Louisville, USF, Connecticut Hold Early Lead In Baseball Standings
The third week of the BIG EAST portion of the 2012 baseball season begins this week with Louisville, USF and Connecticut sitting in a tie for first place. The Cardinals, who are ranked No. 21 in this week's USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll, have won 10 of their last 12 games thanks to a pitching staff that leads the BIG EAST in earned-run average (3.26) and a lineup that has produced a conference-best .318 batting average. Cardinal outfielder Stewart Ijames is the BIG EAST leader in home runs (nine) and RBIs (35). USF is right behind Louisville in terms of ERA (3.29), thanks to starters Matt Reed (3-3, 2.29 ERA) and Andrew Barbosa (3-2, 2.38 ERA). Connecticut is hitting a collective .300 behind second baseman LJ Mazzilli, who has seven home runs and 26 RBIs to go with a .361 average.
USF Setting The Pace In Softball
At 6-0 in the BIG EAST, USF has taken an early lead in the conference softball standings, while the Bulls have also established themselves as a factor on the national scene. USF has won 13 straight games to enter this weekend's three-game series against St. John's at 33-5, marking the best start in program history. The recent winning streak includes a decision against No. 4-ranked Florida, helping the Bulls to a No. 18 ranking in this week's coaches' poll. The key for the Bulls has been the right arm of pitcher Sara Nevins, who has a 19-2 record with a 0.56 ERA and 185 strikeouts in 149 innings this season.
Notre Dame, Villanova Are Lone Remaining Unbeatens In Men's Lacrosse Conference Play
Notre Dame and Villanova are the only two BIG EAST men's lacrosse teams without a loss in conference play as each team takes a 2-0 league record into this weekend. The Irish are ranked No. 6 in this week's coaches' poll thanks to a six-game winning streak, while the Wildcats are No. 13 with league wins against Syracuse and Georgetown. Syracuse is ranked No. 17 in this week's coaches' poll, while Georgetown is No. 20.
Four BIG EAST Teams Occupy Women's Lacrosse Top 20
Syracuse's women's lacrosse team has won six of its eight games to start the season and enters this week's game at Notre Dame ranked No. 2 in this week's coaches' poll. The only losses for Syracuse are an 11-9 overtime setback to top-ranked Northwestern and a 9-7 loss at No. 7 Virginia. Those results are countered by road wins against No. 3 Maryland (10-9) and No. 5 Florida (12-11 in double-overtime). Notre Dame, which had won its first eight games of the year, is ranked No. 9 in this week's poll, while Loyola - which defeated the Irish last weekend - is ranked No. 13. Georgetown, which has faced six top-20 teams to date, checks in at No. 14.
USF's Miller, Notre Dame's Scodro Top BIG EAST Individuals In Golfweek Rankings
BIG EAST women's and men's golf teams are entering their final weeks of preparation for the conference championships, which take place later this month. The BIG EAST Women's Golf Championship will be April 22-24, while the BIG EAST Men's Golf Championship follows April 29-May 1. Both events will take place at the Reunion Resort & Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. USF's Christina Miller, who has finished ahead of 519 of the 551 players she has faced this season, is ranked No. 48 in this week's Golfweek individual women's rankings. Notre Dame's Max Scodro leads the BIG EAST men's contingent in the Golfweek rankings by holding the No. 42 position. Scodro has been better than 438 of 512 opponents this year.
Notre Dame, Louisville Top BIG EAST Teams In Men's and Women's Tennis Rankings
Notre Dame stands as the highest-rated BIG EAST women's tennis team in the April 3 Intercollegiate Tennis Association team rankings. The Irish women are No. 18 this week, while USF checks in at No. 37. Syracuse is No. 56, while DePaul rounds out the conference's contingent of ranked teams at No. 65. The men's rankings have Louisville at No. 35, Notre Dame at No. 43, St. John's at No. 60 and USF at No. 69. The BIG EAST Men's and Women's Tennis Championships will be April 19-22 on the campus of USF.
Notre Dame Ranked In Rowing Coaches' Poll
Notre Dame's women's rowing team checks in at No. 18 in this week's CRCA/USRowing Coaches' Poll, while Louisville and Syracuse were among the other teams that received votes in the poll. The BIG EAST Rowing Championship will be held May 13 on Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J.
BIG EAST Track & Field Athletes Among The Nation's Best
A look at the national outdoor track & field performance list reveals a number of BIG EAST athletes among the national leaders in their respective events. On the women's side, Connecticut junior Brigitte Mania has turned in the nation's top time in the 800-meter run (2:04.86), while teammate Heather Wilson is third and USF's Shaniel Chambers and Yasmin Smith are sixth and eighth, respectively, in that event. Wilson and Mania are also seventh and 10th, respectively, on the 1,500-meters performance list. West Virginia's Chelsea Carrier-Eades is second in the heptathlon, while Notre Dame's Maddie Buttinger is 10th. Charlotte Ffrench O'Carroll of Providence has the nation's second-ranked time in the 5,000-meter run, while Villanova's Shericka Ward is 10th in the 100-meter hurdles. Providence has two runners - Shelby Greany (third) and Hannah Davidson (sixth) among the top 10 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Louisville's Chinwe Okoro is fifth in the shot put.
On the men's side, USF's David Aristil has the sixth-best performance nationally in the 400-meter hurdles. Marquette's Connor Callahan is 10th in the 10,000 meters, while Rutgers' Corey Crawford is 10th in the long jump.