May 3, 2014
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Wilpon Complex)
Score: #7 Michigan 10, Wisconsin 1 (6 inn.)
Records: U-M (40-10, 18-4 B1G), Wisconsin (32-17, 14-7 B1G)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, May 4 -- vs. Wisconsin (Ann Arbor, Mich.), 1 p.m.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Headlined by dominant pitching and explosive hitting, the No. 7-ranked University of Michigan softball team clinched at least a share of its seventh consecutive Big Ten Conference title with a 10-1, six-inning decision over Wisconsin on Saturday evening (May 3) in front of 1,400 fans at the Wilpon Complex, home of Alumni Field.
Freshman RHP Megan Betsa (McDonough, Ga./Union Grove HS) struck out 10, including two apiece in the first four innings, while allowing just two hits and three walks. She walked the first two batters of the game but emerged unscathed from an early bases-loaded jam and settled in. She improved to 15-3 on the season.
Senior designated player Taylor Hasselbach (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston HS) shared the spotlight, driving in two with a 2-for-3 effort and capping the night with a game-ending two-run bomb in the bottom of the sixth inning -- her second long ball of the weekend. Senior first baseman Caitlin Blanchard (Petersburg, Mich./Summerfield HS) and junior catcher Lauren Sweet (Corona, Calif./Santiago HS) also drove in a pair of runs with two hits apiece.
The Wolverines scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth to secure their 20th run-rule victory of the season. Freshman second baseman Abby Ramirez (Chicago, Ill./Trinity HS) initiated the surge from the leadoff spot, sending a screamer down the third baseline which hit the Badger fielder before rolling foul. Senior rightfielder Nicole Sappingfield (Norco, Calif./Norco HS) reached on a bloop single to shallow leftfield and sophomore shortstop Sierra Romero (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta HS) took the next pitch deep to the leftfield wall -- her second double of the contest. Michigan added two more runs on a Blanchard single and subsequent fielder's choice before Hasselbach connected with the 0-2 pitch and drove it over the centerfield fence.
Hasselbach also scored the Wolverines' first run of the contest after getting on base with a leadoff double in the second inning. She advanced on a well-placed bunt from Sweet and came home on freshman third baseman Lindsay Montemarano's (Seaford, N.Y./Seaford HS) sacrifice fly to left centerfield. Sweet scored two batters later, unearned, when Wisconsin's second baseman threw an errant relay to first base after an infield single from senior centerfielder Lyndsay Doyle (Channahon, Ill./Minooka Community HS).
The Badgers scored their only run of the game in the top of third, taking advantage of a walk and hit batter to load the bases before shortstop Ashley Van Zeeland dropped a ball just a foot in front of the box to score the runner from third.
Michigan responded with three runs in the home half of the inning. Romero and Blanchard registered back-to-back doubles to lead off; the latter earning an RBI on a rocketed liner down the rightfield line. The Wolverines reached in the next two at-bats to load the bases for Sweet, who dropped a well-placed ball down the line into shallow leftfield -- and beyond the reach of the sliding Badger outfielder -- to score two on Michigan's third double of the inning.
Michigan will wrap the regular-season portion of its 2014 schedule tomorrow (Sunday, May 4), hosting Wisconsin at 1 p.m. at Alumni Field.
N O T E S
Michigan has won 40 games or more in each of its last 20 seasons.
Freshman RHP Megan Betsa registered her fifth double-digit strikeout performance. Her career-best strikeout tally is 13, which she recorded against Central Arkansas on Feb. 15.
Sophomore shortstop Sierra Romero has reached base in 32 consecutive games.
Romero tallied a career-best two doubles in the contest -- her ninth and 10th of the season. It was also her team-leading 24th multi-hit game of the season.
Romero tied three of her single-season bests with her effort tonight, upping her totals to 69 hits, 49 walks and six steals. She ranks third among U-M's all-time single-season leaders in walks.
Senior centerfielder Lyndsay Doyle collected her 22nd multi-hit game of the season.
Junior catcher Lauren Sweet tallied her eighth multi-hit game of the season and seventh multi-RBI game.
Senior catcher Caitlin Blanchard collected her 13th multi-hit game of the year and her 10th multi-RBI game.
Senior designed player Taylor Hasselbach tallied her ninth multi-hit game of the season and her eighth multi-RBI game
Michigan set a new season high with five doubles.
Contact: Michael Kasiborski