Quick Starts Vault Michigan Past UMKC, Villanova at UCF Invite

Feb. 26, 2011

Boxscores: UMKC | Villanova

Site: Orlando, Fla. (UCF Softball Complex)
Event: UCF Invitational
Scores: #9 Michigan 4, Missouri-Kansas City 1; #9 Michigan 7, Villanova 2
Records: U-M (14-0), Missouri-Kansas City (9-4), Villanova (4-5)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, Feb. 27 -- vs. Maine - UCF Invitational (Orlando, Fla.), 11 a.m.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The No. 9-ranked University of Michigan softball team extended its season-opening winning streak to 14 straight games with decisions over Missouri-Kansas City, 4-1, and Villanova, 7-2, on the second day of competition at the UCF Invitational on Saturday (Feb. 26) at the UCF Softball Complex.

The Wolverines earned its most productive hitting from the top of the order as junior centerfielder Bree Evans (Bloomington, Calif./Rialto HS) and freshman leftfielder Nicole Sappingfield (Norco, Calif./Norco HS) tallied four hits apiece, combining for four runs scored and two runs batted in. Sophomore second baseman Ashley Lane (Escondido, Calif./Escondido HS) and senior rightfielder Alycia Ryan (Morristown, N.J./Morristown HS) provided the power with a pair of three-run home runs.

Senior RHP Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif./Valencia HS) improved to 7-0 on the season with a solid complete-game effort against UMKC, striking out six while allowing two hits and a walk. Sophomore RHP Stephanie Speierman (Columbia, Md./Hammond HS) earned the victory against Villanova, improving to 7-0, allowing two hits and three walks and striking out four through five innings of work. Entering in relief against the Wildcats in the nightcap, Taylor struck out four of seven batters face en route to her third save of the season.

Michigan scored two runs apiece in the first and second innings to build a significant early advantage against Villanova. Evans and Sappingfield opened the contest with back-to-back base hits, using a leadoff double and subsequent run-scoring single up the middle. U-M used three walks to add its second tally; freshman catcher Caitlin Blanchard (Petersburg, Mich./Summerfield HS) earned the RBI with her bases-loaded base on balls.

The Wolverines opened the second frame in similar fashion, stringing together three consecutive singles from sophomore shortstop Amy Knapp (St. Joseph, Mich./Lakeshore HS), Evans and Sappingfield, who notched her second RBI of the contest with a gapper to the right side. Two batters later, after a Villanova double play, junior catcher Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich./Cabrini HS) smacked a double to right centerfield to score Evans from third.

The Wildcats spoiled Speierman's shutout bid in the sixth inning when centerfielder Jamie O'Hara accepted a leadoff walk, advanced on a steal and a wild pitch before coming home on pitcher Molly Manning's RBI single to right center. The run produced the U-M pitching change and after Villanova swiped home on a successful double steal, Taylor removed her team from the jam with a pair of strikeouts and a groundout.

Ryan responded with her three-run homer in the home half of the inning, following leadoff singles from Knapp and Evans with a towering shot over the leftfield fence -- her second home run of the season.

The Wolverines similarly scored the bulk of their runs in the early innings against UMKC, scoring three in the first frame before adding an insurance run in the third. Lane posted her second three-run blast of the weekend to provide U-M the entirety of its first-inning tallies, following a Sappingfield leftfield single and a walk by senior Dorian Shaw (Burke, Va./J.W. Robinson), with a line-drive home run over the fence in straightaway centerfield. With the hit, Lane upped her season home run total to six, earning a share of the team lead in the category.

Shaw, who also boasts six homers on the season, pushed across Michigan's run in the third inning. Evans led off the frame with a leftfield single and moved into scoring position on a groundout, before Shaw sent her home, smacking an RBI double to the rightfield fence.

Like Speierman in the nightcap, Taylor lost her shutout bid in the sixth. With a runner in scoring position after a leadoff walk and subsequent sacrifice, Kangaroo shortstop Kaelene Curry skipped a hard grounder up the middle to drive in her team's lone run. The Wolverine ace retired the next five batters she faced to close out the game.

The Wolverines will wrap up competition at the UCF Invitational tomorrow (Sunday, Feb. 27), squaring off against Maine at 11 a.m. at the UCF Softball Complex.


• With its first win of the day, Michigan improved to 2-0 in the all-time series against UMKC. The nightcap marked the first-ever meeting between U-M and Villanova.

• Freshman leftfielder Nicole Sappingfield boasts a nine-game hitting streak, dating back to U-M FAU Kick-Off Classic opener against Long Island. Sappingfield has tallied two hits in four of the last five games. She boasts seven multi-hit games on the season.

• Senior RHP Jordan Taylor's save against Villanova was the 12th of her collegiate career, adding to her U-M school record in the category.

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

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