Blanchard's Walk-Off HBP Sends U-M Past Louisville into Regional Final
Haylie Wagner

May 19, 2012

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Highlights | C. Hutchins Postgame | H. Wagner Postgame | Regional Preview

Site: Louisville, Ky. (Ulmer Stadium)
Event: NCAA Regional
Score: #21 Michigan 2, #9 Louisville 1 (8 innings)
Records: U-M (41-15), UL (54-4)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, May 20 -- vs. Opponent TBD - NCAA Regional Final (Louisville, Ky.), 1 p.m. (TV: ESPN2)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Sophomore catcher Caitlin Blanchard (Petersburg, Mich./Summerfield) was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to push the winning run across as the No. 21-ranked University of Michigan softball team defeated No. 9-ranked Louisville, 2-1 in eight innings, in the NCAA Regional on Saturday afternoon (May 19) at Ulmer Stadium. It is Michigan's second walk-off win of the regional.

Freshman LHP Haylie Wagner (Orange, Calif./El Modena) picked up the complete-game victory in the circle, giving up one run on three hits with a strikeout. The win is her 31st of the season, tying the mark for the most by a Wolverine freshman. The Michigan offense totaled seven hits on the day, powered by two-hit games from junior shortstop Amy Knapp (St. Joseph, Mich./Lakeshore) and junior second baseman Ashley Lane (Escondido, Calif./Escondido).

Lane singled through the right side with one out in the eighth to give Michigan a base runner. After Wagner fouled out to the catcher trying to bunt, Knapp singled to right field and Lane beat the tag at third as the Wolverines put runners on the corners with two outs. Senior third baseman Stephanie Kirkpatrick (Plainfield, Ill./Central) drew a walk to load the bases for the Maize and Blue during the ensuing at-bat. With sophomore outfielder Lyndsay Doyle (Channahon, Ill./Minooka Community) due up, head coach Carol Hutchins made the move to pinch hit with Blanchard, who was hit on the arm on the first pitch of the at-bat, walking in the winning run.

The Cardinals tied the contest with a run in the seventh, turning a leadoff double into a run. Alicja Wolny doubled to the wall in left and was lifted for Kirsten Straley on the bases. Straley advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored with one out on a sacrifice fly to center field, knotting the game at 1-1.

Michigan struck first, loading the bases in the second inning on an error, a walk and a fielder's choice. Sophomore outfielder Nicole Sappingfield (Norco, Calif./Norco) lifted a fly ball into right field, deep enough to score Kirkpatrick from third to give the Wolverines the early 1-0 advantage.

Michigan will play in the regional final tomorrow (Sunday, May 19) at 1 p.m. The game will appear live on ESPN2. The NCAA Regional is a double-elimination event.

Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423

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