Feb. 19, 2010
Site: Baton Rouge, La. (Tiger Park)
Event: Tiger Classic
Scores: #4 Michigan 13, Virginia 0 (5 inn.); #4 Michigan 7, Oklahoma State 0
Records: U-M (4-1), Virginia (1-2), Oklahoma State (5-1)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Feb. 20 -- at LSU at Tiger Classic (Baton Rouge, La.), 1:30 p.m. CST
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Headlined by big home runs and commanding performances from the pitching circle, the No. 4-ranked University of Michigan softball team earned a pair of shutout victories, cruising past Virginia, 13-0, in five innings, before knocking off Oklahoma State, 7-0, on the first day of competition at the Tiger Classic on Friday (Feb. 19) at Tiger Park.
Junior RHP Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif./Valencia HS) tossed a complete-game no-hitter in the Oklahoma State game, striking out 10 while allowing just two base runners on an early error and hit batsman. Senior LHP Nikki Nemitz (St. Clair Shores, Mich./Regina HS) picked up her first win of the year against Virginia, striking out four and combining for the shutout with freshman RHP Stephanie Speierman (Columbia, Md./ Hammond HS), who made her collegiate debut in the fourth inning.
Junior first baseman Dorian Shaw (Burke, Va./Robinson SS) went 3-for-5 on the day with a pair of towering home runs and six runs batted in in the opener against Virginia, while senior catcher Roya St. Clair (Livonia, Mich./Stevenson HS) and senior third baseman Maggie Viefhaus (Eureka, Mo./Eureka HS) went yard against the Cowgirls. Viefhaus wrapped the day with a 3-for-4 showing at the plate and two RBI.
After two scoreless innings against Oklahoma State, the Wolverines broke through with a big six-inning effort in the third frame. Sophomore leftfielder Bree Evans (Bloomington, Calif./Rialto HS) keyed the offensive surge with two on and one out, ripping a hard grounder to the OSU third baseman and scoring sophomore shortstop Stephanie Kirkpatrick (Plainfield, Ill./Central HS) from second. Senior rightfielder Angela Findlay (Lockport, Ill./East HS) lined one into left centerfield in the next at-bat to score two more, and after a Viefhaus walk, St. Clair emptied the bases with a first-pitch shot down the leftfield line.
Viefhaus' long ball came two innings later as she snuck a solo shot over the leftfield fence to lead off the inning.
With the game well in hand, Taylor continued to get stronger in the later innings, striking out two apiece in the sixth and seventh frames to seal up the fourth no-hitter of her career.
Michigan tallied runs in each inning of its abbreviated contest against Virginia. The Wolverines wasted little time in building up a sizable early lead, taking advantage of a series of Virginia miscues and a pair of base hits to push five across in the top half of the first. U-M loaded the bases immediately on a walk, a base hit and a hit batsman before bringing in runs -- one at a time -- in subsequent at-bats. Only two came off base hits -- Nemitz and Kirkpatrick registered RBI singles up the middle.
The Wolverines padded their advantage with three runs over the next two frames. After Nemitz secured her second RBI of the game on a hard grounder up the middle in the second, Michigan used small ball to manufacture a pair of runs in the third. Senior centerfielder Molly Bausher led off at the bottom of the order, beating out an infield single to third base, before Evans joined her on base with a shallow poke to leftfield. Findlay took advantage of the speed on the basepath, knocking a hard grounder at the shortstop -- one she could not come up with -- to score Bausher from second. Viefhaus followed suit in the next at-bat, lining a rocket through the rightside gap to bring home Evans from third.
Shaw wrapped up Michigan's scoring with home runs in consecutive plate appearances in fourth and fifth innings. She led off the former inning with a solo blast that soared over a berm that extended high beyond the leftfield fence. After back-to-back singles from Viefhaus and sophomore second baseman Amanda Chidester and a Cavalier fielding error quickly loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth, Shaw went yard again, connecting with the 2-0 pitch and booming it to a familiar spot beyond the leftfield berm for her second career grand slam.
