If you can believe it, the 2023 softball regular season has just two weekends left to go. Where has the time gone?
The Michigan Wolverines are probably asking that themselves. While they sit at a respectable No. 32 in the latest RPI rankings, there’s not much room to climb any further without some serious help.
This weekend's series against the Indiana Hoosiers perhaps represents the Wolverines’ last concrete chance at gaining some marquee wins this season. Tied for second in the Big Ten with a conference record of 12-5, the Hoosiers are looking to secure a top-three seed in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament, while Michigan is focused on getting back into a groove after an emotional series loss to the Northwestern Wildcats.
Scouting the Hoosiers
In a nutshell, Indiana can best be described as a team living on the mantra of high risk, high reward.
First, the reward. The Hoosiers are one of the top hitting teams in the conference, with six batters currently hitting greater than .320, and five sitting at or around a 1.000+ on-base plus slugging percentage. The clubhouse leader is freshman sensation Taryn Kern, with a stat line that’ll make any opponent’s eyes water: a .467 batting average, 1.582 OPS, 19 home runs and 57 runs batted in.
The flip side of that is a pitching staff that has struggled to keep the base paths empty. None of the Hoosiers’ three qualified hurlers post an ERA under 3.00, with two hovering at or over 4.00. The culprit seems to be in the doubles department — current clubhouse leader Brianna Copeland has given up a whopping 35 doubles in 35 appearances, with the next two pitchers in the rotation giving up an additional 33 combined.
In short — expect a high scoring weekend if Michigan’s Lauren Derkowski can’t conjure up a bit more of the magic she’s had in recent outings.
Schedule (all game times in EDT, TV and streaming options where available)
Friday, April 28 - vs. Indiana (6 p.m., B1G+)
Saturday, April 29 - vs. Indiana (2 p.m., B1G+)
Sunday, April 30 - vs. Indiana (2 p.m., ESPNU)