Wolverines Surge Past UMass in Kick-Off Classic Championship Game

Feb. 20, 2011

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Site: Boca Raton, Fla. (FAU Softball Stadium)
Event: FAU Kick-Off Classic
Scores: #11 Michigan 5, Massachusetts 1
Records: U-M (10-0), UMass (2-3)
Next U-M Event: Friday, Feb. 25 -- vs. North Florida at UCF Invitational (Orlando, Fla.), 4 p.m.

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The No. 11-ranked University of Michigan softball team used dominant pitching and a late offensive surge to complete its perfect weekend, defeating Massachusetts, 5-1, in the FAU Kick-Off Classic championship game on Sunday afternoon (Feb. 20) at FAU Softball Stadium.

After trading runs in the first frame, the contest remained largely a pitchers' duel until the late inning when the Wolverines broke through for four runs in the fifth and sixth frames. Sophomore second baseman Amy Knapp (St. Joseph, Mich./Lakeshore HS) and sophomore designated player Ashley Lane (Escondido, Calif./Escondido HS) accounted for the bulk of Michigan's run with a pair of sixth-inning homers, while freshman leftfielder Nicole Sappingfield (Norco, Calif./Norco HS) had her fourth multi-hit game of the season, going 2-for-2 with a run scored.

Senior RHP Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif./Valencia HS) earned the victory in relief, striking out six while allowing a pair of hits through four innings pitched. She improved to 5-0 on the season with the effort and extended her shutout-inning streak to 27.

The Minutewomen took advantage of U-M miscues to gain the game's initial advantage in the first inning. UMass shortstop Jordan Storro reached on a misplayed grounder and advanced on a steal and subsequent wild pitch before trotting home when rightfielder Katie Bettencourt laced a single through the left side.

Michigan responded in kind in the bottom half of the inning on consecutive singles from Sappingfield, senior first baseman Dorian Shaw (Burke, Va./Robinson SS) and junior catcher Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich./Cabrini HS). With Sappingfield in scoring position on second base, Chidester connected with the 3-1 pitch and smacked it up the middle to earn her fifth RBI of the weekend.

The game remained deadlocked through the next three innings until Michigan manufactured the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth. Junior centerfielder Bree Evans (Bloomington, Calif./Rialto HS) reached on a fielding error and, after advancing on a sacrifice and a wild pitch, came home on Shaw's deep sacrifice fly to leftfield.

Lane led off the sixth with a solo home run -- her fifth long ball of the weekend -- connecting with the inning's second pitch and driving it deep over the leftfield fence. Junior shortstop Stephanie Kirkpatrick (Plainfield, Ill./Central HS) followed with a double through the left side in the next at-bat, and after back-to-back popups, Knapp concluded Michigan's scoring with her first career home run, sailing the full-count pitch over the fence in straightaway centerfield.

Michigan will return to the Sunshine State next weekend (Friday through Sunday, Feb. 25-27), kicking off its annual spring-break trip with a stop at the UCF Invitational in Orlando, Fla. The Wolverines will open play against North Florida (4 p.m.) and host Central Florida (8 p.m.) on Friday at the UCF Softball Complex.

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

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