UM’s Carol Hutchins is Big Ten coach of year for 17th time in 34 seasons

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Carol Hutchins

They say batting .300 gets you in the Hall of Fame. Well, Carol Hutchins is batting .500.

Michigan's Hutchins was named Big Ten softball coach of the year Wednesday — the 17th time she has won the award in her 34th year at the helm of the storied Wolverines' program, after signing a new, five-year contract before the season that pays her more than $500,000 annually.

Michigan (43-10, 18-3 Big Ten) heads to this week's Big Ten softball tournament as the No. 1 seed, after winning the regular-season championship for the 20th time, and 10th in the 11 seasons.

The Wolverines open against either Michigan State or Nebraska at 5:30 Friday in Madison, Wis.

And you can bet freshman Meghan Beaubien (Newport, Mich.) will be on the mound, after being named Big Ten pitcher of the year. She was 16-1 in Big Ten play with a 0.93 ERA, six shutouts, 117 strikeouts and a .123 opponents' batting average.

Beaubien earned the double-double, also winning Big Ten freshman of the year — making her, of course, first-team all-conference.

Senior first baseman Tera Blanco (.438, 23 RBIs), and junior second baseman Faith Canfield (.417, 15 RBIs, 1.000 fielding percentage) also made first-team All-Big Ten, in a voting by the conference coaches. The Wolverines have had at least three first-team players in each of the last 11 seasons.

Michigan State senior center fielder Lea Foerster (Portage, Mich.) also made first-team for a second consecutive season, after batting .376 with a .738 slugging percentage and 10 home runs.

Michigan shortstop Natalia Rodriguez made the all-freshman team, and Canfield and Foerster made the all-defensive team.

Michigan senior Morgan Swift (Caledonia, Mich.) and Michigan State junior Kelly Zackrison (Hudsonville, Mich.) were the schools' winners of the sportsmanship awards.

Michigan State (24-25, 10-11), the No. 8 seed, opens Big Ten tournament play at 5:30 Thursday against No. 9 Nebraska. Nebraska took the three-game series, 2-1, in late March.

Big Ten softball tournament

At Madison, Wis.; all games on BTN

THURSDAY

No. 7 Wisconsin vs. No. 10 Purdue, noon

No. 6 Illinois vs. No. 11 Maryland, 2:30 p.m.

No. 8 Michigan State vs. No. 9 Nebraska, 5:30 p.m.

No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 12 Iowa, 8 p.m.

FRIDAY

No. 2 Minnesota vs. Wisconsin-Purdue winner, noon

No. 3 Indiana vs. Illinois-Maryland winner, 2:30 p.m.

No. 1 Michigan vs. Michigan State-Nebraska winner, 5:30 p.m.

No. 4 Northwestern vs. Ohio State-Iowa winner, 8 p.m.

SATURDAY

Minnesota_Wisconsin-Purdue winner vs. Indiana_Illinois-Maryland winner, 2 p.m.

Michigan_Michigan State-Nebraska winner vs. Northwestern_Ohio State-Iowa winner, 4:30 p.m.

SUNDAY

Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

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