Feb. 9, 2014
Site: Tampa, Fla. (USF Softball Stadium)
Event: USF Wilson Demarini Tournament
Score: #5 Michigan 7, Illinois State 1; #5 Michigan 12, Bethune-Cookman 1 (5 inn.)
Records: U-M (3-1), Illinois State (1-3), Bethune Cookman (0-4)
Next U-M Event: Friday, Feb. 14 -- vs. Memphis, at Louisiana Lafayette - Ragin' Cajun Invitational (Lafayette, La.), 1 p.m./5 p.m. CST
TAMPA, Fla. -- The No. 5-ranked University of Michigan softball team swept its doubleheader on Sunday (Feb. 9) against Illinois State, 7-1, and 12-1 over Bethune-Cookman (five innings) on the strength of a pair of 15-hit attacks -- including five from senior Lyndsay Doyle (Channahon, Ill./Minooka Community) against ISU -- on the final day of the USF Wilson Demarini Tournament.
In the first game of the day, the Wolverines applied significant pressure on the Redbirds' defense, getting the leadoff hitter on in each of the first five innings. Doyle's five hits equal a U-M single-game record, shared by three other Wolverines (last: Ashley Lane on Feb. 22, 2013, vs. Illinois State). She got Michigan on the board in the second with a run-scoring double down the rightfield line.
Freshman Abby Ramirez (Chicago, Ill./Trinity) reached base four times from the nine spot in the lineup -- including three hits -- and scored three runs. Sophomore Sierra Romero (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta) knocked in three runs on a pair of base hits. Freshman Kelly Christner (Tinley Park, Ill./Victor J. Andrew) popped a two-run triple in the fourth to give Michigan a 6-1 lead.
Junior Haylie Wagner (Orange, Calif./El Modeno) tossed all seven innings in the circle, yielding one run -- a solo home shot by Regan Romshek in the third. The southpaw struck out 10, the first time she notched double-digit punchouts since her freshman season (three times). In the complete-game performance, she gave up just two hits and two walks for her first win of the season. Even with the big strikeout total, she got some help from her defense, as freshman Lindsay Montemarano (Seaford, N.Y./Seaford) tallied six assists from her spot at third base.
The Michigan hit parade continued in Michigan's second game of the day against Bethune-Cookman when the Wolverines again collected 15 hits. The offense batted around in each of the first two innings. The Maize and Blue scored three two-out runs in the first, highlighted by a two-run triple off the bat of sophomore Sierra Lawrence (Snellville, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian).
The Wolverines really unleashed the offense in the bottom of the second, scoring six runs on six hits and one Wildcats error. With Doyle on third, Romero laid down a bunt to score the speedster and wound up on first with a single. Senior Caitlin Blanchard (Petersburg, Mich./Summerfield), batting in the cleanup spot behind Romero, then attempted to bunt as well. Following a few unsuccessful attempts, she deposited a pitch well beyond the right-field wall for a three-run homer and a 7-0 U-M lead.
Eight of Michigan's starters collected at least one hit, led by Blanchard, who had three and knocked four runs in. Romero had three hits and two runs batted in, and Doyle tacked on two more singles.
Freshman Megan Betsa (McDonough, Ga./Union Grove) and sophomore Sara Driesenga (Hudsonville, Mich./Hudsonville) split the pitching duties, with Betsa starting and earning the win. The freshman gave up one run in her three innings of work. Ten of Bethune-Cookman's outs came via the strikeout, with Betsa fanning seven and Driesenga three.
The Wolverines will be back in action on Friday (Feb. 14) against Memphis and Louisiana-Lafayette in the their first visit to the Ragin Cajun Invitational in Lafayette, La. First pitch against Memphis is 1 p.m. CST.
N O T E S
Michigan concludes its appearance at the USF Wilson Demarini Tournament with a 3-1 record. This is the second straight season U-M has played in the Tampa-based tournament and its second consecutive 3-1 mark.
U-M is now 6-3 all-time against Illinois State and 1-0 against Bethune-Cookman.
Michigan's infield against Bethune-Cookman featured one sophomore (Sierra Romero) and three freshmen (first baseman Kelly Christner, second baseman Abby Ramirez and third baseman Lindsay Montemarano). Starting pitcher Megan Betsa meant all four U-M freshmen were on the infield at the same time.
Haylie Wagner had her first plate appearance since May 24, 2012, against Alabama. She picked up her first hit since May 12, 2012, against Purdue. The junior pitched in 30 games in 2013 but did not have a plate appearance.
Wagner struck out nine Redbirds. Her season high in 2013 was seven strikeouts, against Illinois State (March 9). Her career high is 12, achieved against Eastern Michigan on May 1, 2012.
Abby Ramirez finished her first weekend of collegiate softball with a .583 (7-for-12) batting average, six runs scored and four assists. She played all 26 innings this weekend at second base.
On Sunday across two games, Ramirez reached base in six of seven plate appearances (four hits, one error, one fielder's choice).
Against Bethune-Cookman, Caitlin Blanchard started at catcher for the first time since April 14, 2012, at Michigan State. She made nine starts at catcher in 2013 and nine in 2012 during an injury-shortened season. She made 52 starts at catcher as freshman in 2011.
Against Bethune-Cookman, Taylor Hasselbach made her first start of the season. She started four games in 2013.
Hasselbach had her first multi-hit game in exactly one year. She tallied three hits against Florida Atlantic on Feb. 9, 2013, also in Tampa, Fla.
Q U O T E S
U-M Senior Outfielder Lyndsay Doyle
On the team's play in the first weekend ... "I think getting out on the field was great and we brought a lot of energy because we were excited to get outside. I think it was great to be out there playing together and we did it well this weekend."
On sparking the offense in her senior year as the leadoff hitter ... "I definitely want to do anything I can to help the team win. This senior year, it's all I have left, so I want to bring energy to the team and in my leadoff role, getting on base is important. It really makes a difference to if we play well or not -- setting the table is my part, and I just want to do my part."
On her approach today in a record-setting performance .. "It's a matter of seeing the ball and being on time, I worked all offseason to put the ball in play."
U-M Senior First Baseman Caitlin Blanchard
On her game-winning hit against USF on Saturday ... "I was looking for a strike, one that I could handle. I got it eventually and got my pitch. I liked a few and fouled them off, but then I got a pitch I could handle and it went in play."
On her three-run home run against Illinois State ... "I failed to get my bunt down and I'm still not happy about that. I was frustrated and got two strikes. I went back up looking to have a good at bat the rest of the way. My only goal the rest of the at bat was to put something in play."
U-M Freshman Infielder Abby Ramirez
On her first weekend of college softball ... "I was a little nervous before the first weekend and we opened against a top opponent. Once I got out there on the field, it felt like the same game I've always played. After the first inning, I felt even more comfortable that I was expecting to."
On if the game felt fast in her first games ... "Because of the fast-paced practices we have, the game actually felt a little slower. It felt comfortable -- the games felt slower than practice."
On her favorite moment from the opening weekend ... "I was on third when Sierra Romero hit her grand slam against Florida. I tagged up even though I knew it was gone. I bunted in my at bat and beat it out. We ended up getting four runs. I was able to turn the lineup over and I was glad I did my part in that inning.
On having all four freshman in the infield against Bethune-Cookman ... "We're all really close and it was great in that game to look around and see Kelly (Christner) on my left, Lindsay (Montemarano) on my right and Megan (Betsa) right in front of me. It was cool because we talked about it before the game. There were some nerves before the game, but then we got out there and it was like we'd played together forever."