Wolverines Have Pink Game Spoiled by Badgers

May 2, 2014

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Wilpon Complex)
Score: Wisconsin 9, #6 Michigan 3
Records: U-M (39-10, 17-4 B1G), Wisconsin (32-16, 14-6 B1G)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, May 3 -- vs. Wisconsin (Wilpon Complex), 7:30 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 6-ranked University of Michigan softball team could not maintain its early advantage in a 9-3 loss to Wisconsin on Friday evening (May 2) in front of 1,622 fans at the Wilpon Complex, home of Alumni Field.

Junior RHP Sara Driesenga (Hudsonville, Mich./Hudsonville HS) took the loss with a four-hit, five-walk effort through 4.1 innings in the circle. Junior LHP Haylie Wagner (Orange, Calif./El Modena HS) entered the game with one down in the fifth and allowed runs on six hits. The U-M duo combined for four strikeouts.

Michigan left seven runners stranded on bases, including two apiece in the fourth and sixth innings. Sophomore shortstop Sierra Romero (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta HS) accounted for a third of the Wolverines' six hits, going 2-for-4, and drove in a pair with a solo home run and seventh-inning double.

Michigan overcame a sloppy first inning, which featured Wisconsin reaching base on a pair of wild pitch strikeouts, with back-to-back solo bombs in the second and third. Senior designated player Taylor Hasselbach (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston HS) evened the score in the former frame, sailing a high-flying ball over the centerfield fence for her sixth home run of the season. Romero found a similar spot in the subsequent inning, knocking out her 14th long ball to the baseball field beyond centerfield.

Wisconsin retook the lead in a somewhat controversial fourth inning when second baseman Sara Novak drove a two-out, two-run double to the gap in right centerfield. The Wolverines had a pair of close calls go against them in the frame, including stolen base that put rightfielder Katie Christner in scoring position.

The Badgers added another run in the fifth -- unearned after a misplayed grounder down the first baseline -- before exploding for five runs in the seventh. After opening the frame with a leadoff double, Wisconsin laid down three consecutive bunts, scoring a sacrifice run on one, to load the bases for Novak, who smacked a grand slam -- just her third home run of the season -- into the rightfield grandstand. She boasted a career-best six runs batted in in the game.

Romero cut the final gap with her double in the bottom half of the seventh, following senior rightfielder Nicole Sappingfield's (Norco, Calif./Norco HS) leadoff double to the left-centerfield gap with a full-count screamer down the leftfield line. The Wolverine rally was shortlived, however, as a popout ended the game in the subsequent at-bat.

The Wolverines will continue its series against Wisconsin tomorrow (Saturday, May 3) with a 7:30 p.m. slate at the Wilpon Complex. The game will be aired live on the Big Ten Network.

Contact: Michael Kasiborski (mkasibor@umich.edu)

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