May 21, 2011
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Wilpon Complex)
Event: NCAA Regional
Scores: #2 Michigan 9, Notre Dame 8
Records: U-M (53-5), Notre Dame (46-11)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, May 22 -- vs. Kentucky - NCAA Regional (Wilpon Complex), 1 p.m.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Just hours after a seventh-inning rally fell short in the NCAA Regional semifinal, the No. 10-seeded University of Michigan softball team posted a six-run sixth inning to rally past Notre Dame, 9-8, in its loser's bracket contest on Saturday evening (May 21) at the Wilpon Complex, home of Alumni Field.
The Wolverines will face Kentucky in the NCAA Regional championship game, slated for a 1 p.m. start Sunday (May 22), with the "if necessary" game scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Michigan will need two wins tomorrow to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals.
Senior designated player Marley Powers (Owosso, Mich./Owosso HS) was the Wolverines' sixth-inning hero, doubling to lead off the inning before driving in the go-ahead run with a two-out single to shallow leftfield. Junior centerfielder Bree Evans (Bloomington, Calif./Rialto HS) went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a run batted in, while freshman leftfielder Lyndsay Doyle (Channahon, Ill./Minooka Community HS) and sophomore second baseman Ashley Lane (Escondido, Calif./Escondido HS) posted two hits apiece with four combined RBI.
Senior RHP Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif./Valencia HS) claimed both Michigan's career records in wins (107) and strikeouts (1,209) with the complete-game performance. She struck nine Fighting Irish batters while allowing eight runs -- four earned -- off nine hits and three walks. Taylor improved to 31-4 on the season.
After entering the sixth inning down 8-3 with just five hits through the opening five frames, the Wolverines exploded for six runs on six hits and two walks in the sixth to earn the final one-run margin of victory. Powers ripped a leadoff liner just fair down the rightfield line, earning the extra base when the ball kicked into foul territory. After a walk and sophomore shortstop Amy Knapp's (St. Joseph, Mich./Lakeshore HS) infield chopper loaded the bases, Evans and Doyle posted back-to-back infield singles to drive in a run apiece. Evans just beat out a grounder that the Irish second baseman dove at to keep in the dirt, while Doyle reached on a high chopper to the middle of the infield.
With the bases loaded and still no outs, Notre Dame went to bullpen to bring in its third pitcher of the game. The switch proved ineffective as senior first baseman Dorian Shaw (Burke, Va./Robinson SS) accepted an RBI walk on four pitches, and junior third baseman Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich./Cabrini HS) connected with the first pitch of the next at-bat and drove a deep sacrifice fly to rightfield. Another two pitches later, Lane kept the momentum going with a lined single down the leftfield line to plate the tying run. Notre Dame secured the inning's second out on a strikeout, before Powers sailed her game-winning single into leftfield. Shaw, who was running all the way with two outs, was already rounding third base when the ball dropped in and trotted across the plate for the go-ahead run.
Taylor gave up a leadoff double in the top of the seventh and with two outs, intentionally walked Brianna Jorgensburg to put the go-ahead run on base. The decision looked genius, however, when the next pitch was grounded to Knapp, who simply tossed the ball to second earn the game-ending force out at second base.
The Fighting Irish struck first, using three hits to push across a pair of runs in the top of the second.
Michigan surged ahead with a three-run third inning, manufacturing the runs off three hits and two walks from the top half of the lineup. Evans sparked the rally with a single up the middle and after a Doyle walk, Shaw rocketed a low single to deep left-centerfield to score Evans from second base. Chidester accepted a four-pitch walk to load the bases, and Lane capitalized, sneaking a hard grounder through the right side to plate two.
Notre Dame strung together a pair of hits, including a two-run home run, to respond in the next inning and steal back the narrow advantage.
The Fighting Irish added another run in the fifth, taking advantage of a wild pitch in the dirt, and broke the game open with a three-run sixth inning. All three runs in the sixth came unearned after a pair of two-out fielding errors.
N O T E S
With tonight's win, the Wolverines improved to 16-4 in the all-time series against Notre Dame. U-M has won 12 in a row against the Fighting Irish. Eight of those wins have come in NCAA Regional play.
Michigan owns 12 comeback wins this season.
