U-M's Seventh-Inning Rally Falls Short in NCAA Loss to No. 24 Kentucky
Ashley Lane

May 21, 2011

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Wilpon Complex)
Event: NCAA Regional
Scores: #24 Kentucky 7, #2 Michigan 6
Records: U-M (52-5), Kentucky (38-14)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, May 21 -- vs. Notre Dame or Western Michigan - NCAA Regional (Wilpon Complex), 5 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Despite a five-run top of the seventh inning, the No. 10-seeded University of Michigan softball team could not complete the comeback against No. 24 Kentucky, falling, 7-6, in NCAA Regional play on Saturday afternoon (May 21) at the Wilpon Complex. The Wolverines will face the winner of the Notre Dame/Western Michigan loser's bracket contest this afternoon at 5 p.m.

Down seven runs after five innings, Michigan scored one run in the sixth and five in the seventh to pull within one on the scoreboard. With the bases loaded and no outs in the latter frame, junior third baseman Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich./Cabrini HS) drove a fly ball to the warning track in left-centerfield, hitting it off the wall to push in a run on the deep single. Sophomore second baseman Ashley Lane (Escondido, Calif./Escondido HS) cleared the bases in the next at-bat, connecting with the 1-1 pitch and lining it into the bullpen beyond the leftfield fence -- her third grand slam of the season and 18th home run.

Kentucky changed pitchers after the long ball, and the swap proved effective as Rachel Riley retired the next three batters to stymie the U-M comeback, using back-to-back strikeouts to end the contest and collect her first save of the season.

After accumulating just three hits through the opening five innings, the Wolverines finally broke through in the sixth, using three hits to push across its first run. Chidester led off with a single through the right side, advanced on freshman catcher Caitlin Blanchard's (Petersburg, Mich./Summerfield HS) single up the middle and scored from second when senior designated player Marley Powers (Owosso, Mich./Owosso HS) lined an run-scoring single up the middle.

The Wildcats took advantage of a U-M miscue to garner the game's first advantage in the second, scoring a two-out unearned run on a fielding error after back-to-back singles.

Kentucky then broke the game open with three runs apiece in the fourth and fifth innings, padding its advantage to 7-0 and pulling within a run of run-rule territory.

The game was not without a controversy when Chidester was issued an inning-ending strikeout -- with two runners on -- after an apparent hit-by-pitch in the third. Doyle sailed a two-out single into shallow leftfield and stole second, before Shaw joined her on base after a full-count walk. Chidester worked the count full and was struck on the wrist on a check swing; the Kentucky coaches appealed to the third base umpire, who judged her to have gone around. The third inning was U-M's best opportunity until breaking through in the sixth.

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

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