Michigan Nabs 5th Straight Big Ten Crown

The No. 22-ranked Michigan softball team is now the first Big Ten team to win five straight conference titles after sweeping a doubleheader with Purdue (8-0 in game one, 8-5 in five innings in game two) on Saturday at Wilpon Softball Complex. Click inside for Saturday’s schedule, links to school team pages,  or go to the national softball scoreboard for all the games.

Northwestern 10, Illinois 2: A nine-run fourth inning – including eight unearned tallies – doomed Illinois softball in a 10-2 six-inning loss to Northwestern at Drysdale Field on Saturday afternoon. The Illini conclude the regular season with a 27-26 overall record and 10-14 mark in Big Ten play. Northwestern finishes the regular season on a six-game winning streak and with wins in eight of its last nine games. The Wildcats are 27-27 on the year, 14-10 in the Big Ten. Illinois falls to 27-26 overall with its loss, 10-14 in the conference.

Purdue at Michigan: Game 1: Michigan 8, Purdue 5. The Boilermaker softball team battled back from a 7-0 deficit but couldn’t quite pull off the comeback, falling 8-5 to No. 22 Michigan in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader. All eight of Michigan’s runs were unearned, while Purdue earned four of its five. Read more at PurdueSports.com.

Game 2: Michigan 8, Purdue 0. Michigan secured the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Championship and clinched the outright Big Ten Championship on Saturday, following its win over Purdue in the first game of their doubleheader. The conference title is Michigan’s fifth in a row, a conference record, and 15th overall in program history. The Wolverines will make their 20th appearance, including 18 consecutive, in the national tournament. A seven-run third inning gave Michigan all the run support it would need in the 8-5 victory. The Wolverines’ runs were all unearned as Purdue committed four errors in the inning. Seven Michigan players scored at least one run in the game, while Sara Driesenga earned the victory. Read more at MGoBlog.com.

Ohio State 4, Penn State 1: Ohio State Finished out the 2012 campaign on a strong note, claiming a series victory at Penn State Saturday with a 4-1 victory vs. the Nittany Lions. With two wins at Penn State, the Buckeyes become the first team this season to claim a series win at Beard Field. Ohio State concludes the season with a 31-23 overall record and a 10-13 mark in Big Ten play.

Indiana at Michigan State: Game 1: Indiana 6, Michigan State 5 (8). It took extra innings but the Indiana Hoosiers (29-25, 13-10 Big Ten) extended their win streak to five games with a 6-5 victory over the Michigan State Spartans at Secchia Stadium on Saturday afternoon in game one of a doubleheader. Shannon Cawley’s deep sac fly to center field plated the eventual winning run in the eighth inning for the Hoosiers.

Game 2: Indiana 6, Michigan State 5 The Indiana Hoosiers (30-25, 14-10 Big Ten) finished the regular season with a 6-5 victory over the Michigan State Spartans (11-42, 0-23 Big Ten) at Secchia Stadium in game two of a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon. The Hoosiers picked up its second three-game sweep in as many weekends in Big Ten play. Read more at IUHoosiers.com.

Iowa at Minnesota: Game 1: Minnesota 4, Iowa 1. Game 2: Iowa 5, Minnesota 4. Senior Liz Watkins’ fourth inning grand slam propelled the University of Iowa softball team to a 5-4 victory over Minnesota in game two of the Saturday doubleheader at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.  The Gophers won the opener, 4-1, but the Hawkeyes claimed their fifth straight series, taking 2-of-3 games on the weekend.

Nebraska 4, Wisconsin 1: The Nebraska softball team earned a third-place finish in the final Big Ten Conference standings with a 4-1 victory over Wisconsin in front of the third-largest crowd in school history on Saturday at Bowlin Stadium. The Huskers unofficially set a new record for the World’s Largest Softball Tailgate on Saturday, drawing 1,752 fans to the event. Illinois held the record with 1,445 fans in attendance at its 2007 World’s Largest Softball Tailgate. Saturday’s Husker crowd was the third-largest in school history. Read the full recap at Huskers.com.

Get the latest Big Ten softball standings and Big Ten softball statistics at BigTen.org.

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