May 20, 2011
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Wilpon Complex)
Event: NCAA Regional
Scores: #2 Michigan 5, Western Michigan 0
Records: U-M (52-4), Western Michigan (25-29)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, May 21 -- vs. Kentucky - NCAA Regional (Wilpon Complex), Noon
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Senior RHP Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif./Valencia HS) fanned 13 and junior third baseman Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich./Cabrini HS) hit a go-ahead tape-measure home run in the fourth to guide the No. 2-ranked University of Michigan softball team to a 5-0 win over Western Michigan on the opening day of NCAA Regional play on Friday (May 20) at the Wilpon Complex, home of Alumni Field. With the victory, Taylor earned a share of the Wolverines' program record for career wins (106).
The host Wolverines will face Kentucky at noon Saturday (May 20) in the winners' bracket final of the four-team, double-elimination regional, while Western Michigan will play Notre Dame at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in an elimination game. Kentucky defeated Notre Dame, 8-0, in five innings in Friday's first game.
Taylor matched a season high with 13 strikeouts and allowed just three hits and a pair of walks. She struck out the side in the second and fourth innings en route to her 13th double-digit strikeout effort of the season and sixth in her last nine appearances. Taylor improved to 30-3 on the year and has not allowed a run in 18 straight innings.
Chidester sparked the Wolverine offense in the fourth, bombing out a leadoff blast -- the game's winning run -- to initiate a three-run inning. Senior designated player Marley Powers (Owosso, Mich./Owosso HS) went 2-for-3 with two runs batted in, while freshman leftfielder Lyndsay Doyle (Channahon, Ill./Minooka Community HS) batted 2-for-3 with an RBI.
The Wolverines threatened in the first with a pair in scoring position but could not break through until Chidester's home run in the fourth. The Wolverine captain, who earned Big Ten Player of the Year earlier this week, connected with the 1-1 pitch and drove into the WMU bullpen beyond the leftfield fence for her 13th long ball of the season.
Sophomore second baseman Ashley Lane (Escondido, Calif./Escondido HS) kept the momentum going with a bloop single over the third baseman's head in the next at-bat and after advancing on a sacrifice, she scored from second base when a Powers single dropped just fair inside the leftfield line before skipping off into foul territory. Powers advanced on the throw and scored from second after the WMU third baseman overthrew first base on sophomore shortstop Amy Knapp's (St. Joseph, Mich./Lakeshore HS) high-chop single to the middle of the infield.
Michigan added insurance runs on a pair of RBI hits in the sixth. Freshman catcher Caitlin Blanchard (Petersburg, Mich./Summerfield HS) walked to lead off the inning, advanced on a sacrifice and scored when Powers drove a deep fly-ball single into rightfield. Powers scored her second run of the game three batters later, racing home second after Doyle sailed a double into left-centerfield.
Taylor gave up a double in the top of the seventh but still needed only 11 pitches to retire the side.
N O T E S
With its win tonight, Michigan improved to 43-8-1 in the all-time series against Western Michigan. U-M has won seven in a row against the Broncos.
With her victory tonight, senior RHP Jordan Taylor improved her career record to 106-16 and is now tied with three-time All-American Sara Griffin (1995-98) for the most career wins in Michigan program history. Taylor owns a .869 career winning percentage -- also a U-M program record.
Taylor also took sole possession of Michigan's career innings pitched record, using her complete-game effort to up her four-year total to 835.2. Two-time All-American Jennie Ritter (2003-06) previously held the record with 835 innings pitched. Taylor already carries the Wolverines' career record in appearances (159), starts (121) and complete games (96).
Taylor has posted complete-game shutouts in each of her last three starts, posting 32 strikeouts with just four hits and four walks allowed over the 18-inning stretch. She has held opponents to just a .068 batting average.
Taylor boasts 12 shutouts on the season and with tonight's performance, upped her career shutout total to 42 over her four-year tenure. She is just one shy of Michigan's all-time record in the category, currently held by Ritter (43).
With 1,194 career strikeouts, Taylor also inched closer to the Wolverines' all-time strikeouts record. She needs just 11 more to match record holder Ritter, who holds the U-M standard with 1,205.
Junior third baseman Amanda Chidester's fourth-inning homer was the 30th of her career; she moved into a share of the fifth spot among Michigan's all-time leaders in the category, where she is tied with Grace Luetele (2003-06).
Chidester has batted .533 (24-for-45) with four homers and 25 runs batted in over the last 15 games. She extended her hit streak to 10 straight games, matching her career-best streak.
Junior Bree Evans has hit successfully in 23 of Michigan's last 24 games. After seeing her 19-game hit streak end in the opener against Minnesota on May 7, she has at least one hit in each of the last four games. Evans has gone hitless in just six games this season.
Since moving to the No. 2 spot in Michigan's batting order, freshman leftfielder Lyndsay Doyle has batted .455 (5-for-11) with a double and two RBI over the last three games.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Carol Hutchins
On Jordan Taylor's fourth-inning strikeout to get out of a jam ... "I thought it was a turning point, and I thought it would get us pumped up. I think I even said in that moment, 'Jordan get us pumped up.' We needed it. We were kind of watching the game. We didn't have that great energy and confidence that was what we needed. Jordan gives us that confidence."
On Michigan's fourth-inning surge ... "I always say the most important at bat is the one after a home run. I didn't look like Ashley [Lane] was going to have a good at bat then she got a good piece of the ball. It was important for us to get more than one run. I wasn't very comfortable with just one run, so it was good to keep it going."
On senior RHP Jordan Taylor's performance ... "The NCAA Tournament is about just surviving. We rely on Jordan. She had a great game tonight, and she was our rock. She has to keep us in the game until we can get some offense for her. She did her part then our offense did its part."
On facing Kentucky tomorrow ... "I told the kids to come here and expect it to be a tough game. They're a very tough team. I was impressed with them last year, and I was more impressed with them tonight. They're going to attack us; they're going to come to beat us. We're going to have to fight and play to beat them. So, we'll have to battle."
U-M Junior Third Baseman Amanda Chidester
On her home run and Michigan's three-run fourth inning ... "She was throwing a lot of rise balls and was keeping it up in the zone. She finally threw one down to me, and I was able to see it and attack it. It was awesome. Everyone was up; everyone was excited. It was just a big confidence and energy booster for everyone to keep things going. When you have solid defensive plays and Jordan [Taylor] saving us on that end, coming out and really starting something on offense can get you going for the rest of the game."
U-M Senior Designated Player Marley Powers
On her recent string of success ... "It's my role, and I just have to embrace it and do the best I can with it. I go off what experience I do have, do my best and contribute to the team. Tonight, I feel like I contributed."
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423