Improving her career record to 107-16 with tonight's victory, senior RHP Jordan Taylor earned sole possession of Michigan's all-time wins record, previously held by three-time All-American Sara Griffin (106, 1995-98). Taylor also owns Michigan's career winning percentage record (.870).
Taylor also used her nine-strikeout performance against the Irish to surpass Jennie Ritter (1,205, 2003-06) for Michigan's career strikeouts record. Taylor boasts 1,209 strikeouts over her four-year tenure; she also ranks as the only Wolverine pitcher to boast at least 250 Ks in each collegiate season.
Junior centerfielder Bree Evans matched a season best with three hits against the Irish. She leads the Wolverines with 31 multi-hit games this season and has hit successfully in all but six games.
Junior third baseman Amanda Chidester went 0-for-2 -- with a walk and a run batted in -- against Notre Dame to see her career-best 11-game hit streak come to an end. She batted .576 (19-for-33) with 22 RBI over the stretch. Chidester is one of three Wolverine players to boast a hit streak of 10 games or more this season.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Carol Hutchins
On the Wolverines' five-run comeback ... "We've had some great wins and great comebacks, but today might take the cake."
On when she realized Michigan might pull off the comeback ... "I would say, in the sixth inning, when we started playing one-base softball. Our goal was to just get a base, not to have great big swings and hit it over the fence. We got bases loaded there and a couple runs. I felt like we didn't need to get them all in that inning, but we needed to start playing one-pitch softball. That's when I could sense it. I knew we were in that moment. That's how we won that game. We got in the moment. I didn't feel like we had been in the moment. Then we stayed in it."
On the bottom of the lineup's sixth-inning contribution ... "It's important for anybody in the lineup at this point. If you're in the lineup, you're there for a reason. You don't get to be there for any other reason than to help us win. I feel like that part of the lineup has been doing great and doing their part all season. Marley [Powers] has come in and just been outstanding in her role. I feel like she's gotten everything she's wanted since she came here, and she's just persevered and helped us win."
On using this win as a confidence booster ... "Well, we've got about 60 games worth of confidence. But as I told them, all games played are out the window. We're playing head to head, and we just have to compete and play one-pitch softball. I told them that tomorrow they need to put their rally caps on the minute they walk into the dugout. We don't need to wait to be dramatic. We need to compete and get after it. But our team should be very confident in each other, and I want them to keep playing for each other."
On the emotions of the day ... "The bottom line is we can't get too high when we do well, and we can't get too low when we don't. You have to stay even keel, trust you game and trust your teammates. We definitely can't be too high after this win. I told the kids that I want them in bed by 10 p.m. They've got to calm themselves down. We're in the heat of battle, and we have to try not to be on that rollercoaster."
U-M Senior RHP Jordan Taylor
On entering the seventh with the lead ... "We got the lead earlier and they came back with that big inning, so I knew I had to shut them down. It didn't quite go as I wanted it to, but they didn't score. The crowd was extremely loud when I ran out onto the field, so I knew they were expecting a shutdown. I was just trying to beat each batter and go one pitch at a time. It worked out."
On whether she thought she would set Michigan's wins and strikeouts record in a game like this ... "No, not at all. I guess it makes it a little more interesting. But I was not happy with performance, so we'll come back tomorrow and add to that strikeout mark."
U-M Senior Designated Player Marley Powers
On the Wolverines' sixth inning ... "We got into our one-base softball mode and were playing pitch by pitch. Before, our energy had been terrible and we weren't really in the moment. Everyone was in their own places, but by my second at-bat, I felt like we had all pulled together. The energy was amazing. You could feel it all over the park; it was amazing. We just pulled together and got it done."
U-M Junior Centerfielder Bree Evans
On her three-hit game ... "In the first game, I kept getting too big and was trying to do too much. In this last game, I was just trying to put it on the ground. That was the emphasis in our warmup. I think, with me and [Lyndsay] Doyle, when we're really in our mode is when we're getting the ball on the ground, because we have speed. When we're successful, it really picks up the rest of the lineup, because we have the power after that. As long as we can get on base, we'll be good for the rest of the game."
On having confidence in their ability to rally ... "I think we knew that the whole game, but especially after Marley started it and people were getting on base one after another. I think once I got to second and we'd scored two of those runs, that's when I got the feeling we were going to do it. We were with the batters we needed to be with. Our dugout was loud and ready, and we weren't ever quiet for the rest of the game."
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423