May 4, 2011
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Wilpon Complex)
Scores: #2 Michigan 9, Ohio State 1 (6 inn.); #2 Michigan 8, Ohio State 0 (6 inn.)
Records: U-M (47-4, 14-2 Big Ten), Ohio State (13-31, 2-12 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, May 7 -- vs. Minnesota (Wilpon Complex), 6 p.m.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 2-ranked University of Michigan softball team reclaimed a share of the top spot in the Big Ten Conference standings with a dominant 9-1, 8-0 doubleheader sweep -- both in six innings -- against rival Ohio State on Wednesday evening (May 4) in front of 1,377 fans at the Wilpon Complex, home of Alumni Field.
The Wolverines used the long ball to account for the bulk of their runs in the twinbill. Senior designated player Alycia Ryan (Morristown, N.J./Morristown HS) knocked out a pair of solo blasts in the second slate -- the first multi-homer game of her career -- while junior third baseman Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich./Cabrini HS) and sophomore second baseman Ashley Lane (Escondido, Calif./Escondido HS) both went yard for multiple runs in game one. Chidester posted seven runs batted in on the day, while Lane pushed across five. Junior centerfielder Bree Evans (Bloomington, Calif./Rialto HS) extended her hit streak to 19 games with back-to-back two-hit efforts; she went 4-for-8 with five runs scored in the doubleheader.
Senior RHP Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif./Valencia HS) was spectacular from the circle, allowing just one run off three hits and a pair of walks in 12 innings of work. She struck out 18 Buckeye batters, including 10 in the first slate, to claim both victories and improve to 25-3 on the season.
The Wolverines built up a big early lead in game one, using long balls to score four runs apiece in the first and second innings before garnering the necessary run-rule cushion on a sixth-inning sacrifice fly.
Lane accounted for most of Michigan's first-inning tallies, following Chidester's bases-loaded RBI fielder's choice with a high-flying three-run blast to the Buckeye bullpen beyond the leftfield fence. The home run was Lane's team-leading 16th of the season and the second in as many games.
Chidester went deep to the same location in the next frame, bombing out her third grand slam of the season on a 1-2 pitch left over the plate. Sophomore shortstop Amy Knapp (St. Joseph, Mich./Lakeshore HS) led off the inning with a looper to shallow left-center, before U-M reached on a throwing error and subsequent full-count walk to load with one out. Chidester's homer was her 12th on the year and, like Lane, second in as many games.
The Buckeyes earned a two-out hit-by-pitch to spoil Taylor's perfect game in the fourth, before first baseman Evelyn Carrillo spoiled her no-hit and shutout bids with an RBI double down the leftfield line. Taylor responded quickly to halt any OSU momentum, ending the inning on a four-pitch strikeout before striking out the side in the fifth. The Wolverine ace picked up an inning-ending punchout in the sixth to claim her third straight double-digit strikeout performance.
Michigan reestablished its run-rule margin off a hit, a walk and a game-ending sacrifice fly in the sixth. Evans led off with a bouncing single to second base, freshman leftfield Nicole Sappingfield (Norco, Calif./Norco HS) followed with full-count walk, and both base runners advanced on an illegal pitch. Senior first baseman Dorian Shaw (Burke, Va./J.W. Robinson) took advantage of the extra base, directing a deep fly ball to leftfield to score Evans from third.
After a scoreless first inning in the nightcap, the Wolverines scored in each subsequent frame to gradually accumulate their eight-run cushion.
Ryan opened scoring with two down in the second, connecting with the 3-1 pitch and launching it high into the bleachers beyond the right-centerfield fence. She added her second blast in the fifth inning, similarly lining a 3-1 pitch into the centerfield bleachers. Ryan, who registered no home runs through her first three seasons, now boasts seven on the year.
Michigan earned multiple runs in the third and fourth innings. Evans led off the former with a lined single up the middle and after a single by Sappingfield and an OSU fielding error loaded the bases, Lane rocketed a first-pitch liner into deep leftfield. Buckeye outfielder Dee Dee Hillman reached to high to get her glove on it but could not complete the catch as Lane pulled safely for a two-run double. Chidester scored from third when the inning's next pitch went wild. The Wolverines similarly loaded the bases with one out in the next frame. Shaw drove in a run on a first-pitch RBI single through the left side, before Chidester drove a deep ball to the rightfield fence; it appeared on its way out, but the OSU outfielder made the catch on the track, forcing Chidester to settle for a sacrifice fly.
Chidester collected her second RBI of the contest in the sixth inning, ending the game on a bouncing single through the left side.
The Wolverines return to action this weekend, hosting a two-game series against Minnesota, squaring off at 6 p.m. on Saturday (May 7) and 2 p.m. on Sunday (May 8) at the Wilpon Complex, home of Alumni Field. Saturday's game will be aired live on the Big Ten Network.
