May 11, 2013
Site: Lincoln, Neb. (Bowlin Stadium)
Event: Big Ten Tournament (Semifinals)
Score: Wisconsin 9, #6 Michigan 3
Records: U-M (45-10), Wisconsin (41-11)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, May 12 -- NCAA Selection Show (ESPNU), 10 p.m.
LINCOLN, Neb. -- A first-inning pinch-hit grand slam by Wisconsin's Stefanni LaJeunesse opened up a gap that the No. 6-ranked University of Michigan softball team could not close today (Saturday, May 11) on its way to a 9-3 defeat in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament held at Bowlin Stadium.
Wisconsin got right to work in the bottom of the first, plating its first run on back-to-back doubles from its first two hitters off starting pitcher sophomore Haylie Wagner (Orange, Calif./El Modeno). From there, the Badgers loaded the bases and scored once more on a walk. Then the big blow came from LaJeunesse, who lofted a grand slam over the leftfield wall. Michigan trailed 6-0 before its second at-bat.
Sophomore righthander Sara Driesenga (Hudsonville, Mich./Hudsonville) replaced Wagner in the top of the second and held the Badgers in check for the next two innings. But defensive miscues led to another Wisconsin run in the fourth on two hits and a U-M error.
Trailing 7-0, Driesenga sparked the offense with a solo home run to lead off the fifth inning. She hit a towering fly that carried well beyond the rightfield wall and ignited a three-run inning for the Maize and Blue.
Pinch hitter Kelsey Susalla (Garden City, Mich./Garden City) knocked in U-M's second run of the inning on a fielder's choice following a walk and a back-to-back singles from senior Amy Knapp (St. Joseph, Mich./Lakeshore) and junior Lyndsay Doyle (Channahon, Ill./Minooka Community). A double from Caitlin Blanchard (Petersburg, Mich./Summerfield) plated Knapp to cut the Badgers lead to four runs.
The Wolverines gave back two runs in the next half inning. Some problems on defense and some well-placed Wisconsin infield hits led to two runs. None of the balls Wisconsin put into play left the infield, and Michigan committed its third error of the game when Driesenga could not field a comebacker.
Michigan's offense could not get going after the fifth. The Maize and Blue put two runners on in the seventh with one out on Doyle's second hit of the game and a walk to junior Nicole Sappingfield (Norco, Calif./Norco), but they were stranded on the base paths.
Driesenga pitched the final five innings of the game and yielded three runs, however, none were earned. She struck out three and walked two. Wagner was charged with the loss, her third of the year.
The loss knocks Michigan out of the Big Ten Tournament.
The field for the NCAA Tournament will be announced tomorrow (Sunday, May 12) at 10 p.m. on ESPN U.
Contact: Michael Kasiborski (734) 763-4423