March 19, 2011
Site: Fullerton, Calif. (Titan Softball Complex)
Event: Judi Garman Classic
Scores: #5 Michigan 9, Notre Dame 4; Fresno State 3, #5 Michigan 1
Records: U-M (29-2), Notre Dame (16-6), Fresno State (16-8)
Next U-M Game: Saturday, March 26 -- at Northwestern (Evanston, Ill.), 1 p.m. CDT
FULLERTON, Calif. -- The No. 5-ranked University of Michigan softball team split a pair of games on the third and final day of the Judi Garman Classic, cruising past familiar foe Notre Dame, 9-4, before falling to Fresno State, 3-1, on Saturday (Match 19) at the Titan Softball Complex.
Senior first baseman Dorian Shaw (Burke, Va./Robinson SS) paced the Wolverines' offense, going 4-for-7 with three runs batted in on the afternoon, while junior centerfielder Bree Evans (Bloomington, Calif./Rialto HS) posted back-to-back two-hit efforts, upping her multi-hit games to a team-leading 16 while extending her hit streak to five in a row. Sophomore second baseman Ashley Lane (Escondido, Calif./Escondido HS) went 3-for-3 with three RBI against Notre Dame.
Sophomore RHP Stephanie Speierman (Columbia, Md./Hammond HS) improved to 14-0 with Michigan's win against the Fighting Irish, striking out six while allowing six hits and a walk through six innings pitched. Senior RHP Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif./Valencia HS) was doomed by three extra-base hits in the fourth inning of the finale, dropping to 14-2 despite a solid 10-strikeout, five-hit complete-game effort.
The Wolverines used three big innings to gain a sizable advantage on Notre Dame before the Irish narrowed the gap with four runs in the final two frames.
After threatening in each of the opening two innings, Michigan broke through in the third, using six hits, including two for extra bases, to push across four runs. Freshman leftfielder Nicole Sappingfield (Norco, Calif./Norco HS) singled to shortstop to initiate the surge with one out before Shaw connected with the 2-2 pitch in the next at bat and drive a towering two-run homer -- her 11th of the season -- over the leftfield fence. Junior third baseman Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich./Cabrini HS) singled through the left side, and Lane promptly sent her home, with an RBI double to the gap in right centerfield. After a flyout, freshman catcher Caitlin Blanchard (Petersburg, Mich./Summerfield HS) knocked an RBI single through the right side.
Michigan added a pair of tallies in the fourth on Lane's two-run single to right centerfield before garnering a temporary run-rule cushion with three runs in the sixth. The Wolverines led off with five consecutive singles from the top of the order, earning runs when the Irish leftfielder misplayed Shaw's single through the left side and on Chidester's single to the same spot. With the bases loaded, freshman pinch hitter Mandy Gardner (Mission Viejo, Calif./Aliso Niguel HS) was hit with the 1-1 pitch to earn her first collegiate RBI the hard way.
The Fighting Irish kept the came alive with two runs in the home half of the sixth and added two more in the seventh to narrow the final margin. Both sixth-inning tallies came unearned on two-out fielding error before Notre Dame loaded the bases with no outs in the latter frame before Stuhr drove a two-run single into the right centerfield gap.
Shaw provided Michigan an early advantage against Fresno State in the day's second slate, following an Evans leadoff single -- and a subsequent error and groundout that put Evans on third base -- with a hard grounder up the middle.
The Bulldogs scored the entirety of their runs with no outs in the fourth. FSU first baseman Michelle Moses led off the inning with a solo shot to left centerfield and after a full-count triple, catcher Caitlin Stiglich connected with the 0-1 pitch in the next at bat and drove a two-run blast over the left center fence. The long balls were only the second and third allowed by Taylor this season.
Michigan threatened with a pair of base runners in the top of the seventh with singles from senior designated player Marley Powers (Owosso, Mich./Owosso HS) and Evans, but FSU forced a game-ending groundout to issue U-M its second loss of the season.
The Wolverines will kick off the Big Ten Conference portion of their 2011 schedule next weekend, heading to Evanston, Ill., for a two-game series against rival Northwestern on Saturday and Sunday (March 26-27). Both games are slated for a 1 p.m. CDT start at the Wildcats' Drysdale Field.
With today's outcomes, Michigan improves to 15-4 in the all-time series against Notre Dame -- with 11 straight wins against the Irish -- and fell to 4-8 in the all-time series against Fresno State.
Senior first baseman Dorian Shaw inched closer to Michigan's home run record with her 11th long ball of the season in the Notre Dame game. With 57 career homers, Shaw sits just five behind school-record holder Samantha Findlay (62, 2005-08).
Shaw also moved to the fourth spot among the Wolverines' all-time RBI leaders with 165 in her collegiate career. She surpassed Stefanie Volpe (164, 1999-2002) with her three-RBI effort today. Shaw needs five more RBI to reach the third spot, currently held by Catherine Davie (170, 1996-99).
Junior centerfielder Bree Evans recorded two-hit performances in four of five games at the Judi Garman Classic, including the final three in a row. Evans leads the team with 16 multi-hit games -- more than half Michigan's 31 games this season.
Sophomore second baseman Ashley Lane matched a career best with three hits against Notre Dame. She leads the Wolverines with 12 multi-RBI games.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Carol Hutchins
On this weekend and a lot of traveling this season ... "At the end of the day here, you tend to run out of gas. I think it's been not just a long road trip - it's been a long 30 games. We've been out of Ann Arbor more than we've been in it. I think (the team) has done an exceptional job of staying on their toes and working hard and working through traveling and playing so many games."
On starting Big Ten play next weekend ... "(How we'll do) remains to be seen. If we just keep what we're doing and try not to make the conference season or any conference opponents as anything bigger than it is. In all 30 of our games this year, I think we've done a really nice job of just focusing on what's important - Michigan. I fully expect to keep that focus, because if we don't, it's just not going to work."
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423