May 4, 2014
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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Wilpon Complex)
Score: Wisconsin 6, #7 Michigan 5 (9 innings)
Records: U-M (40-11, 18-5 B1G), Wisconsin (33-17, 15-7 B1G)
Next U-M Event: Friday, May 9 -- vs. Iowa or Illinois - Big Ten Tournament (Evanston, Ill.), 4:30 p.m. CDT
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- A ninth-inning home run off the bat of Wisconsin's Sara Novak provided the difference in the Badgers' 6-5 win over the No. 7-ranked University of Michigan softball team on Sunday (May 4) at the Wilpon Complex.
A season-high crowd of 2,021 watched the two squads battle in a back-and-forth game on Senior Day, with Wisconsin edging Michigan in the second extra frame. With the loss, Michigan splits the Big Ten regular-season title with Nebraska.
U-M had its chances in the extra innings, most notably in the eighth inning when it left the bases loaded following back-to-back singles from seniors Lyndsay Doyle (Channahon, Ill./Minooka Community) and Nicole Sappingfield (Norco, Calif./Norco) and a hit-by-pitch to senior Caitlin Blanchard (Petersburg, Mich./Summerfield). The Wolverines could not plate a run, and Novak opened the ninth with her game-winning homer.
Michigan led early on when sophomore Sierra Romero (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta) provided an early jolt, blasting a home run in the third inning. Romero's 15th homer of the season gave U-M a 2-0 lead.
But the Badgers fought right back in their half of the fourth. Starting pitcher Megan Betsa (McDonough, Ga./Union Grove) left the game with the bases loaded and a 3-1 count to Chloe Miller. Reliever Sara Driesenga's (Hudsonville, Mich./Hudsonville) first pitch of the game was a ball, and it forced in the Badgers' first run.
A single and a Michigan error led to three more runs in the inning, and U-M was playing from behind going into its half of the fourth.
Three batters in, with freshman Lindsay Montemarano (Seaford, N.Y./Seaford) aboard following a single, Doyle lofted her first home run of the season beyond the right field tying the game at four runs apiece.
Michigan fell behind again in the seventh inning after Miller's two-out double scored Stephanie Peace all the way from first base. Then, it was another U-M senior who provided some more heroics on Senior Day. Taylor Hasselbach (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston) belted a mammoth home run that cleared the bleachers in right center field to lead off the seventh and send the game to extra innings.
The Maize and Blue could not capitalize on the bases loaded situation in the seventh, and went down 1-2-3 in the ninth inning.
Driesenga took the loss, her sixth of the season. She tossed six innings and struck out five, while giving up two runs. Betsa went three innings and was responsible for all four runs that scored in the fourth inning.
Michigan will next take part in the Big Ten Tournament in Evanston, Ill. U-M earned the No. 1 seed and a bye into the second round of the tournament as co-Big Ten champs. The Maize and Blue will open play on Friday (May 9) at Sharon Drysdale Field against the winner of Iowa and Illinois. First pitch is slated for 4:30 p.m. CDT.
N O T E S
Michigan is now 33-7 all-time against Wisconsin.
The Wolverines fall to 1-3 in extra innings.
Sierra Romero set a new career high with 50 walks in a season. She also has the third-most walks by any Wolverine in a single season.
Romero has now reached base in 33 consecutive games.
Romero set a new career high with her 70th hit of the season.
Romero knocked in two runs for her 18th multi-RBI game of the year.
Nicole Sappingfield has more than doubled her career total in doubles here in 2014. She came into the season with seven career doubles, and hit her eighth of the season today.
Sappingfield tallied her 20th multi-hit game of the season, third most on the team.
Lyndsay Doyle collected her 23rd multi-hit game of the season, second most on the team. She also picked up her fourth multi-RBI game of the season.
Caitlin Blanchard tied a team high with two hit-by-pitches (Haylie Wagner, twice in 2014).
Before the game, U-M honored its six seniors: Caitlin Blanchard, Lyndsay Doyle, Taylor Hasselbach, Katie Luetkens, Nicole Sappingfield and Brandi Virgil. This group amassed a 186-47, 74-14 B1G record.
Contact: Michael Kasiborski