March 6, 2010
Site: Tuscaloosa, Ala. (UA Softball Complex)
Event: Easton SEC/Midwest Challenge
Scores: #7 Michigan 1, South Carolina 0; #7 Michigan 4, #8 Alabama 2
Records: U-M (13-4), South Carolina (8-8), Alabama (13-5)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, March 7 -- vs. South Carolina at Easton SEC/Midwest Challenge (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), 11 a.m. CST
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The No. 7-ranked University of Michigan softball team showed it could win in divergent manners Saturday (March 6), using a small-ball approach to sneak past South Carolina 1-0 before collecting 11 hits in a 4-2 victory over No. 8 Alabama on day two of the Easton SEC/Midwest Challenge at UA Softball Complex.
U-M senior third baseman Maggie Viefhaus (Pacific, Mo./Eureka HS) scored on a double steal in the seventh inning to back senior LHP Nikki Nemitz's (St. Clair Shores, Mich./Regina HS) shutout pitching in the win over South Carolina. Against Alabama, junior first baseman Dorian Shaw's (Burke, Va./J.W. Robinson HS) three-run home run in the third inning was the big blow, helping junior RHP Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif./Valencia HS) improve to 9-1 this season.
After having little success against the Gamecocks pitcher Kelsey Goodwin through the first six innings, the Wolverines scratched across the winning run in the seventh. Senior rightfielder Angela Findlay (Lockport, Ill./East HS) led off with a single to leftfield, Viefhaus walked on four pitches, and both moved up a base on senior catcher Roya St. Clair's (Livonia, Mich./Stevenson HS) sacrifice bunt. Findlay was thrown out at home on Shaw's sharp grounder to shortstop, but Viefhaus and Shaw executed a double steal, with Viefhaus crossing the plate after the Gamecocks threw to second trying to catch Shaw.
Nemitz (4-3) consistently worked out of trouble as she allowed South Carolina baserunners in each of the first five innings before retiring the side in order in the sixth. She hit the Gamecocks' leadoff batter and gave up five singles and a walk, but U-M helped her escape damage by turning two double plays on lineouts, in the first inning to end a threat with runners on first and third, and in the seventh to end the game.
The Wolverines managed just two baserunners in the first six innings as Goodwin (3-3) faced one batter over the minimum. U-M senior DP Molly Bausher (Las Vegas, Nev./Spring Valley) had a two-out infield single in the third inning but was caught stealing, and St. Clair reached on an error by the shortstop to lead off the fifth.
Michigan's bats came alive against Alabama in the second game, with Findlay, Viefhaus, Shaw and sophomore shortstop Stephanie Kirkpatrick (Plainfield, Ill./Central) rapping out two hits apiece to lead the 11-hit attack against Crimson Tide lefthander Charlotte Morgan.
After putting two runners aboard in each of the first two innings but failing to score, U-M broke through with a two-out rally in the third, when Shaw followed back-to-back singles from Viefhaus and St. Clair with a three-run blast to left centerfield. It was Shaw's team-leading eighth home run of the season.
U-M added an insurance run in the seventh when Kirkpatrick singled to lead off the inning and came around to score on Findlay's two-out base hit.
Taylor gave up a pair of solo homers -- by Whitney Larsen to lead off the fifth and Amanda Locke with two out in the seventh -- among four hits allowed, but she struck out 10 and did not allow a walk in recording her second complete-game win over Alabama in as many days.
The Wolverines will close out the Easton SEC/Midwest Challenge as well as their spring break trip when they face South Carolina in an 11 a.m. CST contest Sunday (March 7) at the UA Softball Complex.
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423