1. Michigan (29-7, 6-3 Big Ten)
Hooray! Change! After a couple of weeks below the top spot, No. 13 Michigan has earned itself time at No. 1 following a convincing sweep of No. 18 Oklahoma at home this weekend. Anyone who reads these rankings with consistency knows we’ve been pointing at that series for a while, and the Wolverines outscored the Sooners 25-8 in the three-game set. Right now, Michigan is as safe a bet as any to win the conference and make a run in May/June.
2. Maryland (24-11, 9-3)
After Maryland lost to Nebraska last weekend, it almost felt like your typical mid-April mental lapse. And for no reason other than a confidence boost, the Terps’ dominating sweep of Penn State came at the perfect time. Like Michigan, the Terrapins scored 25 runs over three games and outscored PSU 23-5 in the final two.
3. Minnesota (21-10, 7-2)
On April 14 Minnesota beat Indiana 11-0 to win its 12th consecutive game. The Gophers then lost 13-12 despite a 21-hit outburst April 15, and didn’t score a single run in the series finale on April 16. An interesting series, but a hiccup for Minnesota nonetheless. This week, it’s a midweek affair with South Dakota State before a big home series against Nebraska over the weekend.
4. Nebraska (21-13-1, 5-3-1)
The Law of Averages told us the time was coming, but Iowa’s series win in Lincoln was still surprising. Coach Darin Erstad chalked much of it up to timely and untimely hitting, but at least NU salvaged a game in the finale April 16. No real reason to worry, but NU must respond well in Minneapolis this weekend.
5. Iowa (22-12, 5-4)
The Hawkeyes haven’t played the world’s most difficult schedule, but they’re also playing as good of baseball as any in the conference right now. Even better news is the upcoming slate: five Big Ten series remain, and all five opponents sit below them in the standings. The final stretch begins with a home series against lowly Rutgers this week.
6. Indiana (19-14-2, 6-5-1)
Indiana hasn’t been really great at any point throughout 2017, but the Hoosiers have found ways to keep themselves afloat. The latest is a big series win against Minnesota this weekend, when a nine-run fifth inning completely changed the complexity of the series for a team that had been outscored 19-4 to that point. The shutout in the April 16 finale was impressive, but we’ll see if IU can make anything of it moving forward.
7. Michigan State (20-12, 5-4)
The Spartans disposed of Ohio State in two of three games over the weekend. And while they won the first two, they gave up 13 runs in the finale. It might have been nice to play a little better April 16. Still, it’s a series win, and the Spartans have an opportunity to upset archrival Michigan in the midweek.
8. Purdue (18-17, 6-6)
Regardless of how the season ends, 2017 will be markedly better than 2016 for Purdue. But the Boilermakers’ chance at 30 wins took a significant hit in a series loss to Rutgers this weekend. Even tougher, they won the first game, too. Twenty-one games remain and Purdue needs 12 wins. It’s doable.
9. Illinois (14-19, 3-6)
The Illini haven’t been able to put much of anything together, but they did take two of three from Northwestern this weekend. But it doesn’t get any easier. With five Big Ten series left, the Illini still have to play Maryland, Minnesota and Iowa.
10. Ohio State (15-21, 4-8)
It’s been a trying year for a Buckeye program fresh off its first NCAA tournament since 2009, winning its first Big Ten title since 2007. The Buckeyes salvaged the final game of a series against Michigan State, and have a weekend off from the Big Ten upcoming home series against UNC Greensboro this weekend.