March 2, 2012
Site: Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (ESPN Softball Diamondplex)
Event: Citrus Classic (Day 1)
Results: #16 Michigan 5, #14 UCLA 3; #16 Michigan 4, #19 Auburn 0
Records: U-M (13-4), UCLA (11-5), Auburn (15-1)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, March 3 -- vs. Syracuse - Citrus Classic (Lake Buena Vista, Fla.), 12:15 p.m.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The No. 16-ranked University of Michigan softball team scored four unanswered runs to rally past No. 14 UCLA, 5-3, and hit two home runs to knock off No. 19 Auburn, 4-0, in the Citrus Classic on Friday (March 2) at the ESPN Softball Diamondplex.
Freshman LHP Haylie Wagner (Orange, Calif./El Modena) picked up the win in relief against the Bruins, pitching out of a bases-loaded jam with just one out in the fifth. The lefty threw 2.2 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out one. Michigan totaled 10 hits in the contest, paced by a 3-for-3 performance by senior centerfielder Bree Evans (Bloomington, Calif./Rialto) and two runs batted in by senior third baseman Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich./Cabrini).
UCLA scored a run in the first and second innings to take a 2-0 lead, before U-M got a run back in the third. Junior second baseman Amy Knapp (St. Joseph, Mich./Lakeshore) led off the inning with a single to third base, advancing to second on a chopper to short. Evans looped one over the second baseman's head to score Knapp from second as UCLA's lead was cut in half at 2-1.
The Bruins plated another run in the top of the fifth inning, extending their lead to 3-1. In the bottom half of the inning, U-M loaded the bases on an error from the third baseman and back-to-back singles. Chidester's fly ball was caught at the wall, allowing sophomore outfielder Lyndsay Doyle (Channahon, Ill./Minooka Community) to score from third. Following a walk and a fielder's choice to load the bases with two down, freshman catcher Lauren Sweet (Corona, Calif./Santiago) took a ball on a full count, walking in the tying run as the teams stood tied at 3-3.
With two out in the sixth, Evans singled up the middle and then stole second during sophomore outfielder Nicole Sappingfield's (Norco, Calif./Norco) at-bat. Facing a full count, Sappingfield singled to left center and head coach Carol Hutchins waved Evans home from second. Evans avoided the initial tag but missed the plate, beating the catcher to plate on her second attempt to hit home for Michigan's fourth run of the contest. Chidester singled to left during the next at-bat, easily scoring Sappingfield from second and pushing Michigan's lead to 5-3.
UCLA went down in order in the seventh, as Michigan came away with the 5-3 win.
In the night's second contest against Auburn, the Wolverines hit two home runs and had five total hits between Wagner and senior third baseman Stephanie Kirkpatrick (Plainfield, Ill./Central). Each hit a solo home run as Kirkpatrick had three hits and Wagner had two on the evening. Wagner also picked up the win, pitching all 7.0 innings without allowing a run on four hits.
Wagner broke up a scoreless game in the fourth inning against Auburn, hitting a home run to leftfield as Michigan took a 1-0 nothing advantage. The Wolverines increased their lead to 2-0 when Kirkpatrick knocked a homer to left-center to lead off the fifth inning.
The Maize and Blue took advantage of two Auburn errors in the top of the seventh, adding two more runs for a 4-0 lead. Auburn did not score in the bottom half as the Tigers suffered their first loss of the season.
Michigan is back in action tomorrow (Saturday, March 3) with a pair of games at the Citrus Classic. The Wolverines will square off against Syracuse at 12:15 p.m., with the game airing on ESPN3.com. U-M will wrap up the day against Virginia at 2:30 p.m.
N O T E S
UCLA leads the all-time series against Michigan, 9-7-1. The Wolverines have won five of the last six contests against UCLA, including the two wins during the 2005 WCWS en route to the national championship.
Michigan remains perfect against Auburn at 5-0.
Against Auburn, Haylie Wagner picked up her third shutout of the year.
Against the Bruins, Caitlin Blanchard hit from the No. 4 spot for the first time in her career.
Michigan's 5-3 win over UCLA marked the first win over a higher ranked opponent for the Wolverines this season.
The Wolverines move to 4-1 this season against ranked opponents.
Against Auburn, Haylie Wagner hit the first home run of her career -- a shot to leftfield. She is the third Wolverine to hit their first career home run in 2012, joining Lauren Sweet and Taylor Hasselbach.
Amy Knapp was hit by a pitch twice against Auburn. Prior to tonight, she had only been hit once in her career.
Stephanie Kirkpatrick's home run was the third of her career and the first since her freshman year (2009).
Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423