U-M Surges Past Iowa to Capture Third Straight Big Ten Title
Molly Bausher

May 14, 2010

Box Score |  Quotes |  Notes

Site: Iowa City, Iowa (Bob Pearl Field)
Score: #2 Michigan 8, Iowa 2
Records: U-M (45-6, 17-1 Big Ten), Iowa (25-22, 10-8 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, May 15 -- at Iowa (Iowa City, Iowa), 4 p.m. CDT

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The No. 2-ranked University of Michigan softball team scored six unanswered runs in the final two innings to surge past Iowa, 8-2, and capture its third consecutive Big Ten Conference title outright on Friday evening (May 14) at Bob Pearl Field.

Junior RHP Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif./Valencia HS) was solid from the pitching circle, striking out 14 Hawkeye batters, including four straight between the sixth and seventh innings, while scattering four hits and a walk. The effort marked her 14th double-digit strikeout performance of the season and improved her record to 24-3.

The Wolverines accepted 17 free passes in the contest, earning season highs with 11 walks and six hit-by-pitches. Four different Michigan players registered hits, including sophomore leftfielder Bree Evans (Bloomington, Calif./Rialto HS), who added a pair of runs scored to headline the offensive effort. Despite not getting a hit, junior first baseman Dorian Shaw (Burke, Va./Robinson SS) reached base in all five plate appearances on three hit-by-pitches and a pair of intentional walks.

After the teams traded runs in the second and fifth innings to remain knotted up late in the game, the Wolverines claimed their third and final advantage in the top of the sixth. Evans singled through the legs of Hawkeye pitcher Chelsea to lead off the inning and after advancing on an intentional walk, raced home on senior catcher Roya St. Clair's (St. Clair Shores, Mich./Regina HS) slow-rolling groundout to the right of the pitching circle to secure the game-winning run.

The Wolverines capitalized on a series of Iowa miscues and mistakes to pad their advantage in the seventh, scoring five runs on just one hit and an error. Back-to-back leadoff walks resulted in Iowa's fourth pitching change of the contest, bringing reliever Katie Brown's return to the circle, and Michigan took advantage, using Brown's first pitch to sacrifice both base runners into scoring position before her second went wild and allowed freshman pinch runner Amy Knapp (St. Joseph, Mich./Lakeshore HS) to come home from third base.

Michigan tallied additional runs on an Iowa throwing error, a passed ball and a mental mistake by Hawkeye third baseman Katie Heim, who fielded sophomore second baseman Amanda Chidester's (Allen Park, Mich./Cabrini HS) chopper and stepped on the bag before throwing to first, failing to realize the force was not in play. In all, Iowa walked three batters and hit two more in the seventh inning.

U-M struck first in the top half of the second, taking advantage of Iowa miscues to push the initial run across. After senior designated player Nikki Nemitz (St. Clair Shores, Mich./Regina HS) followed back-to-back hit batsmen with a first-pitch single to shallow leftfield to load the bases with no outs, the Wolverines recorded consecutive grounders to the second baseman. Iowa threw out the lead runner in the first instance before settling with the 1-3 groundout in the second, earning senior centerfielder Molly Bausher (Las Vegas, Nev./Spring Valley HS) her 19th run batted in of the season.

The Hawkeyes responded in the home half but not without a good amount of controversy. With first baseman Katie Brown in scoring position after a leftfield double, shortstop Chelsey Carmody chopped a single high over the head of senior third baseman Maggie Viefhaus (Eureka, Mo./Eureka HS). Brown rounded third and headed home, reaching the plate at the same time as Evans' relay throw from leftfield. The Hawkeye was called out, but after protest from the Iowa bench and a brief umpire meeting, the ruling was overturned and the run was added to the scoreboard.

Michigan's second tally materialized much like its first as Zust struck a pair of Wolverine batters and her replacement, Chelsea Lyon, walked Chidester to load the bases with one out. Nemitz smacked a grounder to second base, where Sam Valentine bobbled the ball and allowed senior pinch runner Kristin Larsen (Orion, Mich./Lake Orion HS) to come home unattested.

Valentine redeemed herself in the bottom half, taking an inside pitch off her elbow to give the Hawkeyes a base runner with two outs. She advanced on a wild pitch before coming home on rightfielder Taylor Leichsenring's bloop single to shallow rightfielder.

The Wolverines will conclude the regular-season portion of their 2010 schedule tomorrow (Saturday, May 15), squaring off against host Iowa at 4 p.m. CDT at Bob Pearl Field in Iowa City, Iowa. The game will be aired live on the Big Ten Network.

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

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