Recap courtesy of MGoBlue.com
The. No. 3-ranked University of Michigan softball team (48-6) will kick off the postseason this weekend at the 2015 Big Ten Conference Tournament at Buckeye Field in Columbus, Ohio. The tournament's No. 1 seed after capturing their eighth straight regular-season title, the Wolverines will open play against Penn State at 2:30 p.m. on Friday (May 8). The semifinals and championship game are both slated for Saturday (May 9). The final three rounds of the tournament will be aired live on the Big Ten Network.
• Michigan is the No. 1 seed in the B1G Tournament for the third consecutive season. The Wolverines have won the league tournament eight of the 17 times it has been contested, posting a program record of 36-14 at the event. U-M's last Big Ten Tournament title was 2006.
• Michigan captured its eighth consecutive Big Ten title -- a streak that dates to 2008 -- with its sweep against Penn State last weekend. U-M posted a 21-2 league record, finishing one game ahead of second-place Minnesota. No other Big Ten team has won more than two league crowns in a row (Northwestern, 1984-85).
• The Wolverines claimed all eight Big Ten series this season, including sweeps against Ohio State, Rutgers, Indiana, Michigan State, Maryland and Penn State. Twelve of Michigan's 21 conference wins came via run rule. U-M outscored its Big Ten opponents, 202-40.
• Sophomore RHP Megan Betsa was a unanimous selection as Big Ten Pitcher of the Year. She is the 12th different Wolverine pitcher to earn the distinction. U-M has claimed 13 total league Pitcher of the Year honors since 1992. Head coach Carol Hutchins was named Big Ten Coach of the Year for the 15th time in her career. She has claimed six of the last eight coaching awards.
• Betsa, sophomore leftfielder Kelly Christner, junior Sierra Romero and senior LHP Haylie Wagner were voted to the first team. Betsa, Christner and Romero were all unanimous selections. U-M's second team selections were junior centerfielder Sierra Lawrence, sophomore shortstop Abby Ramirez and senior catcher Lauren Sweet. Christner, Lawrence and Wagner were also named to the All-Defensive Team.
• The Wolverines currently lead the nation with 101 home runs this season and ranks fourth with 1.87 homers per game. U-M also ranks fourth nationally with a .623 team slugging percentage and fifth in scoring with 8.13 runs per game.
NCAA Home Run Leaders:
1. MICHIGAN -- 101
2. Oklahoma -- 99
3. Georgia State -- 98
4. Louisiana Lafayette -- 97
5. Auburn -- 93
• Michigan's 101 home runs are already the second most in program history. The Michigan school record is 103, registered in 2005.
• Sophomore Kelly Christner batted .889 (8-for-9) with a double, home run and eight runs batted in in U-M's weekend sweep against Penn State. She tallied back-to-back three-hit games in the series first two games, knocking out her team-best 18th home run of the season in the opener. She went 2-for-2 with three RBI in the finale, driving in a run in three at-bats, including the game-ending single in the bottom of the fifth. Christner is hitting .556 at home this season.
• Christner leads the Wolverines with 18 home runs apiece. Twelve different Wolverines have tallied at least one homer. U-M has recorded multiple home runs in 19 of its last 30 games.
• Junior Sierra Romero knocked out a two-run bomb at Maryland to up her career home run tally to 58 and move into a share of the second spot among U-M's all-time leaders -- tied with Dorian Shaw (58, 2008-11). Samantha Findlay (2005-08) owns the Wolverine record with 62. Romero also sits in the second spot among Michigan's all-time RBI leaders with 206. She is 13 shy of the record holder Samantha Findlay (219, 2005-08).
• Senior Lauren Sweet boasts a career-high 45 RBI this season; her previous best was 35, which she recorded through 57 games last year. She also boasts a career-best 11 home runs and .328 average on the year -- a 41-point improvement over her previous best. Sweet knocked out two home runs in the series opener against Penn State. It marks her second collegiate multi-homer game. She also knocked out two against California in 2013.
• Junior Sierra Lawrence has already registered career highs in doubles (14) and home runs (13) this season. She also boasts a career-best .379 average on the year -- a 28-point improvement over her previous best.
• The Wolverines boast 25 run-rule wins this season, including 11 of their last 15 Big Ten games.
• Michigan has posted double-digit hits in 21 games this season, including 20 of the last 41 games.
• Michigan has the second best team ERA in the nation with 1.51.
• The Wolverines' pitching staff boasted a 0.88 ERA over the three-game Penn State series, allowing just two earned runs, nine hits and seven walks while striking out 18 over 16 innings pitching. The Wolverines boast a paltry 0.89 ERA over their last 15 games.
• Sophomore RHP Megan Betsa has allowed just three hits over her last three games, featuring a seven-inning no-hitter at Maryland and a pair of one-hit games against Penn State. She has also given up only eight runs over her last 54 innings pitched.
• Betsa boasts 10 double-digit strikeout games this season, including four of her last seven. She struck out 16 over nine innings in the weekend series vs. Penn State. She owns a career-best 260 strikeouts this season -- 94 more than her 2014 total (150).
• Senior LHP Haylie Wagner collected her 95th career win against Penn State. She owns the fourth spot among U-M's all-time leaders and is three wins shy of the third spot, currently held by Jennie Ritter (98, 2003-06). With wins in her last 10 starts -- plus a win in relief vs. MSU -- Wagner also moved to second all-time with a career .847 winning percentage. She shares the spot with Sara Griffin (1995-98). Jordan Taylor (2008-11) owns the Michigan program record with a .856 winning percentage.
• Wagner also moved to seventh among U-M's all-time strikeout leaders with 486. She is a ways from the sixth spot, currently held by Sara Griffin (602).