April 13, 2011
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Wilpon Softball Complex)
Scores: #2 Michigan 3, Central Michigan 0
Records: U-M (37-3), Central Michigan (20-13)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, April 16 -- at Illinois (Champaign, Ill.), 2 p.m. CDT
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 2-ranked University of Michigan softball team used dominant pitching and timely hitting from the top and bottom of the order to secure a 3-0 midweek victory over intrastate rival Central Michigan on Wednesday evening (April 13) in front of 1,042 fans at the Wilpon Complex, home of Alumni Field.
Senior RHP Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif./Valencia HS) tossed a gem from the pitching circle, striking nine while allowing just one hit and one walk to improve to 19-3 on the season. Taylor set the tone with a four-pitch 1-2-3 top of the first, struck out the side in the third and allowed just a pair of CMU base runners en route to her eighth complete-game shutout.
Junior centerfielder Bree Evans (Bloomington, Calif./Rialto HS) and senior designated player Alycia Ryan (Morristown, N.J./Morristown HS) registered multi-hit efforts at the plate and accounted for all three runs batted in to headline the Wolverines' offense. Evans matched a season high with three hits -- her 20th multi-hit game of the season -- and drove in the game-winning tally in the second, while Ryan bombed out her second home run in three games as part of a 2-for-3 performance.
The Wolverines took advantage of their speed at the top and bottom of the order to manufacture the initial advantage, using three hits, including back-to-back infield singles, to push across a run in the second. With two on and two out, freshman rightfielder Lyndsay Doyle (Channahon, Ill./Minooka Community HS) smacked a high chopper back to the circle to load the bases for Evans, who connected with the 2-2 pitch and sent it dribbling down the first baseline. The Chippewa fielder charged the ball, and Evans raced past her to reach safely, while Ryan came home to score from third.
After Michigan's fifth-inning surge was thwarted by an inning-ending double play, Ryan broke the game open with her two-run shot in the sixth. Freshman catcher Caitlin Blanchard (Petersburg, Mich./Summerfield HS) lofted a single to shallow leftfield in the preceding at-bat, before Ryan connected with the 2-2 pitch and hammered it into the bleachers beyond rightfield. Ryan boasts four long balls on the season.
With the additional cushion on the scoreboard, Taylor set down the Chippewas in order in the top of the seventh to seal Michigan's fourth straight home victory.
Michigan will return to Big Ten Conference action this weekend (Sat-Sun., April 16-17), heading to Champaign, Ill., for a two-game series against Illinois. Both games are slated for 2 p.m. CDT starts at the Fighting Illini's Eichelberger Field.
N O T E S
With today's win, Michigan improved to 46-30 in the all-times series against Central Michigan. The Wolverines have won the last five against CMU.
Junior centerfielder Bree Evans leads the Wolverines with 20 multi-hit efforts from the leadoff spot this season and has boasted two or more hits in five of the last six games. Evans similarly led U-M with 23 multi-hit games last season.
Senior designated player Alycia Ryan has started the last five games and has hit .400 (6-for-15) over the stretch with three extra-base hits and three runs batted in.
Michigan has registered at least one home run in five of seven home games this season.
Senior RHP Jordan Taylor owns eight complete-game shutouts on the season and 38 in her U-M career. She ranks third among Michigan's all-time shutout leaders, just two shy of the second spot, currently held by Sara Griffin (40, 1995-98). Of U-M's 12 shutouts on the season, Taylor has contributed to 10.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Carol Hutchins
On today's game ... "It was a good win. Central has a good team, and they're having a great year. I told Margo [Jonker] that I was impressed with them; they had great enthusiasm and came to play. I could see some of us pressing at the plate, trying to meet expectations, and during the game I urged them to get into their process. After the game, I said the season gets harder, and it's going to keep getting harder. That's why you need to rely on your process. It helps get you through those times. Who's expected to win that game? Us. So, it puts all the pressure on us. If you have a process, you can get away from that pressure. It's like Tom Brady. There were about six guys drafted ahead of him, and he didn't have any expectations. He just worked hard, because he never knew if he was going to play. Expectations are about yesterday. It's all about being focused now, and that's hard for kids. So, I always remind them to work hard and expect to battle. That's my mantra."
On senior RHP Jordan Taylor ... "I thought this was an outstanding game for Jordan. She looked great and was on her game, and thankfully, because the rest of us weren't. It seemed easy for us on Saturday and Sunday, but it wasn't as easy today. In softball, you rely on your pitching and your defense, because hitting can be hard and can come and go. You hope you're pitching is solid. That's one thing you can say for Jordan about what she has done for us throughout the year. She's been consistent. She has been in her process in every game, and we rely on her."
On senior designated player Alycia Ryan ... "She didn't expect to do all of that. She just comes in, checks to see if she's in the lineup again and works hard. She just does the best she can. She doesn't put all those expectations on herself; she's finding ways to get things done for us, and she's obviously helping us. I give her a lot of credit. She's worked very hard, and it's fun to see her excel."
U-M Senior RHP Jordan Taylor
On her pitching performance today ... "I wouldn't say it was my best outing. Results wise, it was good. But I can always do better."
On facing non-conference teams ... "You always try to keep the approach the same. If you change things, you tend to play down to another team's level or get too hyped up for a big team. You just want to stay even keeled no matter who you're playing."
U-M Senior Designated Player Alycia Ryan
On her starting opportunity ... "It feels great. I've come in not having any expectations whatsoever and knowing that I have to work from the bottom up. That's what I've really tried to focus on -- working hard, making the most of every day and learning as I go along. I feel like I've come a long way. It just feels great to be on the field, and I'm just trying to make the most of my opportunities and help anyway I can."
On using great at-bat opportunities to improve ... "It's a comfort factor. I know I can make my adjustments as the game goes on and really study the pitcher. It's definitely a different mindset compared to a pinch-hit opportunity. It helps take some of the pressure off, because you can make adjustments at-bat to at-bat."
On enjoying her senior year ... "I'm having so much fun. It's been great, and I'm having a blast. That's what I'm really trying to focus on. Even if something doesn't go my way, in the grand scheme of things, it's okay. It's my senior year, and I'm having such a great time."
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423