U-M Triumphs over No. 12 Louisiana-Lafayette, Outlasts Illinois State
Amy Knapp

Feb. 22, 2013

• Boxscores: Louisiana-Lafayette | Illinois State

Site: Clearwater, Fla. (Eddie C. Moore Complex)
Event: NFCA Leadoff Classic
Scores: #15 Michigan 3, #12 Louisiana-Lafayette 1; #15 Michigan 11, Illinois State 9 (10 inn.)
Records: U-M (8-2), Louisiana-Lafayette (8-2), Illinois State (5-6)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Feb. 23 -- vs. UC Davis - NFCA Leadoff Classic (Clearwater, Fla.), 1 p.m.; vs. Hostra, 6 p.m.

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The No. 15-ranked University of Michigan softball team (No. 15 NFCA/USA Today, No. 15 USA Softball/ESPN) won both games of a doubleheader today (Friday, Feb. 22), dispatching of No. 12 Louisiana-Lafayette, 3-1, in less than two hours and then coming up with a 10-inning, 11-9 win over Illinois State that took more than three hours at the NFCA Leadoff Classic.

Against the Ragin' Cajuns, senior Ashley Lane (Escondido, Calif./Escondido) blasted a two-run home run in the second inning to put the Wolverines on top for good. It is Lane's 31st career homer, moving her alone into sixth place on the Michigan all-time home run list. Junior Caitlin Blanchard (Petersburg, Mich./Summerfield) got on base in front of Lane courtesy of a hit-by-pitch.

From there, sophomore Sara Driesenga (Hudsonville, Mich./Hudsonville) made the lead stand up. She struck out three and only gave up four hits while pitching her sixth complete game of the season. Driesenga improved her record to 6-1.

The Ragin' Cajuns scored in the fifth inning on two runs and an error, but the Wolverines got the run back in their half of the inning. Senior Amy Knapp (St. Joseph, Mich./Lakeshore) hit a shot through the right side on a 1-2 count to bring home freshman Sierra Lawrence (Norcross, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian), who had reached on an error and then stole second to move into scoring position.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Wolverines and Redbirds combined to erase one-run leads six times. The score was tied 8-8 going into the top of the 10th. Using international tiebreaker rules, Lawrence was placed on second. With one out, junior Nicole Sappingfield (Norco, Calif./Norco) drove a line drive into centerfield, good enough to score Lawrence from third and put the Wolverines up, 9-8.

That is when the next batter, freshman Sierra Romero (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta),lofted a 3-1 pitch over the rightfield fence to put the Wolverines up by three in the 10th. The Redbirds picked up one run in their half of the 10th, before Driesenga shut the door, striking out the last batter swinging.

Michigan scored in the first on a Driesenga single, plating junior Lyndsay Doyle (Channahon, Ill./Minooka Community), who started the game with a walk. The Redbirds tied it up in the bottom of the first and then took the lead in the second.

U-M re-took the lead in the fourth, courtesy of a Lane base hit, a Lawrence triple and a Sappingfield single to make it 3-2. After Illinois State scored two in the sixth to take a 4-3 lead, Driesenga, Blanchard and freshman Kelsey Susalla (Garden City, Mich./Garden City) all delivered RBI hits in the top of the seventh, to put the Wolverines up, 7-4. But the Redbirds clawed right back, scoring three to send the game into extra innings.

Using the international tiebreaker rule, Doyle was placed on second to start the top of the eighth. She appeared to score on a fly ball to left by Blanchard but was called out for leaving early while tagging up.

The Wolverines and Redbirds traded runs in the ninth. U-M scored its run on Lane's fifth hit of the day.

Driesenga set a new career high with 10 innings pitched in the Illinois State game and also struck out 13 Redbirds. On the day, Driesenga pitched 17 innings and recorded two wins.

Michigan plays another doubleheader on Saturday (Feb. 23) in the NFCA Leadoff Classic. U-M will play UC Davis at 1 p.m. and Hofstra at 6 p.m. at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater, Fla.


• Michigan's win over No. 12 Louisiana-Lafayette is its first over a ranked opponent this season (U-M lost 3-2 to then-No. 12 USF on Feb. 9).

Ashley Lane set career highs with six at-bats and five hits against Illinois State.

Kelsey Susalla is 2-for-2 with the bases loaded on the season following her seventh-inning hit against Illinois State.

Contact: Michael Kasiborski (734) 763-4423

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