Wolverines Outlast Aztecs in Nine-Inning NCAA Tourney Opener

May 16, 2014

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• NCAA Tournament: Regional Page | Bracket

Site: Tempe, Ariz. (Farrington Stadium)
Event: NCAA Regional (Day 1)
Score: #13 Michigan 8, San Diego State 7 (9 inn.)
Records: U-M (43-12), SDSU (39-18)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, May 17 -- vs. Arizona State (Tempe, Ariz.), 3 p.m. MST/PDT

TEMPE, Ariz. -- In her first at-bat of the game, Haylie Wagner (Orange, Calif./El Modena) drove in the winning run on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the No. 13-ranked University of Michigan softball team an 8-7 win over San Diego State on Friday (May 16) in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament held at Farrington Stadium. U-M will move on to play No. 4 Arizona State on Saturday (May 17, 3 p.m. MST/PDT). All regional games will be broadcast on ESPNU.

Lindsay Montemarano (Seaford, N.Y./Seaford) scored the game-winning run, tagging from third on Wagner's fly to center field. Montemarano got to third after her single into right field was misplayed by the right fielder, giving her two extra bases and putting her 60 feet away from winning the game. Wagner, who was pitching, flexed into the lineup to replace Abby Ramirez (Chicago, Ill./Trinity). It was the junior's first at-bat since April 18 (Minnesota). She popped a 0-1 pitch into center, deep enough to score Montemarano and win the game.

Michigan was leading 7-4 going into the seventh. RHP Megan Betsa (McDonough, Ga./Union Grove) had retired 10 of the last 12 batters, including a pair of consecutive 1-2-3 innings in the fourth and fifth innings.

But the Aztecs capitalized on some U-M miscues -- including a hit-by-pitch, error and two walks -- to score three runs on one hit, tying the game. Michigan stranded pinch runner Brandi Virgil (Houston, Texas/Cypress Creek) at third in the seventh, and the game went into extra innings.

The Wolverines had managed pull away from SDSU throughout the game until the seventh. The Aztecs took the lead two batters into the game on a solo homer from Katie Mathis. Sierra Lawrence (Snellville, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian) responded with a three-run shot in the bottom of the first, her seventh of the season.

San Diego State plated two more runs in the second on a two-out double to tie the game up 3-3. But again Michigan answered, retaking the lead on an Aztec error and a bases-loaded single from Caitlin Blanchard (Petersburg, Mich./Summerfield).

Facing a 5-3 deficit, SDSU came back with a solo homer in the third. The Maize and Blue got the run back on a Lyndsay Doyle (Channahon, Ill./Minooka Community) single in the third and then tacked on another run on Lauren Sweet's (Corona, Calif./Santiago) double in the fourth. The game stayed 7-4 until the Aztecs piled on three in the seventh.

Wagner started the game and was replaced by Betsa after 10 batters and three runs. Betsa looked poised to win her first NCAA postseason game, going 4.2 innings in relief. But when things deteriorated in the seventh, she was replaced by Sara Driesenga (Hudsonville, Mich./Hudsonville), who walked the only batter she faced, forcing in the game-tying run. Wagner reentered and got the final two outs of the seventh.

The southpaw ended up tossing 4.1 innings in all and recorded her 22nd win. She gave up three runs on a two hits. Wagner fanned three batters and did not allow a walk.

Ramirez led Michigan's 15-hit attack with three singles. Lawrence, Montemarano, Sweet, Nicole Sappingfield (Norco, Calif./Norco) and Blanchard each tallied two hits.

Contact: Michael Kasiborski (mkasibor@umich.edu)