The fans at Minnesota’s Jane Sage Cowles Stadium will become the first to witness Northwestern Softball’s victory tour Saturday afternoon thanks to Indiana, who defeated second-place Nebraska Friday night to award the ‘Cats their first Big Ten regular-season title since 2008.
The Cornhuskers’ 5-0 loss propelled the ‘Cats three games out of reach at the top of the standings despite the team’s game one drop to Minnesota in its final series of the regular season.
Northwestern reached the milestone with an 18-3 conference record and two contests against the Gophers remaining before postseason play. The ‘Cats swept 5 of the 7 B1G foes they faced, dropping a matchup each to then-No. 23 Michigan and Illinois. Of its 19 conference wins, Northwestern posted four shutouts and six run-rule victories.
The 2022 conference title marks the program’s seventh overall and first outright since 2006. That year, Northwestern finished conference play with a 16-3 record and made its deepest NCAA Tournament run ever, finishing off the season as runner-up in the Women’s College World Series. What Kate Drohan’s ‘06 team did not do, however, was win the Big Ten Tournament.
This year’s squad will travel to East Lansing as the No. 1 seed upon finishing out its regular season in Minneapolis. This means the ‘Cats have earned themselves a trip straight to the quarterfinals on Thursday, May 12, where they will face the No. 8/9 winner at 12:30 p.m. CST on Big Ten Network.
In the meantime, Northwestern will celebrate its title this weekend over its final two games against the Gophers on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. CST and Sunday at 3:30 p.m. CST.