Wolverines Open UCF Invitational with Pair of Victories

Feb. 25, 2011

Boxscores: North Florida | Central Florida

Site: Orlando, Fla. (UCF Softball Complex)
Event: UCF Invitational
Scores: #9 Michigan 4, North Florida 1; #9 Michigan 10, Central Florida 1 (6 inn.)
Records: U-M (12-0), North Florida (4-8), Central Florida (3-9)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Feb. 26 -- vs. Missouri-Kansas City - UCF Invitational (Orlando, Fla.), 4 p.m.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The No. 9-ranked University of Michigan softball team kicked off its annual spring-break trip in impressive fashion, claiming wins over North Florida, 4-1, and Central Florida, 10-1 in six innings, to open play at the UCF Invitational on Friday evening (Feb. 25) at the UCF Softball Complex. The Wolverines extended their season-opening win streak to 12 games.

Sophomore second baseman Ashley Lane (Escondido, Calif./Escondido HS) continued her torrid pace at the plate against UCF in the nightcap, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and four runs batted in to match career highs in all categories. Junior centerfielder Bree Evans (Bloomington, Calif./Rialto HS) recorded two hits in each contest, batting 4-for-5 on the day from the leadoff spot, while junior catcher/third baseman Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich./Cabrini HS), freshman Nicole Sappingfield (Norco, Calif./Norco HS) and senior rightfielder Marley Powers (Owosso, Mich./Owosso HS) also tallied multi-hit efforts.

Senior RHP Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif./Valencia HS) earned the win against the host Knights, striking out 10, including two apiece in each of the opening four frames, while allowing three hits and a walk to improve to 6-0 on the season. Sophomore RHP Stephanie Speierman (Columbia, Md./Hammond HS) also improved to 6-0 with a solid effort against the Ospreys in the opener, fanning a career-best nine batters while giving up five hits and a pair of walks.

The Wolverines used back-to-back RBI doubles to gain the early lead with a three-run first against the Knights. After U-M put runners on the corners with a four-pitch leadoff walk and an errant throw off a fielder's choice, Lane notched the game's first hit with two outs, knocking a double to the wall in centerfield to score Evans from third. Powers connected with the next pitch for a similar result, driving home two more runs on hard-hit double to left centerfield.

Taylor saw her shutout-inning streak halted in the home half of the inning. The Knights used a leadoff single, a walk and a fielder's choice to load the bases for second baseman Marissa Menendez, who took an inside pitch off the arm to push in a run. After a brief meeting at the mound, Taylor settled in and removed herself from the jam, issuing a quick strikeout before forcing a shallow popup to end the frame.

Sophomore shortstop Amy Knapp (St. Joseph, Mich./Lakeshore HS) opened the second inning with another Wolverine extra-base hit, tucking a towering fly ball just inside the right-centerfield fence for a standup triple -- the first of her collegiate career. She came home just a pitch later when Evans looped an RBI single into shallow rightfield.

Michigan took advantage of UCF errors to tack on a pair of two-out runs in the fourth. Evans reached on a misplayed hop by Knight shortstop Natalie Land to initiate the rally, before Evans and Sappingfield both moved into scoring position when Land fielded the latter's infield single and launched it into the Wolverine dugout. Senior first baseman Dorian Shaw (Burke, Va./Robinson SS) made UCF pay in the next at-bat, scoring both base runners with a deep fly single over the leftfielder's head.

After scoring one on freshman third baseman Taylor Hasselbach's (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston HS) fifth-inning sacrifice fly, the Wolverines earned their run-rule margin with a three-run top of the sixth. Evans tallied a leadoff single and Chidester looped one into left center to put two runners on for Lane, who connected with the full-count pitch and bombed it over the scoreboard in right centerfield for her sixth home run of the season.

Michigan used small-ball tactics to scatter its runs across seven innings in the opening contest against North Florida, scoring a pair of groundouts, a fielding error and a fielder's choice.

The Wolverines had their first run on the board before recording a hit. Evans was struck by the game's fourth pitch and after advancing on a groundout and a passed ball, she came home on Shaw's groundout to shortstop. Lane extended Michigan's lead in the fourth, trading places with Chidester with a fielder's choice before advancing on a wild pitch and a groundout and scoring on a fielding error by the Oprey second baseman.

Michigan pulled away late with runs in the sixth and seventh innings. Freshman rightfielder Lyndsay Doyle (Channahon, Ill./Minooka Community HS) headlined the former frame, tallying her first collegiate hit with a leadoff double to left centerfield before scoring her first collegiate run when Hasselbach chopped a groundout to second base two batters later. Chidester drove in U-M's final run with the bases loaded and no outs in the seventh, following three consecutive walks with an RBI fielder's choice.

Speierman lost her shutout bid in the two outs in the bottom of the seventh. North Florida reached on back-to-back throwing errors, scoring its lone run on the latter. Speierman forced a fielder's choice in the next at-bat, and the Wolverines secured the final out at second base.

Michigan continues action in the UCF Invitational tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 26), squaring off against Missouri-Kansas City at 4 p.m. and Villanova at 8 p.m. at the UCF Softball Complex.


• Today's game against North Florida marked the first meeting in series history. The Wolverines improved to 5-0 in the all-time series against Central Florida.

• Sophomore second baseman Ashley Lane's three hits, three runs and four runs batted in against UCF matched her similar effort against Southern Illinois in the season opener. Lane also posted four RBI against Stephen F. Austin.

• Freshman leftfielder Nicole Sappingfield leads the Wolverines with five multi-hit games on the season.

• Michigan has homered in 10 of 12 games this season.

• Prior to her nine-strikeout effort against North Florida, sophomore RHP Stephanie Speierman career-high strikeout tally was eight, which she registered against Stephen F. Austin earlier this year.

• Senior RHP Jordan Taylor's shutout-inning streak ended at 27 innings. It was the second longest of her career; she boasted a 48 shutout-inning streak during her freshman campaign.

• Taylor's 10 strikeouts against UCF marked her third double-digit strikeout performance in as many starts this season.

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

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