Doyle's Double, Game-Saving Throw Lock Up Win over Minnesota

April 19, 2014

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Wilpon Complex)
Score: #3 Michigan 3, #12 Minnesota 1
Records: U-M (35-7, 13-1 B1G), Minnesota (33-7, 11-4 B1G)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, April 20 -- vs. Minnesota (Wilpon Complex), 1 p.m. (Big Ten Network tape delay begins at 3 p.m.) [ Purchase Tickets ]

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Senior centerfielder Lyndsay Doyle (Channahon, Ill./Minooka Community) turned around the fortunes of the No. 3-ranked University of Michigan softball team when she threw a runner out at the plate in the top of the fifth and then delivered the game-winning hit in the bottom half of the inning in U-M's 3-1 triumph over No. 12 Minnesota tonight (Saturday, April 19) at the Wilpon Complex, home of Alumni Field.

The win marks the 1,500th in the Michigan program history.

With two on and two outs in the fifth, Doyle stepped to the dish against Golden Gophers starter Sara Groenewegen. The game was deadlocked at 1-1, and the Minnesota hurler had retired 12 straight prior to walking junior Lauren Sweet (Corona, Calif./Santiago) three batters before Doyle.

On a 2-1 count, Doyle slashed a double into the left-center gap, scoring pinch runner Brandi Virgil (Houston, Texas/Cypress Creek) and freshman Kelly Christner (Tinley Park, Ill./Victor J. Andrew), who had drawn a pinch-hit walk the batter before Doyle.The double was only Michigan's third hit of the game but proved to be the decisive one.

Doyle set the stage for her game-winning at-bat with a perfect throw home in the top half of the inning to preserve the tie. Michigan starter Sara Driesenga (Hudsonville, Mich./Hudsonville) faced a bases-loaded jam following two walks and a fielder's choice. The righty had escaped a bases-loaded situation earlier in the game when she got a groundout to the end the third inning.

But head coach Carol Hutchins opted for reliever Haylie Wagner (Orange, Calif./El Modeno) to enter with the bases loaded and one out. When Minnesota's Taylor LeMay lofted a high fly ball into center, Doyle caught it and fired a strike to home plate, where Sweet put the tag on Hannah Meyer tagging from third base. It is Doyle's first outfield assist of the season.

Michigan struck first when Sierra Romero (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta) doubled in the opening frame, scoring senior Nicole Sappingfield (Norco, Calif./Norco). After being shut out in game one of the series, U-M had a run three batters into game two, but the Maize and Blue did not get another hit until Doyle's double.

Driesenga pitched 4.1 innings and gave up one unearned run. She struck out seven, tying a season high. Wagner got the win in relief, pushing her record to 20-1. She retired all seven batters she faced in order, picking up three strikeouts along the way.

Michigan and Minnesota will play the rubber game of their series on Sunday (April 20) at the Wilpon Complex. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on tape-delay on the Big Ten Network beginning at 3 p.m. Tickets are available through MGoBlue.com.




N O T E S

• Michigan is now 3-2 in two-run games.

Lyndsay Doyle collected her third multi-RBI game of the season.

• Doyle extended her career-best hitting streak to 14 games, tying Caitlin Blanchard for the longest streak by a Wolverine this season.

Sierra Romero extended her team-best reached-base streak to 24.

• Romero became the first Wolverine to tally 20 multi-hit games with her single and double today.

Nicole Sappingfield hit her first triple since April 14, 2013.

Haylie Wagner now has five wins in relief (Feb. 16 vs. Boston College, Feb. 22 vs. Kent State, March 1 vs. Utah Valley, March 22 vs. Indiana).

• Michigan is now 9-3 when Sara Driesenga starts.

Q U O T E S

U-M Senior Outfielder Lyndsay Doyle
On how her approached changed with two outs in the fifth ... "(I didn't change much), but I was struggling all game. Bonnie (Tholl) came over and gave me a tip to stay on my line, put the ball in play and make good contact. That was my approach and I was looking for my pitch and just trying to put the ball in play."

On how she set up to catch the fifth inning fly ball and throw home ... "It was a high fly ball so I had to really focus on staying behind the ball. I did take one last step behind the ball when it was coming down and I think that was really key."

On how U-M's pitchers kept them in the team in the game ... "I thought that they hit their spots and kept their hitters off balance because they are a good offensive team. The pitchers did their part. They gave us an opportunity to stay in this game and give us a chance to win."

On what is more exciting: a game-saving throw or a game-winning hit? ... "Both were pretty great. I was trying to help my pitchers out as much as I could. Coming up to the plate with two runners on and just trying to do my part and stay aggressive."

Contact: Michael Kasiborski (mkasibor@umich.edu)