Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Big Ten Softball Power Rankings: Indiana Extends Win Streak to 18, Jumps in Rankings

March 31, 2023

The Big Ten is up for grabs. That was proven during conference play’s first weekend. 

Indiana made the largest jump both in the Power Rankings and in national rankings. The Hoosiers entered D1Softball’s national poll at No. 24 this week and knocked Maryland out of the Top 25 completely with a three-game sweep of the Terrapins. 

Northwestern swept Minnesota to hang on to the top spot and multiple teams fell three spots after losing to teams ranked below them.

Nebraska was the only other team to maintain its spot in the rankings. 

1. Northwestern

Previous: 1 | Record: 18-8, 3-0

Junior pitcher Lauren Boyd went 2-0 with a 0.00 earned run average, scattering nine hits and striking out nine in eight innings of work as Northwestern swept Minnesota. 

This is the first time Boyd has been awarded the honor and gives the Wildcats two consecutive weeks of the league’s top pitcher.

To top off the week, Northwestern clobbered DePaul 20-1 in five innings. Danielle Williams struck out 10 of the 16 batters she faced and carried a perfect game into the fifth inning. Angela Zedak was 3-for-3 with two homers and seven RBIs. Lauren Sciborski also hit a home run and drove in five runs.

Up Next: Iowa

2. Indiana

Previous: 11 | Record: 25-9, 5-0

An 18-game winning streak including a sweep of then-ranked Maryland and Purdue to open conference play gives Indiana the biggest jump in the power rankings this week. 

Sophomore infielder Sarah Stone was named the conference’s co-player of the week. She batted .455 with a 1.364 slugging percentage and .417 on-base percentage. She blasted three homers and drove in 10 RBIs with two homers and five RBIs coming in the series finale.

Taryn Kern earned her third freshman of the week honors after batting .556 with five hits (four for extra bases), two homers, three RBIs and three runs scored.

Up Next: Ohio State

3. Nebraska

Previous: 3 | Record: 24-10, 4-1

The Huskers swept Purdue and split with Iowa to go 4-1 on the week.

The power game was on display in the second game of the midweek doubleheader in Iowa City. Nebraska hit four homers which tied for the most in a game this season. Abbie Squier hit two, Brooke and Billie Andrews each had one.

Brooke Andrews has homered in four of her last six games.

Up Next: Michigan 

4. Ohio State

Previous: 6 | Record: 21-8, 2-1

Ohio State clinched its series over Michigan to start Big Ten Conference play. The win on Monday afternoon marked the first time in 33 years that the Buckeyes have won a series against the Wolverines.

Sam Hackenbracht and Meggie Otte drove in a team-high four runs during the three-game set. Allison Smith struck out 12 batters in 14.1 innings of work and Emily Ruck picked up a win and a save in 7.2 innings.

OSU capped off the exciting week with a 17-6 win over Dayton in midweek action.

Up Next: Indiana

5. Maryland

Previous: 2 | Record: 23-8, 0-3

The Terps were swept by Indiana in their first three games of conference play. 

Michaela Jones led the Maryland offense throughout the series. She finished the weekend batting .714 with five hits and two runs scored. Amelia Lech hit two home runs to bring her season total to 11 which is tied for tops in the Big Ten.

Up Next: Michigan State

6. Iowa

Previous: 8 | Record: 21-13, 3-2

Iowa earned a series win on the road at Penn State and then split a midweek doubleheader with Nebraska.

Senior Breanna Vasquez improved to 11-2 after six innings of work against the Huskers. She allowed two runs on five hits and struck out two. 

The Hawkeyes have matched their conference win total from last season through five games this season. Denali Loecker is ranked second in single-season history for saves (four).

Up Next: Northwestern

7. Minnesota 

Previous: 4 | Record: 19-13, 0-3

The Gophers were swept by Northwestern. They lost in extras in the first game, were run-ruled in five innings the next and lost by four in the finale.

Autumn Pease fell to 12-5 despite have a couple solid outings. Her best game was on Sunday, she struck out nine in five innings, gave up five runs, two earned, on four hits and three walks.

Up Next: Penn State

8. Wisconsin

Previous: 5 | Record: 15-9, 2-1

The Badgers won their series against Michigan State after coming from behind on Sunday. 

Katie Keller, Kayla Konwent and Skylar Sirdashney each hit a home run in the series and the Badgers defense turned its 12th double play of the season. Prior to the weekend, Wisconsin ranked ninth in Division I with 11 double plays.

Up Next: Illinois

9. Michigan

Previous: 10 | Record: 15-13, 1-2

The Wolverines fell to Ohio State for the first time since 1990.

It has been and up and down start to 2023 for Michigan but the Wolverines rebounded by beating Oakland 9-0 in five innings on Wednesday. Keke Tholl hit a two-run homer, Audrey LeClair hit a three-run shot and Melina Livingston hit her first long ball of the season to bring home two.

Up Next: Nebraska 

10. Penn State

Previous: 7 | Record: 19-6, 1-2

The Nittany Lions won an extra-inning game against Pittsburgh before dropping their weekend series to Iowa.

Liana Jones hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to lift PSU to their lone win against the Hawkeyes. It was the program’s first walk-off homer since April 3, 2019. Emily Maddock finished the series 9-for-14 with four RBIs. She leads the team with a .483 batting average this season.

Up Next: Minnesota

11. Rutgers

Previous: 12 | Record: 19-6, 3-0

Rutgers had one of the biggest surprises of the week when the Scarlet Knights swept Illinois.

Payton Lincavage was named the Big Ten Co-Player of the Week after batting .400 (6-for-10) with five extra-bases hits including three doubles and two home runs. She scored four runs and drove in four.

The award marked the fourth Big Ten weekly award for Rutgers this season.

Up Next: Purdue

12. Illinois

Previous: 9 | Record: 21-12, 0-3

Illinois was swept by Rutgers and then won two games against Indiana State in a midweek doubleheader. 

Sydney Sickels pitched a complete game in a 3-1 win. Lauren Wiles, Tori McQueen and Addy Jarvis combined to throw a shutout in a 6-0 victory in game two.

Delaney Rummell, Sydney Malott and Danielle Davis each recorded an RBI single in game one. Rummell hit her second home run of the season in game two.

Up Next: Wisconsin

13. Michigan State

Previous: 14 | Record: 10-14, 1-2

A win over Wisconsin moves Michigan State out of the cellar. The Spartans also won their midweek game over Central Michigan 3-0.

Faith Guidry posted a 1.72 ERA in just over 20 innings of work. She pitched two compete games and earned a save. 

AJ Militello led the team with a .417 batting average along with a triple, a home run and four runs scored. 

Up Next: Maryland

14. Purdue

Previous: 13 | Record: 15-18, 0-5

Purdue was swept on the road at Nebraska and then lost two close games to Indiana in a midweek doubleheader. 

The Boilermakers led or were tied with the Hoosiers for 64 percent of the innings played. They lost both games in the final inning of each game. 

Up Next: Rutgers

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