Clutch Hitting Leads to Wins over No. 6 ASU, Cal State Fullerton

March 18, 2011

• Boxscores: Arizona State | Cal State Fullerton
• Photo Galleries: Arizona State | Cal State Fullerton

Site: Fullerton, Calif. (Titan Softball Complex)
Event: Judi Garman Classic
Scores: #5 Michigan 1, #6 Arizona State 0; #5 Michigan 5, Cal State Fullerton 2
Records: U-M (27-1), Arizona State (27-2), Cal State Fullerton (8-12)
Next U-M Game: Friday, March 18 -- vs. Arizona - Judi Garman Classic (Fullerton, Calif.), 1 p.m. PDT

FULLERTON, Calif. -- The No. 5-ranked University of Michigan softball team opened the annual Judi Garman Classic in impressive fashion, claiming a 1-0 decision against No. 6 Arizona State before battling to a 5-2 win over host Cal State Fullerton on Thursday (March 17) at the Titan Softball Complex.

Senior RHP Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif./Valencia HS) was superb against a potent Sun Devils lineup, throwing four perfect innings before settling on an eight-strikeout complete-game shutout -- her sixth of the season. Taylor allowed just two hits -- one apiece in the fifth and seventh innings -- and a walk to improve to 13-1 on the season. Sophomore RHP Stephanie Speierman (Columbia, Md./Hammond HS) earned the victory against the Titans, improving to 13-0, with a three-hit, one-strikeout effort through 5.2 innings. Taylor entered with two runners on in the sixth and issued a three-pitch strikeout before tossing a shutout seventh to collect her fifth save of the season.

Sophomore second baseman Ashley Lane (Escondido, Calif./Escondido HS) was the hero against ASU, knocking out a sixth-inning solo home run as part of a 2-for-2 effort from the plate. Junior third baseman Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich./Cabrini HS) hit 3-for-6 on the day with a long ball of her own in the nightcap, while junior centerfielder Bree Evans (Bloomington, Calif./Rialto HS) similarly went 3-for-7, posting two hits in the opener for her team-high 13th multi-hit performance of the season.

The Wolverines survived their first major test of the 2011 season with the narrow decision against Arizona State in the opener, snapping the Sun Devils' 23-game winning streak with Lane's late run. With one out in the frame, the Wolverine sophomore connected with the 2-0 pitch and drove it deep over the leftfield fence for her 10th long ball on the season.

The Sun Devils nearly responded in kind an inning later as third baseman Krista Donnenwirth smacked a high flyball to the wall in left centerfield for a one-out double, but Taylor retired the next two batters on nine pitches, including a game-ending strikeout, to preserve her team's final advantage.

Michigan had threatened with runners in scoring position in the third and fourth innings, but ASU ace Dallas Escobedo worked herself out of both jams with inning-ending strikeouts. For her part in the pitcher's duel, Esobedo wrapped the game with six strikeouts and seven hits and two walks allowed. The loss was the first of her collegiate career.

The Wolverines used another long ball to garner the early advantage against Fullerton in the nightcap as Chidester followed senior first baseman Dorian Shaw's (Burke, Va./Robinson SS) double with a deep ball down the leftfield line -- her fifth home run of the season.

Cal State Fullerton manufactured a pair of runs off a two-run, two-out single in the bottom of the fourth to even the score, but the Wolverines responded immediately, reestablishing their two-run advantage with a big fifth inning. Freshman rightfielder Lyndsay Doyle (Channahon, Ill./Minooka Community HS) initiated a two-out rally with an infield single to short and came home -- along with Evans -- on a errant throw off Evans' fielder's choice to third base.

Sophomore shortstop Amy Knapp (St. Joseph, Mich./Lakeshore HS) cushioned Michigan's lead on a sacrifice fly -- the first of her collegiate career -- in the sixth. Shaw and Chidester opened the inning with back-to-back singles and after the U-M base runners advanced on a groundout, Knapp sent a high fly to deep centerfield, allowing sophomore pinch runner Jacyln Crummey (Macomb, Mich./Dakota HS) -- on base in place of Shaw -- to race home from third base.

The Wolverines will return to the diamond for day two of the Judi Garman Classic tomorrow (Friday, March 18), facing No. 7 Arizona at 1 p.m. PDT at the Titan Softball Complex in Fullerton, Calif.

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

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