This past weekend, the Michigan softball team was given some much needed confidence with four wins against Indiana and Purdue. Before the Big Ten season, the Wolverines knew their postseason prospects were in jeopardy, but they responded this weekend.
“I felt really good about our team”s confidence to win the games,” Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said.
The two wins ensured that Michigan would remain atop the Big Ten at 6-0, with the Hawkeyes trailing at 7-1. Iowa”s only blemish this season is a 3-0 loss at Penn State.
Although the Boilermakers and the Hoosiers are in the bottom half of the standings, spots three through 11 are up for grabs. Only the Wolverines and Iowa have a winning conference record.
The Wolverines will need this newfound confidence with all but one of Michigan”s remaining games, after a doubleheader against Central Michigan tomorrow, against Big Ten foes.
“We”re still a work in progress but I”m really pleased and I think we”ve gotten better every week,” Hutchins said. “A good time to get going, and playing good ball is in April.”
While other teams in the Big Ten shot out to strong non-conference records, they are now falling down to reality with the heart of the conference season.
Wisconsin, Ohio State and Penn State each had at least a .600 record, but are now playing at best .500 ball.
The Buckeyes epitomize this case. After a 26-9 record going into the conference season, they are now sixth in the Big Ten but in the logjam near third place. They have demolished cupcakes like Cleveland State and Buffalo, but now find themselves losing to teams like eighth-place Illinois which Michigan defeated 10-2 and 2-0 two weekends ago.
Michigan was disappointed with its beginning of the season, but it is now where it wants to be winning late in the season.
The Wolverines will hit the road for seven straight away games after tomorrow. But they should be in a good position to stay atop the conference as they will not face Iowa until they return.