Feb. 20, 2010
Site: Baton Rouge, La. (Tiger Park)
Event: Tiger Classic
Scores: #4 Michigan 2, #19 LSU 0; Virginia 2, #4 Michigan 1
Records: U-M (5-2), LSU (5-4), Virginia (2-4)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, Feb. 21 -- vs. Oklahoma State at Tiger Classic (Baton Rouge, La.), 12:30 p.m. CST
BATON ROUGE, La. -- The No. 4-ranked University of Michigan softball team split a pair of day-two games at the Tiger Classic, battling past No. 19 LSU, 2-0, before falling to Virginia, 2-1, on Saturday afternoon (Feb. 20) at Tiger Park.
Junior RHP Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif./Valencia HS) continued to headline the Wolverines' early-season effort from the pitching circle, registering her second shutout of the weekend against the host Tigers with 12 strikeouts and three hits allowed. Senior LHP Nikki Nemitz (St. Clair Shores, Mich./Regina HS) was solid despite defeat, striking out 10 Virginia batters while allowing four hits and no walks.
Sophomore leftfielder Bree Evans (Bloomington, Calif./Rialto HS) set the pace at the plate, going 3-for-6 on the day with a pair of runs scored and a walk. She accounted for two of Michigan's six hits against LSU and scored the game-winning run in the first.
The Wolverines took advantage of LSU miscues to push across the only run they needed in the top half of the first. Evans reached on a fielding error by Brittany Mack when the Tiger pitcher failed to cleanly pick up a comebacker to the circle. She advanced on a sacrifice and subsequent groundout before racing home to score on a wild pitch in the dirt that rolled to the backstop.
Taylor worked herself out of an early jam in the home half of the inning. After allowing a first-pitch leadoff infield single, a subsequent walk and two stolen bases, Taylor faced two runners in scoring position with one out. The Wolverine hurler quickly set down the inning's remaining outs, responding with a strikeout and a check-swing popup to second base to keep the Tigers off the board.
Taylor carried her momentum into the next two frames, recording back-to-back 1-2-3 innings -- striking out the side in the third. LSU threatened again in the bottom of the fourth, using a pair of base hits to put two runners on with one out, but Taylor punched out back-to-back Tiger hitters -- on just seven pitches -- to end the inning.
The Wolverines added an insurance run in the fifth, manufacturing the score off four hits, including three in a row with one down. Sophomore shortstop Stephanie Kirkpatrick (Plainfield, Ill./Central HS) led off the inning with a liner up the middle and advanced a base in each subsequent at-bat, first on a sacrifice then on Evans' base-hit chopper to short. She trotted home two batters later when senior third baseman Maggie Viefhaus (Eureka, Mo./Eureka HS) directed a first-pitch looper down the leftfield line.
Michigan had a letdown in the second slate, sacrificing an early advantage to fall to the Cavaliers, 2-1, in a rematch of yesterday's tournament opener.
Evans provided U-M its lone run in the contest, converting on the Wolverines' double steal to swipe home after leading off the inning with a full-count walk. Viefhaus accepted a walk two batters later and when the Virginia catcher challenged her steal attempt, Evans raced home for the initial score.
The Cavaliers responded in kind in the third inning, using a second-out strikeout to successfully implement a double steal of their own as third baseman Abby Synder beat out the throw home. Virginia rightfielder Sarah Tacke put her team ahead for good in the fourth, hammering a solo shot over the fence in straightaway centerfield -- just the second home run allowed by Michigan this season.
Michigan put runners in scoring position in the sixth but could not capitalize. Senior centerfielder Molly Bausher (Las Vegas, Nev./Spring Valley HS) reached from the leadoff on a dropped relay throw at first base and advanced to third on a sacrifice and subsequent throwing error. Viefhaus stole second base to put a second runner in scoring position, but in the next at bat, sophomore second baseman Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich./Cabrini HS) lined one back to the pitcher, who turned to double up Bausher at third.
The Wolverines will face Oklahoma State game in the consolation final of the 2010 Tiger Classic tomorrow (Sunday, Feb. 21). The game is slated for a 12:30 p.m. CST start at Tiger Park.
N O T E S
With the split, Michigan improved to 4-1 in the all-time series against LSU and fell to 4-2 in the series against Virginia.
Junior RHP Jordan Taylor rung up 12 LSU batters to bring her career strikeout total to 612 and move to fifth among Michigan's all-time strikeout leaders. She lists directly behind senior LHP Nikki Nemitz, who added 10 strikeouts against Virginia to pad her career strikeout total to 690.
Taylor's shutout performance against LSU extended her shutout-inning streak to 13, dating back to the final frame against UCLA last Sunday (Feb. 14). Taylor has only given up one earned run in 32 innings pitched this season.
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423