May 13, 2011
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Wilpon Complex)
Scores: #2 Michigan 8, Michigan State 0 (6 inn.)
Records: U-M (50-4, 17-2 Big Ten), Michigan State (27-26, 6-13 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, May 14 -- at Michigan State (East Lansing, Mich.), 1 p.m.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Headlined by dominant pitching and explosive hitting, the No. 2-ranked University of Michigan softball team clinched at least a share of its fourth consecutive Big Ten Conference title with an 8-0, six-inning decision over intrastate rival Michigan State on Friday evening (May 13) in front of 2,522 fans at the Wilpon Complex, home of Alumni Field.
Senior RHP Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif./Valencia HS) struck out 13 -- two apiece in the first five innings before fanning the side in the sixth -- while allowing just one hit and no walks en route to her 10th complete-game shutout of the season. Her one allowed hit -- a just-out-of-reach high hopper to first -- was the only blemish in an otherwise perfect game as she improved to 28-3 on the season.
Senior first baseman Dorian Shaw (Burke, Va./Robinson SS) shared the spotlight on Senior Night, driving in three with a 2-for-2 effort and capping her night with a game-ending two-run bomb in the bottom of the sixth inning -- her first long ball in 24 games. Freshman leftfielder Lyndsay Doyle (Channahon, Ill./Minooka Community HS) went 2-for-4 with three runs scored in her first game at the No. 2 slot, while junior third baseman Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich./Cabrini HS) and freshman catcher Caitlin Blanchard (Petersburg, Mich./Summerfield HS) tallied two-run singles in the first and third innings, respectively.
As a light drizzle turned into a heavy, soaking rain late in the contest, the Wolverines needed just two runs to earn the run rule -- their 16th of the season -- and after failing to convert with two on in the fifth, used Shaw's blast to walk off in the subsequent frame. Doyle initiated the rally with a high-chop single to shortstop, before Shaw connected with the 2-2 pitch in the next at-bat and bombed it into the bleachers beyond right-centerfield.
Michigan struck immediately in the contest, putting the first three batters on base on an infield single, fielding error and a hit-by-pitch, before Chidester lifted a two-run single over the infield and into shallow leftfield.
The Wolverines followed a similar script in the third, first loading the bases with no outs on a Doyle leadoff chop single and back-to-back walks to Shaw and Chidester. Sophomore second baseman Ashley Lane (Escondido, Calif./Escondido HS) accepted a four-pitch walk to push in a Michigan run and induce an MSU pitching change. Blanchard worked the count full in the next at-bat before driving a deep fly ball over the leftfielder's head and to the wall to score two more.
Shaw picked up her first run-scoring hit of the contest in the fourth inning, following a leadoff single with a rocketed two-hopper to the six spot. The ball jumped into the shortstop's shoulder and rolled into the outfield, allowing junior centerfielder Bree Evans (Bloomington, Calif./Rialto HS) to race home from second base.
Michigan will wrap the regular-season portion of its 2011 schedule tomorrow (Saturday, May 14), heading to East Lansing, Mich., to face Michigan State at 1 p.m. at Secchia Stadium. The game will air live on the Big Ten Network.
With tonight's victory, Michigan improved to 72-27 in the all-time series against Michigan State.
The Big Ten title is the 14th for the Wolverines in program history and the fourth in as many years. All 14 titles have come over the last 20 seasons. No program in conference history has won four consecutive titles.
Senior RHP Jordan Taylor matched a season best with 13 strikeouts. The double-digit strikeout performance was Taylor's 12th of the season and fifth in her last seven appearances.
Taylor notched her 40th career complete-game shutout to earn a share of the second spot among Michigan's all-time leaders in the category. She is tied with Sara Griffin (1995-98) and needs just three more to reach record holder Jennie Ritter (43, 2002-06).
Taylor also inched closer to Michigan's career records in wins and strikeouts -- both currently held by Ritter. With 104 career wins, Taylor needs just two more to match the program record (106), and with 1,175 career strikeouts, she needs 30 more Ks to reach Ritter's 1,205 standard.
Senior first baseman Dorian Shaw's game-ending home run was her 12th long ball of the season and first in 24 games dating back to a two-run blast against Notre Dame at the Judi Garman Classic on March 19. With 58 home runs in her career, Shaw is four shy of the Michigan school record, currently held by Samantha Findlay (62, 2005-08).