N O T E S
With tonight's sweep, the Wolverines improved to 75-20 in the all-times series against Ohio State.
Michigan also improved to 14-2 in Big Ten Conference play this season and, with two series remaining in the regular season, shares the top spot in the league standings with Indiana. The two teams split a two-game series in the second weekend of Big Ten play.
Senior RHP Jordan Taylor improved her career record to 101-15 with her two wins tonight. She ranks second among Michigan's all-time winningest pitchers. She is just five wins shy of U-M's career wins record, currently held by Sara Griffin (106, 1995-98). Taylor's career winning percentage of .871 is already a Michigan school record.
Taylor earned her ninth complete-game shutout of the season in game two and boasts 39 in her career -- one shutout shy of the second spot, currently held by Sara Giffin (40) among Michigan's all-time leaders in the category. Jennie Ritter (2003-06) owns U-M's career shutout record with 43.
Taylor also inched closer to Michigan's career strikeout record. She posted 21 strikeouts in tonight's doubleheader to up her career total to 1,146 and trails only record holder Ritter (1,205).
After a home-run drought of five games, Michigan has posted two homers in each of the last two games. The Wolverines boast 14 multi-homer games on the season and own at least one home run in eight of 12 home games this year.
Senior designated player Alycia Ryan is the fourth different Wolverine player to record a multi-homer game this season. Senior first baseman Dorian Shaw boasts three two-homer games, while Ryan, sophomore second baseman Ashley Lane and junior third baseman Amanda Chidester have all tallied one.
Chidester's grand slam in game one was her third of the season -- and third in Big Ten play -- and fifth of her career. She ranks among Michigan's all-time grand slam leaders. Former Wolverine Samantha Findlay (2005-08) owns the record with seven. Chidester also claimed sole possession of Michigan's sixth spot among all-time home run leaders with 29.
Chidester's five RBI in game one was the second-greatest single-game RBI output this season. She previously registered seven RBI against Purdue on April 9.
Shaw tallied an RBI in each game to up her career total to 171 and claim the third position among U-M's all-time RBI leaders. She needs 13 more to reach the second spot, currently held by Sara Griffin (184).
Over her 19-game hitting streak, junior centerfielder Bree Evans has batted .457 (32-for-70) with 12 multi-hit games from the leadoff spot. She leads the Wolverines with 28 multi-hit games this season.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Carol Hutchins
On the game ... "I think when they have fun, they are their best. They love each other, they love Michigan, and they love playing ball here. Having fun is contagious. Getting hits, getting runs on the board -- it seems easier to do when you're having fun. We stopped hitting for a while when they changed pitchers, and that was contagious. But we played well. Jordan [Taylor] gave us a lot of confidence. Putting runs on the board is always fun."
On the speed at the top and bottom of the lineup ... "We made some things happen. Bree's [Evans] job, Colie's [Sappingfield] job and [Lyndsay] Doyle's job is to make things happen -- to complement their speed game with their ability to get on base. That's all we ask of them, and they were able to do that tonight. They've done their part very well."
On Alycia Ryan's continued momentum at the plate ... "The thing I like the most about Alycia is she isn't fazed by anything we do with her. She just wants to do her part, and she's happier than heck to get the chance to do it. We've moved her back to the No. 7 spot tonight; I knew she'd take that into stride, and I was happy to see her smoke a few."
On tonight's four home runs ... "We're swinging better. We weren't swinging very well at Wisconsin. Tonight we were swinging hard and swinging aggressive. I thought we had some good cuts at bad balls, but I liked our aggressive cuts."
U-M Senior RHP Jordan Taylor
On pitching back-to-back games ... "I was a little tougher only in the sense that I haven't had to do it since coming here. But it wasn't terribly difficult, especially when we cut the games short like we did. I was already loose for the second game, so I felt ready to go."
On building back confidence after her injury ... "Before my little break, I didn't feel like I was really pitching like myself. Wisconsin was a good weekend, but at the same time, I wasn't satisfied with it. I was pretty happy with today; it was a good night.
On her run support ... "Runs always help, because you don't have to throw as careful and cautious. When you are so focused on not making mistakes, that's when mistakes tend to happen. So, it takes a lot of pressure off when the hitters are able to put up big numbers."
U-M Senior Designated Player Alycia Ryan
On the atmosphere of tonight's doubleheader ... "We love playing at home, and it's always a challenge when we play Ohio State -- no matter what the records are. So, we were fired up and had a lot of fun tonight."
On tonight's hitting ... "We're always looking to give our pitchers run support, regardless of who is on the mound. Hitting is contagious; when a few people come up big, it usually seems to spread across the lineup. Everyone is just doing their part right now, and that's all that Hutch asks of us. No one person needs to put it all on their shoulders. With everyone coming through, it really takes the pressure off everyone else. We can just have a lot of fun and enjoy playing the game."
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423