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Big Ten Softball Power Rankings: Maryland, Nebraska Swap Spots at Top

March 17, 2023

The weather may not be warm in College Park but Maryland is hot. The Terrapins are on a 10-game winning streak and have reclaimed the top spot in this week’s Big Ten Power Rankings.

Nebraska dropped down to No. 2 after a disappointing weekend at Wichita State and Northwestern’s week off keeps the Wildcats at No. 3.

Penn State continues to climb and Michigan State is consistently hanging out at No. 14.

P.S. It’s the last weekend of preseason or non-conference play.

1. No. 22 Maryland 

Previous: 2

Record: 19-4

Maryland is climbing the Top 25 rankings and outscored the Terrapins’ opponents 29-6 in four games last weekend. Keira Bucher was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week after surrendering only one hit and recording two saves in three appearances. 

The 10-game winning streak is their longest since 2011.

Up Next: Maryland is set to open its 2023 home slate by hosting the Capital City Classic. The Terps will play North Dakota, Texas Tech (twice), Bucknell and Rider.

2. RV Nebraska

Previous: 1

Record: 17-8

Nebraska finished 2-2 at Wichita State with two huge losses to the Shockers and two wins over Missouri State. Inclement weather forced the Huskers to adjust their schedule and instead of a single midweek game at Omaha. They played two and the Huskers won both.

Billie Andrews hit her 10th home run and her fifth leadoff homer. Caitlynn Neal and Ava Bredwell both extended their hitting streaks to 14 consecutive games.

Up Next: Nebraska will play two games on Sunday against Kansas City and Kansas. Their home opener is slated for Wednesday against Iowa State.

3. RV Northwestern

Previous: 3

Record: 9-7

The Wildcats haven’t played since March 5 and will be tested this weekend at the Omni Hall of Fame Classic.

Up Next: Northwestern heads to Oklahoma City for a five-game slate against No. 24 Auburn (twice), No. 1 Oklahoma and Weber State (twice). The Wildcats also have a midweek matchup against Illinois-Chicago.

4. Minnesota

Previous: 5

Record: 16-9

Fifth year senior Autumn Pease was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week after a dominating weekend at the Gopher Indoor Classic. 

Pease went 3-0 and didn’t allow an earned run in 15 innings. She struck out 27, walked one and gave up five hits.

Up Next: The Gophers will play South Dakota State and RV Wichita State on Friday. On Saturday, they play RV Arizona State and No. 2 Oklahoma State. 

5. Wisconsin

Previous: 8

Record: 13-8

Wisconsin had a huge weekend in Austin. The Badgers beat No. 25 Texas State twice and No. 19 Alabama. The last time Wisconsin defeated Alabama was on Feb. 22, 2002. 

Up Next: OFF

6. Penn State

Previous: 9

Record: 16-3

The Nittany Lions are moving up the rankings after a perfect weekend at South Florida. Penn State is outscoring its opponents 112-34 and outhitting opponents 136-62. 

Kylee Lingenfelter and Bailey Parshall both have earned run averages below 1.30 and the program is looking to tie or better its 18-3 start in 2006.

Up Next: The Penn State Softball Invitation will host UMBC, Cornell, Canisius and Binghamton followed by a midweek against Pitt.

7. Illinois

Previous: 4

Record: 17-9

Illinois recorded its 13th shutout of the season against Valparaiso on Wednesday and finished the week 5-3.

The Illini went 4-1 at the USF Tournament before dropping two games at Missouri.

Up Next: Illinois doesn’t play until Wednesday against Bradley.

8. Iowa

Previous: 7

Record: 16-9

Nia Carter extended her on-base streak to 17 games and has an 11-game hitting streak. Denali Loecker matched her RBI total from last season (27), Breanna Vasquez has not allowed a run in her last four appearances and Iowa finished The Spring Games 6-1.

Up Next: The Hawkeyes are staying in Florida to play Marist, Lehigh, USF and No. 11 Texas.

9. Ohio State

Previous: 10

Record: 12-7

Ohio State is on a six-game winning streak and the pitching staff has a collective ERA of 1.73. Melina Wilkison is batting a team-high .391 and she is batting .472 with nine RBIs over the last 10 games. 

Up Next: The Buckeyes wrap up their spring break trip with Cleveland State, East Carolina and Presbyterian before returning home for a midweek against Kent State.

10. Michigan

Previous: 11

Record: 12-10

Michigan was slated to play seven games last week but only played two. The Wolverines won both 4-0 and 9-0 gains Kent State and Bowling Green. Lauren Derkowski improved to 7-4.

Up Next: Michigan wraps up its tournament schedule at the John Cropp Classic in Lexington, Kentucky. The Wolverines will play Longwood, DePaul and No. 9 Kentucky (twice).

11. Rutgers

Previous: 6

Record: 17-10

Rutgers was rolling right along and hit a wall in Florida. The Scarlet Knights beat Mercer 6-3 and then dropped six consecutive games; two to RV Louisiana, one to Mercer, one to No. 10 Florida and two to Central Florida.

Up Next: Rutgers returns home for the Rutgers Softball Tournament and will host Holy Cross, Iona, UMass-Lowell and Saint Peter’s.

12. Indiana

Previous: 13

Record: 15-9

Indiana defeated Belmont in Nashville on Tuesday to push its winning streak to eight games. Freshman Taryn Kern was named Big Ten Player and Co-Freshman of the Week batting .571 with eight hits, two doubles, three home runs, three walks, eight runs scored and 12 RBIs.

Up Next: Indiana stays in Tennessee and will face Northwestern State and Memphis in Memphis.

13. Purdue

Previous: 12

Record: 13-9

Purdue lost two games in California at the Louisville Slugger Invitational, traveled to Mississippi for two games on Wednesday, which resulted in a split. The Boilermakers lone win last week was against North Dakota State. 

Up Next: Purdue stays in Mississippi at the Rebel Invitation and plays North Dakota State, Samford, St. Thomas and Ole Miss (twice).

14. Michigan State

Previous: 14

Record: 8-12

The Spartans have had a rough trip to the west coast. They finished 2-4 with three cancelations due to weather. But, they left on a good note, beating Yale 12-6 in San Diego. Jessica Mabrey hit two home runs in the contest and finished the game 3-for-4 with two homers, a double, a walk, five RBIs and three runs scored.

Up Next: Michigan State will have the weekend off and play Central Michigan on Tuesday.

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