Upping her career run batted in total to 176, Shaw is also just four RBI shy of the second spot among Michigan's all-time leaders in the category, currently held by Sara Griffin (184). Findlay owns the RBI record with 219.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Carol Hutchins
On freshman Lyndsay Doyle's debut in the No. 2 spot ... "Colie [Sappingfield] going down is a big loss; she'd been getting on base almost 50 percent of the time. But I was very pleased with Doyle, and I've been pleased with her all along. I thought she'd be able to step it up and, boy, she really did tonight. Getting on base there in the sixth obviously gave us a chance to get the game over. We knew the rain was on the way, and we didn't want to finish this game up there."
On seniors Jordan Taylor and Dorian Shaw starring on Senior Night ... "It's a good story for the people who like to write story tales. But they've been doing it their whole careers. Jordan Taylor has been -- especially this season but her whole career -- an ace in the hole for us. It's nice to see somebody -- on night like this with the pink game, the senior night and all the things going on -- just stay within herself and pitch outstanding.
On tonight's crowd atmosphere ... "I just took it in for a minute. It's a proud moment to be out there in front of all those fans cheering for us. It's beautiful. From my view in the dugout, I could see that totally-filled outfield bleachers. It was so cool."
On clinching the program's fourth straight Big Ten title ... "It's quite an achievement for that senior class, who had a part of four championships. That's a first in the conference. It's a tribute to that class. But I quote Bo [Schembechler], my favorite Michigan coach ever, who said, 'There's no 'co' in the word champion.' They need to go out there tomorrow and take care of business. I don't want them to let up, and I know they won't. But we'll have a tough game up there, so we need to come to play."
U-M Senior RHP Jordan Taylor
On tonight's win ... "I think the whole day was amazing -- sellout crowd, in pink, senior night -- I wouldn't rather play with anybody else. It was such a great atmosphere, and I was so happy that we could clinch our fourth Big Ten championship. That was just amazing."
On winning four Big Ten titles ... "I like winning and I do whatever it takes to win. I think anything you set your mind to is achievable. This was a goal -- to win four straight Big Ten titles -- and now we have to move on to the next goal."
On her pitching performance ... "I felt better today. I think I got lucky; our defense made a lot of great plays. There's always great defense behind you in almost-perfect games or one-hitters. I felt pretty good, and I felt like I had a good mix of pitches working today."
U-M Senior First Baseman Dorian Shaw
On her home run ... "It was awesome. I hadn't hit a home run in a long time. I knew the changeup was coming, it was pretty fat, and I just tried to put a good cut on it to end the game. It was senior night, at home, against Michigan State -- that was pretty cool. I also just wanted to get out of the rain."
On breaking out of her home-run slump ... "It wasn't too bad. The days that I would think about it were the days that I'd go 0-for-4 and leave the field feeling terrible. So, at least over the last few weeks, I was just trying to hit the ball hard, and even if it was a ground ball, I'd usually get something out of it. The most important thing was just putting it in play and getting some runs in. That's what I'm here for. The home runs were going to come; it's not like I forgot how to hit them. I had to work through that. I couldn't force myself to do it; it just had to come as naturally as anything else I do."
On senior RHP Jordan Taylor's performance ... "Jordan was phenomenal. You can't ask for much more than that kind of performance. I just knew, from the first inning, that she was just sitting everyone down. That one hit she got, I was a little bit peeved at that -- but that's just the game. She pitched a great game, and that's what you want to do on senior night with all your family and friends in town."
On the senior class and whether they hold a special place in Hutch's heart ... "I never expected to win four Big Ten championships. You come in wanting to win one. Our class has worked really hard and we've played a lot of games together, so that's how you want to go out -- as a champion. I don't think we hold a more special place [in Hutch's heart] than anybody else. She's had some tremendous teams and awesome senior classes. I'd like to think we hold a place in her heart, but that's not guaranteed either. She doesn't rank her players; she loves all of us the same -- me, Jordan, Gus, Marley, Alycia and Brooke -- we all special to her. That's the best thing about Hutch -- she treats all of us like we're her kids. Everyone in her eyes is important, and that's what creates such a great relationship among her and her players."
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423