Feb. 21, 2014
Site: Boca Raton, Fla. (FAU Softball Stadium)
Event: FAU Invitational
Scores: #7 Michigan 7, Kent State 1; #7 Michigan 9, Pittsburgh 0 (5 inn.)
Records: U-M (9-2), Kent State (4-3), Pittsburgh (6-6)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Feb. 22 -- vs. No. 5 Kentucky, 11 a.m.; vs. Kent State, 1 p.m. (Boca Raton, Fla.)
BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The No. 7-ranked University of Michigan softball team outscored its opponents 16-1 Friday (Feb. 21) and received back-to-back games of stellar pitching to take convincing victories of 7-1 over Kent State and 9-0 over Pittsburgh at the FAU Invitational held at FAU Softball Stadium.
The Wolverines started the day with a pair of runs in the home half of the first against Kent State and kept piling them on in bunches all day. U-M took advantage of a Golden Flashes miscue in the field in the first and combined it with base hits from sophomores Sierra Romero (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta) and Sierra Lawrence (Snellville, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian) to open the scoring. Lawrence would go on to tally three hits in four at-bats and drove in three runs.
Junior pitcher Haylie Wagner (Orange, Calif./El Modeno) limited Kent State to just two hits over seven innings. She pushed her record to 5-0 with her third complete game of the young season. Wagner also helped her own cause with a sacrifice fly in the third that scored Romero and made the game 4-0.
The Maize and Blue would tack on three more runs in the seventh inning on a Romero sacrifice fly, Lawrence single and a Kent State error.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Michigan did all of its offensive damage in the first two innings, including a seven-run second inning.
U-M put up a pair in the first inning on a double from senior Caitlin Blanchard (Petersburg, Mich./Summerfield) and a Lawrence sacrifice fly.
The big blow of the game came off the bat of senior outfielder Nicole Sappingfield (Norco, Calif./Norco) in the third, a three-run homer that extended Michigan's lead to 5-0. It is the second home run of Sappingfield's career and the first since March 28, 2012 (vs. Bowling Green).
The Wolverines would add four more unearned runs in the frame to build a 9-0 lead. Sappingfield, Romero, Blanchard and freshman Abby Ramirez (Chicago, Ill./Trinity) led the hitting multiple-hit games -- including three base hits for Ramirez.
Freshman pitcher Megan Betsa (McDonough, Ga./Union Grove) ensured that the Panthers never came close to mounting a comeback. The righthander gave up just three hits over five innings and struck out four. Only two Panthers reached second base; one following a hit batter and walk in the fourth, and one on a double in the fifth.
Michigan will play another doubleheader on Saturday (Feb. 22), first against No. 5 Kentucky and then another matchup with Kent State during the second day of the FAU Invitational. First pitch against the Wildcats is scheduled for 11 a.m.
Contact: Michael Kasiborski (email@example.com)