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Weekend prospectus: women's tennis, softball, baseball

The detailed women’s lacrosse preview of NU's first-round NCAA match-up against Boston College was posted earlier today, but there are still several other NU teams in action this weekend. The women’s tennis team is playing in the first round of the NCAA tournament at home today, while the baseball and softball teams are playing for their postseason lives. Here’s the rundown—

Women’s tennis: No. 16 seed NU is hosting the first and second round regionals this weekend. Earlier today in first-round action, NU defeated the IPFW Mastadons (who have one of the best mascots in college sports, up there with the UC-Santa Cruz Banana Slugs and the UC-Irvine Anteaters), 4-0. In the second round tomorrow at noon, the Wildcats will play Notre Dame, which swept Fresno State, 4-0. The Fighting Irish will be a tough match-up. In their dual match earlier this year, Notre Dame held a 3-0 lead on the Wildcats, before NU stormed back for the 4-3 win.

Softball: NU closes out the regular season with a two-game set at Penn State. The teams square off today at 4 p.m. CT and again Saturday at noon CT. The Wildcats are 23-18 on the year, and they’re ranked 57th in RPI, so they almost definitely need a sweep and a ton of help from other teams in order to make the NCAA tournament. Though there are 64 berths in the tourney, only 33 of them are for at-large bids, and there will likely be a bunch of lower-RPI teams that win their conferences to snag automatic bids. Penn State is 25-22 and ranked 47th in RPI.

Baseball: The Wildcats (17-27, 7-11 Big Ten) host a three-game series against Michigan (15-33, 6-12). Today’s first pitch is at 3 p.m CT, while the games Saturday and Sunday (Senior Day) start at 1 p.m. NU sits in eighth place in the conference, just one game out of sixth, which is the cut-off for Big Ten tournament qualification. The Wildcats are coming off a pair of mid-week non-conference wins against UIC and the University of Chicago, while Michigan appears ripe for the picking. The Wolverines have dropped their last six Big Ten games. If you’re scoreboard watching, the other match-ups to watch are Michigan State (13-5 in conference) at Indiana (8-10), Minnesota (11-7) at Penn State (8-10), and Iowa (7-11) at Ohio State (10-8).