Wolverines Run Rule Villanova, Maine to Kick Off USF Invitational

March 4, 2011

Boxscores: Villanova | Maine

Site: Clearwater, Fla. (Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex)
Event: USF Under Armour Invitational
Scores: #8 Michigan 9, Villanova 0 (5 inn.); #8 Michigan 10, Maine 1 (6 inn.)
Records: U-M (19-0), Villanova (6-6), Maine (6-10)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, March 4 -- vs. Arkansas (Clearwater, Fla.), 5:30 p.m.

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The No. 8-ranked University of Michigan softball team kicked off its appearance at the USF Under Armour Invitational with a pair of run-rule wins, defeating Villanova (9-0, five innings) and Maine (10-1, six innings) on Friday evening (March 4) at the Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex.

Senior first baseman Dorian Shaw (Burke, Va./Robinson SS) and sophomore second baseman Ashley Lane (Escondido, Calif./Escondido HS) both went 5-for-6 on the day to pace the Wolverines' offense. Shaw posted a career-best four hits against Maine in the nightcap and registered three homers and six runs batted in the twinbill, while Lane tallied a pair of multi-hit efforts, including three against the Black Bears, and claimed four RBI. Freshman leftfielder Nicole Sappingfield (Norco, Calif./Norco HS) extended her hitting streak to 14 straight games, recording a career-best 3-for-3 effort against Villanova.

Senior RHP Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif./Valencia HS) posted her fourth shutout win of the season, improving to 9-0 with a six-strikeout complete-game two-hitter against the Wildcats. Sophomore RHP Stephanie Speierman (Columbia, Md./Hammond HS) also improved to 9-0 on the year, striking out eight while allowing eight hits and three walks against Maine in the day's second game.

The Wolverines scored the entirety of their runs in the opening two frames against Villanova, pushing four across in the first inning before quickly garnering the run-rule margin with a five-run second.

Shaw and Lane accounted for all of Michigan's first-inning tallies, temporarily keeping pace in the Wolverines' early home run race with a pair of two-run blasts. Shaw followed Sappingfield's infield with a shot to straightaway centerfield, and two batters after a U-M walk, Lane connected to crush a two-run homer over the rightfield fence.

Michigan used six hits, a pair of walks and a throwing error to manufacture its runs in the second. Junior third baseman Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich./Cabrini HS) initiated the Wolverines' scoring surge with the bases loaded and one down, pulling a two-run single down the leftfield line. U-M earned three more singles in the next three at-bats, including RBI hits from senior rightfielder Marley Powers (Owosso, Mich./Owosso HS) and freshman catcher Caitlin Blanchard (Petersburg, Mich./Summerfield HS), and added another run off the latter's single up the middle when the Villanova centerfield erred on the relay throw.

The Wolverines again utilized big innings in the nightcap but spaced out their runs against the Black Bears, scoring in the first, third, fourth and sixth innings to bring an early end to the contest.

Just as she did in the day's first slate, Shaw opened scoring for U-M with a two-run homer in the first inning -- her first of two home runs in the game. The Wolverine captain kicked off the third inning with a single down the leftfield line, moved to second on a stolen base and came home when Lane smacked an RBI single up the middle. Lane trotted home herself two batters later when Blanchard looped a single into rightfield.

Michigan tallied three consecutive singles to open the fourth inning and quickly load the bases for Chidester, who knocked another two-run hit -- a double -- down the leftfield line. Lane also doubled in the next at-bat, bringing home Chidester with a liner to rightfield.

Shaw provided Michigan its run-rule margin in the top of the sixth, following Sappingfield's leadoff walk, with her 11th home run of the season. Chidester tripled up the middle in the next at-bat and came across the plate on a groundout two batters later for U-M's final run.

Michigan looks to extend its season-opening unbeaten streak to 20 games and beyond tomorrow (Saturday, March 5), playing Arkansas (5:30 p.m.) and Ball State (8 p.m.).


• With today's wins, Michigan improved to 2-0 in the all-time series against Villanova and Maine. The Wolverines played both teams for the first time at last weekend's UCF Invitational.

• Freshman Nicole Sappingfield has hit .478 (22-for-46) with 10 runs batted in over her 14-game hitting streak. Her three-hit performance against Villanova was a career best. She leads the Wolverine team with nine multi-hit games.

• Senior Dorian Shaw tallied career highs with four hits and four runs scored against Maine in the nightcap. Her previous career high in both categories was three. She recorded three runs -- off three homers -- against Baylor in the 2009 NCAA Super Regional and notched three hits on three occasions, most recently earlier this season against Florida Atlantic on Feb. 18.

• Shaw brought her season home run tally to 10. She has registered double-digit homers in each of her collegiate seasons. She boasts 56 career long balls, listing just six behind U-M school record holder Samantha Findlay (62, 2005-08).

• Shaw also upped her career RBI total to 156, moving to the sixth position among Michigan's all-time leaders in the category. She needs just four more to reach the fifth spot, currently held by Maggie Viefhaus (160, 2007-10).

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

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