Romero's Grand Night Carries U-M Past SDSU in Elimination Game

May 18, 2014

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Site: Tempe, Ariz. (Farrington Stadium)
Event: NCAA Regional (Day 2)
Score: #13 Michigan 9, San Diego State 1 (6 inn.)
Records: U-M (44-13), SDSU (40-19)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, May 18 -- vs. Arizona State (Tempe, Ariz.), 2:30 p.m. PDT/MST [ TV: ESPNU ]

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Timely extra-base hits, including a grand slam by sophomore Sierra Romero (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta), carried the No. 13-ranked University of Michigan softball team to a 9-1 win in six innings in an elimination game over San Diego State in the NCAA Regional held at Farrington Stadium.

The Wolverines move on to the regional championship against No. 4 Arizona State on Sunday (May 18) at 2:30 p.m. PDT/MST (Live Stats). Michigan must beat the Sun Devils twice to win the regional title. A second game would follow immediately after the first. All games will be broadcast on ESPNU.

Michigan led 3-0 when Romero stepped to the dish with the bases loaded. The Aztecs intentionally walked her twice when these two squads met on Friday (May 16). This time, they had nowhere to put her. The sophomore got all of a 1-1 pitching, blasting an opposite field grand slam into the desert night, extending Michigan's lead to 7-0.

With one swing of the bat, Romero tied former U-M slugger Samantha Findlay (2005-08) with the most grand slams in school history (seven), and moved into a tie for sixth place on the U-M career homer list with Amanda Chidester (2009-12, 40).

Romero's grand slam was the second big extra-base hit of the night. Freshman Abby Ramirez (Chicago, Ill./Trinity) was the unlikely candidate who delivered the first. With two on in the second, Ramirez poked a liner over the left fielder's head and legged out a triple. It was her fourth extra-base hit this season and the first time she has knocked in two runs in a game. The nine-hitter had not knocked in a run since Feb. 9 against Bethune-Cookman, a span of 53 games.

Her triple gave Michigan the lead, and the Wolverines never looked back. They slugged out 12 hits led by Romero's pair. Seniors Lyndsay Doyle (Channahon, Ill./Minooka Community) and Nicole Sappingfield (Norco, Calif./Norco), along with junior Lauren Sweet (Corona, Calif./Santiago), also chipped in two hits apiece.

Romero added another run on a fielder's choice in the sixth, giving her five runs batted in on the night. It marked the third five-RBI game of her season (March 5 at UCLA, April 16 at Central Michigan).

Overshadowed in Romero's run production was the start by freshman pitcher Megan Betsa (McDonough, Ga./Union Grove). The righty won her first NCAA Tournament start by yielding just three hits and one unearned run.

Betsa set the tone in the first when she set the Aztecs down in order. She later worked herself out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the third with a foul pop to Sweet behind the plate. The freshman won her 17th game of the season. With the bases loaded again in the sixth and two outs, junior Haylie Wagner (Orange, Calif./El Modena) come in to get the final out of the game.

Contact: Michael Kasiborski (mkasibor@umich.edu)

   

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