April 26, 2014
Site: Champaign, Ill. (Eichelberger Field)
Score: #4 Michigan 10, Illinois 2 (six innings); #4 Michigan 6, Illinois 5
Records: U-M (39-9, 17-3 B1G), Illinois (20-25, 4-16 B1G)
Next U-M Event: Friday, May 2 -- vs. Wisconsin (Wilpon Complex), 6 p.m.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The No. 4-ranked University of Michigan softball team used a pair of big innings to sweep a doubleheader today (Saturday, April 26) at Illinois, 10-2 in six innings in game one and 6-5 in game two, at Eichelberger Field.
Michigan plated four runs in the first inning of game two and looked poise to pull away from the Fighting Illini. The first three Wolverine hitters reached, and 10 hitters in all went up to bat. Sophomore Sierra Romero (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta) smacked an opposite field single to score U-M's first run.
Senior Taylor Hasselbach (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston), and freshman Lindsay Montemarano (Seaford, N.Y./Seaford) added RBI singles, and junior Lauren Sweet (Corona, Calif./Santiago) drove in a run on a sacrifice fly. After a half inning, Michigan was leading 4-0.
The Fighting Illini got two back off of starter Haylie Wagner (Orange, Calif./El Modena) in the first to cut the lead to 4-2.
Sophomore Sierra Lawrence (Snellville, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian) slugged a two-run homer to deep center in the second to building the U-M lead back to four runs. But then a Michigan error let in two more in the bottom of the second to make it 6-4.
Freshman Megan Betsa (McDonough, Ga./Union Grove) replaced Wagner in the fourth and walked the first batter she faced to load the bases with one out. Montemarano then came up with a huge defensive play, snagging a hot shot down the third base line, stepping on third and then throwing across the diamond to first to get the double play, ending the inning.
By that point, Michigan was mired in a hitless streak that would extend from the bottom of the second through the sixth inning. Illinois starter Brandi Needham retired 13 consecutive hitters to keep Michigan at bay.
Illinois scored once more in the sixth to make it 6-5 going into the seventh. After U-M left the bases loaded in its half, the Illinois' leadoff hitter smacked a double. The tying run was 120 feet away.
Junior Sara Driesenga (Hudsonville, Mich./Hudsonville) relieved Betsa and got a comebacker for the first out. First baseman Kelly Christner (Tinley Park, Ill./Victor J. Andrew) fired down to second, as the runner had drifted from the bag. The runner was called out on appeal, clearing the bases. Driesenga got the next batter to bounce out, preserving Michigan's doubleheader sweep.
Betsa earned her second win of the day, and Driesenga recorded her fourth save of the season.
In game one, the Wolverines busted out six runs in the fourth inning to pull away from the Fighting Illini.
Despite loading the bases in both the first and second innings, the Maize and Blue could only plate one run in each frame. Illinois scored once in the bottom of the third, making it 2-1 ballgame going into the fourth.
Michigan sent 11 batters to the dish in its half of the fourth, punctuated by a three-run homer from Hasselbach. Senior Lyndsay Doyle (Channahon, Ill./Minooka Community), Romero, Lawrence and freshman Abby Ramirez (Chicago, Ill./Trinity) all added singles in the inning.
The Wolverines capitalized on five Fighting Illini errors in the game, scoring four unearned runs. Doyle led the way with two hits -- and she recorded six putouts in centerfield. Romero and freshman Montemaranoeach chipped in two hits.
Betsawas the beneficiary of Michigan's 13 hits and 10 runs. She held Illinois to two runs on four hits. Betsa's best inning was the sixth, when she set down the Fighting Illini 1-2-3 to end the game with a run-rule decision.
The righty struck out three and walked three. She went the distance to earn her 13th win of the season.
The Maize and Blue next returns home for its final regular season homestand of the series opening up a three-game set with Wisconsin on Friday (May 2). First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the game will broadcast live on 1290 WLBY and through MGoBlue.com.
Contact: Michael Kasiborski (email@example.com)