Speierman entered the game in the bottom of the fourth and, after allowing an infield single against the first batter faced, set down the next six, in order, on just 12 pitches.
The Wolverines will square off against host LSU tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 20) on the second day of competition at the Tiger Classic. The game is slated for a 1:30 p.m. CST start at Tiger Park.
N O T E S
With its pair of wins, Michigan improved to 4-1 in the all-time series against Virginia and 3-5 in the all-time series against Oklahoma State.
With her fourth career no-hitter, junior RHP Jordan Taylor is now tied for second -- with Vicki Morrow (1984-87) -- among Michigan's career leaders in the category. Jennie Ritter (2003-06) owns the U-M school record with five no-hitters.
Taylor's no-hitter was the 31st complete-game no-hitter thrown in Michigan program history.
Taylor rung up 10 Cowgirl batters to bring her career strikeout total to an even 600. She is just two strikeouts shy of the fifth spot among Michigan's all-time strikeout leaders, currently held by Sara Griffin (602, 1995-98).
Senior LHP Nikki Nemitz earned her 72nd career win in game one against Virginia, claiming a share of the fifth spot among Michigan's all-time win leaders. She shares the spot with Kelly Kovach (1992-95). She needs four more wins to reach the fourth position, currently held by Kelly Holmes (76, 1994-97).
Junior first baseman Dorian Shaw's two home runs against Virginia marked the third multi-homer performance of her collegiate career.
Shaw's six-RBI effort against Virginia matched her career high in the category. She previously tallied six RBI in last season's NCAA Super Regional opener against Baylor.
Shaw brought her career home run tally to 28, earning a share of the fourth spot among Michigan's all-time career home run leaders. She shares the position with Melissa Gentile (1997-2000) and needs just two more to reach the third spot, currently held by Grace Leutele (30, 2003-06).
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Carol Hutchins
On the day's effort ... "What I like best about us is that we don't care who we're playing. We were very one-pitch focused today, and we didn't get caught up in anything. It took us a few innings to get on the board in that Oklahoma State game, and then we got them all at once. We just need to continue to get better. We gave away some at-bats; you don't like to see that. We just keep working on getting better. We're not focused on anyone but us."
On the Wolverine pitching staff ... "Our pitching is very solid and consistent. I loved seeing Jordan [Taylor] come back, after throwing such a great game last week, and really be in charge. I really liked the consistent performance there. I thought Nikki [Nemitz] looked better than last week; she's still coming back a little bit. And we were very pleased to get Stephanie Speierman in there, and she had a couple of good innings. We hope to get her some more time this weekend."
On the hitting contribution across the lineup ... "I really like to see that. It takes the pressure off of everybody, because they know that if they can't get it done, somebody else can. I like that a lot. So far, so good. I want to see us a little bit better tomorrow. I like our kids' mindset. They seemed a little road weary today. Yesterday was a long day, and we had a long week after we got back. So, I thought we looked a little tired. But we'll get good sleep tonight; we fattened them up on some good Cajun cooking. They're just excited to be out playing, and they're enjoying each other as a team. That's very important. So far, so good."
U-M Junior First Baseman Dorian Shaw
On Michigan's hitting capabilities ... "It's obvious that hitting is contagious, and anybody will tell you that. When one person gets a hit, the next person thinks they can get a hit, and it keeps snowballing. I definitely think that we have the talent and capability on our team that everyone can do what we need them to do. I think the first game today was an indication of that, getting hits left and right from one to nine. That's really important for us down the road; getting to the postseason -- where we want to be -- we're going to need that."
On her adjustment in hitting mentality ... "I think I'm taking a better approach at the plate than I have in the past. After I swing at a pitch, it's in the past and that pitch doesn't matter anymore. It's over. That's what I'm telling myself, 'next pitch.' It is that one-pitch mentality. It sounds so cliché, but it really makes a difference. If I'm not super stressed and upset about what just happened, then I can go forward. I feel like I'm not holding myself back anymore. That's what I want. I'm more focused on the process now than the outcome. So, I'm finding not getting too upset with myself if I don't perform in a certain at-bat, because I have another chance."
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423