Feb. 14, 2010
Site: Clermont, Fla. (NTC Softball Complex)
Event: NTC Elite Division I Invitational (Day 3 of 3)
Scores: #4 Michigan 4, #8 UCLA 2 (13 inn.)
Records: U-M (2-1), UCLA (2-1)
Next U-M Event: Fri-Sun., Feb. 19-21 -- at Tiger Classic (Baton Rouge, La.)
CLERMONT, Fla. -- It took nine innings for either team to push across a run and 13 frames to find a winner, but the No. 4-ranked University of Michigan softball team emerged victorious over No. 8-ranked UCLA, 4-2, on the final day of the NTC Elite Division I Invitational on Sunday (Feb. 14) at the NTC Softball Complex.
Junior RHP Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif./Valencia HS) was nearly flawless in 13 innings against the Bruins, not allowing an earned run in the longest appearance of her career. She scattered five hits and two walks while coming up one strikeout short of the program record with 18.
Sophomore second baseman Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich./Cabrini HS) went 2-for-4 and drove in the deciding run for the Maize and Blue. Senior rightfielder Angela Findlay (Lockport, Ill./East HS) and sophomore shortstop Stephanie Kirkpatrick (Plainfield, Ill./Central) each pushed across a run for the Wolverines in extra innings.
Taylor stymied all comers through the first seven innings, allowing just one hit in regulation. It was not until the tie breaker rule put a runner on second base that either team moved a runner into scoring position. Michigan took advantage in the ninth inning, going ahead 1-0 on a UCLA error that pushed junior pinch runner Alycia Ryan (Morristown, N.J./Morristown) across. The Bruins answered in the bottom of the inning to put the score back in a deadlock.
After exchanging runs in the 12th, the Wolverines got a two-base hit from Chidester to finally put the game away. With senior third baseman Maggie Viefhaus (Pacific, Mo./Eureka) on third base, Chidester deposited a ball in leftfield to put U-M up 3-2. Chidester came around to score and give U-M an insurance run. With runners on the corners in the bottom of the 13th, Taylor collected her 18th strikeout to put the game in the books.
The Wolverines will continue their early season jaunt through the south next weekend (Fri-Sun., Feb. 19-21) at the Tiger Classic in Baton Rouge, La.
N O T E S
With the victory, Michigan improved to 7-8-1 in the all-time series against perennial power UCLA.
Michigan's 13-inning marathon was its longest game since going to 13 innings last season at Florida State (Feb. 24, 2009), while its three-hour, 41-minute duration was its longest in six seasons, dating back to a 3-2, 13-inning defeat against LSU at the 2004 Women's College World Series that last three hours and 58 minutes.
Prior to today's effort, Taylor's career high in innings pitched was nine, which she recorded three times, most recently two years ago against Central Florida (Feb. 27, 2008). Her previous career high in strikeouts was 16, which she tallied last season against Iowa (May 3, 2009).
Two-time All-American Jennie Ritter (2003-06) holds the Michigan school record for single-game strikeouts with 19, which she tallied in an eight-inning effort against Oklahoma in the 2006 NCAA Regional championship game.
Sophomore second baseman Amanda Chidester boasted a .727 slugging percentage over the Wolverines' opening weekend, tallying three doubles and five RBI in a 5-for-11 effort. She registered a similar .750 slugging percentage in last season's opening tournament appearance.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Carol Hutchins
On the game ... "I just thought we were really in our moment. We were playing pitch-to-pitch softball. As a coach, that's really hard to teach. But I do think we'll see a lot of that this year. We competed hard and did a lot of things right. As it went along and inning after inning passed without any runs, I just hoped we wouldn't get too caught up in the outcome if we were to lose. I was so proud of the way they competed. They did a tremendous job, especially Jordan [Taylor]."
On junior RHP Jordan Taylor ... "She was only worried about next pitch and kept telling people in huddle to do the same. She was brilliant; I thought she just pitched game of her life. I hope that's not defined by the opponent. She is an exceptional pitcher, and I want to see her show up like that every game this season. And if she does, she'll get this type of result."
U-M Junior RHP Jordan Taylor
On her pitching performance ... "It was definitely a relief to play out on actual dirt and get out of Oosterbaan. My first game -- against Chattanooga -- didn't go as well as I would have hoped. I think I put too much pressure on myself. But against UCLA, I had a different kind of edge, probably because I know a lot of those girls and grew up out there. I just went into it refusing to lose. Hutch had really been instructing us to stay one-pitch focused. But that's always a little easier said than done. For the first time ever, I felt like I was able to focus on one pitch at a time and not worry about the outcome. I was more focused on my pitches and them working then on UCLA hitting it. I was actually able to put that one-pitch-focus mindset into action. So, it was a great start to the season, and I'm hoping I'll be able to carry that same mindset into the rest of the season."
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423