-base streak to 56 games and is three games away from tying the Big Ten record of 59 which was set by Adrienne Monka of Northwestern in 2011-12.

Up next: The Scarlet Knights will face their first ranked competition this weekend at the Bubly Invitational. They will play No. 13 Florida, RV Louisiana and Mercer. They will stay in Florida and play RV Central Florida in a midweek doubleheader on Tuesday.

7. Iowa

Previous: 6

Record: 11-8

Iowa went 3-2 with losses to South Dakota and Omaha. The Hawkeyes beat Alcorn State, Omaha and Central Arkansas. The split against Omaha didnโ€™t hurt Iowa in the rankings. The loss was to Kam Meyer who is one the top pitchers in the country. The win against UCA was huge as UCA beat No. 9 Arkansas in a midweek contest.

Up Next: Iowa heads to The Spring Games in Madeira Beach, Florida. The Hawkeyes will face South Alabama, UT Chattanooga, Princeton, Lehigh, Bucknell and Lafayette.

8. Wisconsin

Previous: 11

Record: 10-6

Wisconsin went 4-0 and out scored their opponents 31-3. The Badgers are riding an eight-game winning streak and head coach Yvette Healy reached career win No. 500. Junior pitcher Gabi Salo picked up two wins improved to 3-0 and has an earned run average of 0.69 in 20.1 innings so far this season.

Up next: The Badgers will be tested in every game this weekend at the Bevo Classic in Austin. The Badgers will play Texas State, No. 11 Texas and No. 10 Alabama.

9. Penn State

Previous: 10

Record: 12-3

Penn State went 3-0 with one cancellation over the weekend. The Nittany Lion outscored opponents 27-3 and began weekend play on Thursday with two wins against Florida Gulf Coast and South Florida.

Up Next: Three more games remain on the schedule this weekend against St. Francis (PA), Marist and another matchup against FGCU.

10. Ohio State

Previous: 7

Record: 6-6

Ohio State had its lone week off for the season.

Up Next: The Buckeyes head to Conway, S.C. and will play Coastal Carolina, Canisius and Houston Christian. They will played midweeks at Charleston Southern and College of Charleston on Tuesday and Wednesday.

11. Michigan

Previous: 5

Record: 11-10

Michigan went 3-2 at the Judi Garman with losses to No. 2 UCLA and No. 8 LSU. This isnโ€™t the same Michigan program we are used to seeing in years past. In general, the Wolverines are beating teams they should beat and losing to ranked opponents with a couple of exceptions.

On Thursday, graduates student Lexie Blair established a new program record with her 62nd career double.

Up Next: Weather has forced the Wolverines to alter their schedule for the weekend. They now have the weekend off and will host Bowling Green on Wednesday.

12. Purdue

Previous: 12

Record: 11-6

Purdue dropped the first game of the weekend to North Carolina and then won the next three. Shortstop Tyrina Jones was named Big Ten Player of the Week following her stellar weekend. She hit .533 with two homers and six RBIs. She has scored a run in 12 of the last 13 games and recorded one RBI in three straight contests. She now has 21 RBIs this season.

Up Next: The Boilermakers are in Fullerton, California, this weekend for the Louisville Slugger Invitational. The first two games have been cancelled but they have three games against Long Beach State, Weber State and Sacramento State. They will travel to to Starkville, Mississippi, for a midweek with Mississippi State on Wednesday.

13. Indiana

Previous: 13

Record: 9-9

Indiana finished the weekend 3-1. In the final game against IUPUI, the Hoosiers stole seven bases for a season total of 38 and tying the Big Ten record for most stolen bases in a single game this season. Sophomore pitcher Brianna Copeland implored to 3-0.

Up Next: Indiana heads to Nashville, Tennessee, for the Lipcomb Tournament and will play Evansville, Lipscomb and Akron.

14. Michigan State

Previous: 14

Record: 7-12

The Spartans finished the ASU Classic 1-4 with the lone win coming against Houston. Freshman Kayla Bane hit her first career home run in 3-2 loss to Boise State. The long ball was also her first career hit and the game was her first career start.

Up Next: MSU stayed on the West Coast and will play in the Torero Classic and face off against San Diego, Yale and Western Carolina.

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