Saturday, April 26, 2014

Michigan Run-Ruled for First Time in 270 B1G Games

On April 22, 2000 (or April 23, according to some sources), B1G* softball power Michigan suffered a five-inning loss to Northwestern by a score of 12-0, via run-rule.

From 2000-2013, Michigan's softball program won 10 regular-season B1G titles (nine outright and one tie), made the Women's College World Series six times, and captured the NCAA national championship in 2005 (see UM's softball record book).

Entering Friday night's game at Illinois, the Wolverines had played 270 B1G regular-season conference games (i.e., excluding the conference tourney) since being run-ruled by Northwestern in 2000. In fact, Michigan had lost only 41 conference games during that time, an average of roughly three per season.

With Michigan coming into last night's game with a 15-2 conference record, compared to Illinois's 3-14, the occasion would not have seemed ripe for the Wolverines to be run-ruled in a B1G contest for the first time in 14 years and 270 games!

As a proud University of Michigan graduate, it pains me to say it, but it happened. The Wolverines were indeed run-ruled by the Illini, 10-2 in 6 innings. Credit Illinois with timely hitting in bunches. As the linked game article notes, "Four two-out hits in the bottom of the fourth led to Illinois' three runs. Three doubles in the sixth led to the run-rule decision." Four Michigan errors didn't help either.

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*This is the wordmark for the Big Ten Conference. If one reads the "1" like an "I," it says BIG. Also, the "1G" is supposed to be read as a 10.

Cross-posted at my Hot Hand Blog on sports streakiness.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Top Teams Struggle

National No. 1 UCLA avoided a three-game sweep at the hands of No. 3 Oregon today in Eugene, with a 6-1 win. The Ducks had taken the first two games of the series, 9-7 and 12-4 (run rule).

No. 2 Tennessee likewise (and more unexpectedly) lost two of three this weekend, playing against unranked LSU. The Tigers defeated the Vols in the first two games of the series, before Tennessee salvaged Game 3.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Bruins-Ducks Battle; Vols and Tide on the Rise

No. 1 UCLA plays a three-game series at No. 3 Oregon this weekend, in the nation's marquee match-up. According to the UCLA news release, "With a 33-2 record, the Bruins are off to their best start since the 2001 season when they began the year 39-2."

Tennessee, having risen to No. 2 in both of the major national polls after a three-game sweep over Florida last weekend, travels to Baton Rouge to take on LSU. The Vols (8-1) are one of two SEC teams with only one conference loss. The other is Alabama (11-1), which hosts Arkansas this weekend (two of the games will be shown on the ESPN Family of Networks). The Crimson Tide has overcome some non-conference losses to reach No. 4 in the two national polls.