May 5, 2013
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Wilpon Complex)
Score: #10 Michigan 9, Northwestern 3
Records: U-M (44-9, 20-2 Big Ten), Northwestern (30-21, 12-10 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Friday, May 10 -- vs. TBD - Big Ten Tournament (Lincoln, Neb.), 2 p.m. CDT
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the third, junior Caitlin Blanchard (Petersburg, Mich./Summerfield) crushed a two-run homer to put the No. 10-ranked University of Michigan softball team on top for good in a 9-3 victory over Northwestern today (Sunday, May 5) at the Wilpon Complex, home of Alumni Field.
Blanchard swung at the first pitch she saw and drove in freshman Sierra Romero (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta), who had reached after being hit by a pitch for the second time in the game.
The two-run shot represented half of Blanchard's four runs batted in on the day, including a two-run double in the sixth that put the game out of reach. Romero reached on four straight plate appearances (two hit-by-pitches, a walk and an intentional walk) and scored each time. She put U-M's first run on the board after being hit by a pitch in the first, stealing third and scoring on a Northwestern error.
After Romero walked and Blanchard was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning, senior Ashley Lane (Escondido, Calif./Escondido) smoked a line drive that bounced off the top of the wall in left-center and over for a three-run home run, her 15th of the season.
In all, seven of U-M's nine runs came from runners who reached by either a walk or a hit-by-pitch. Senior Amy Knapp (St. Joseph, Mich./Lakeshore) knocked in sophomore Lauren Sweet (Corona, Calif./Santiago) following Sweet's second-inning walk.
Junior Lyndsay Doyle (Channahon, Ill./Minooka Community) and Romero both scored on Blanchard's sixth-inning double.
Sophomore starting pitcher Sara Driesenga (Hudsonville, Mich./Hudsonville) pitched a complete game for her 25th win of the season. She created trouble for herself in the bottom of the third after getting two outs. She walked the next two batters, and Northwestern's Amy Letourneau hit a three-run homer to momentarily take the lead for the Wildcats.
Blanchard got the runs back in the bottom of the inning to send the Wolverines on their way to the series sweep.
Following the game, the team honored its four seniors: Knapp, Lane, Jaclyn Crummey (Macomb, Mich./Dakota) and Stephanie Speierman (Columbia, Md./Hanover). The team was also presented with its Big Ten championship trophy.
Michigan will next play in the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 1 seed in Lincoln, Neb. U-M's first game will be Friday (May 10) against the winner of the No. 8 and No. 9 seed game. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. CDT.
Contact: Michael Kasiborski (734) 763-4423