Feb. 12, 2011
Site: Houston, Texas (Cougar Stadium)
Event: Houston Hilton Plaza Invitational
Scores: #11 Michigan 6, Ohio 0; #11 Michigan 8, Stephen F. Austin 1
Records: U-M (4-0), Ohio (1-2), Stephen F. Austin (0-2)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, Feb. 13 -- vs. Ohio - Houston Invitational (Houston, Texas), 11 a.m. CST
HOUSTON, Texas -- A day after explosive hitting propelled the No. 11-ranked University of Michigan softball team to a pair of lopsided wins, the Wolverine pitching staff guided the Maize and Blue to wins over Ohio, 6-0, and Stephen F. Austin, 8-1, on Saturday (Feb. 12) at Cougar Stadium.
Senior RHP Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif./Valencia HS) was exceptional against the Bobcats, carrying a perfect game into the sixth inning before allowing a pair of singles and settling instead on a complete-game shutout -- the 31st of her career -- with eight strikeouts and no walks. Sophomore RHP Stephanie Speierman (Columbia, Md./Hammond HS) posted a similar effort in the second slate, striking out eight while allowing three hits and a pair of walks against Stephen F. Austin.
Sophomore second baseman Ashley Lane (Escondido, Calif./Escondido HS) knocked out her second grand slam of the weekend in the sixth inning of the SFA slate, while junior third baseman/catcher Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich./Cabrini HS) and freshman catcher Caitlin Blanchard (Petersburg, Mich./Summerfield HS) went yard for two runs apiece against the Bobcats.
Lane's blast, which gave Michigan a temporary run-rule margin, followed consecutive singles from freshman leftfielder Nicole Sappingfield (Norco, Calif./Norco HS), senior first baseman Dorian Shaw (Burke, Va./Robinson SS) and Chidester to lead off the inning and found its resting place beyond the fence in straightaway centerfield. SFA responded with a run in the home half of the inning -- off back-to-back hits to lead off -- to extend the game an inning further.
Michigan's earlier tallies came off junior centerfielder Bree Evans' (Bloomington, Calif./Rialto HS) two-run double to leftfield in the second, senior designated player Marley Powers' (Owosso, Mich./Owosso HS) third-inning run-scoring single to center and junior shortstop Stephanie Kirkpatrick's (Plainfield, Ill./Central HS) fifth-inning RBI double to left.
After taking advantage of three first-inning walks and an error to push across the winning run early against Ohio, the Wolverines earned the bulk of their offensive production late in the contest, tallying back-to-back big innings to cushion their lead. All five of Michigan's late runs came on extra-base hits, including two-run homers from Blanchard and Chidester in the fourth and fifth frames, respectively.
Shaw led off the former inning with a single to left before Chidester connected in the subsequent at-bat and hammered over the fence in left centerfield for her second homer of the weekend. With the bases cleared, Kirkpatrick kept the Wolverines' momentum alive, reaching on a fielding error, and Powers made Ohio pay, knocking an RBI double into rightfield to wrap Michigan's scoring.
The Bobcats spoiled Taylor's bid at perfection with a pair of sixth-inning singles as catcher Jordan Paden led off the frame with a poke to leftfield before advancing to third base on pinch hitter Paige Kemezis' two-out screamer through the left side. Taylor responded by retiring the next four batters in order, ending both the sixth and seventh frames with strikeouts.
Michigan wraps up the Houston Invitational on Sunday (Feb. 13) at 11 a.m. CST against Ohio.
N O T E S
• With its wins today, Michigan improved to 5-3 in the all-time series against Ohio and 3-1 in the series against Stephen F. Austin.
• Junior Amanda Chidester upped her career home run tally to 19. She needs just one more to crack Michigan's top-10 career leaders in the category.
• Sophomore RHP Stephanie Speierman's complete-game appearance against Stephen F. Austin marked was the second complete game of her collegiate career and the first longer than five innings. Her eight strikeouts doubled her previous career high; she recorded four Ks against Wisconsin last season (April 3, 2010).
• Sophomore second baseman Ashley Lane is now one of four current Wolverines with multiple career grand slams. Senior Marley Powers boasts four over her tenure, while senior Dorian Shaw owns three and Chidester owns two.
Q U O T E S
U-M Senior RHP Jordan Taylor
On her improvements from yesterday to today ... "It's definitely just getting back into it. We've only been facing our batters and they've only been facing us for the last three months. It's just getting back into the swing of things. Our team came out firing yesterday; I don't think anyone was expecting 29 runs in two games. So, today was a little more balanced, but our bats were still hot."
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423