U-M Buries FSU with Big Innings in Super Regional Opener

May 22, 2014

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Site: Tallahassee, Fla. (JoAnne Graf Field)
Event: NCAA Super Regional (Day 1)
Score: #13 Michigan 17, #3 Florida State 3 (6 inn.)
Records: U-M (47-13), FSU (53-7)
Next U-M Event: Friday, May 23 -- at Florida State - Super Regional (Tallahassee, Fla.), 4 p.m. [ TV: ESPNU ]

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The No. 13-ranked University of Michigan softball team pounded out 15 hits and put up innings of seven runs and eight runs in a 17-3, six-inning run-rule win atNo. 3 Florida State in the opening game of the Tallahassee Regional at JoAnne Graf Field. Michigan holds a 1-0 advantage in the best-of-three series.

The win is the most lopsided in Michigan Super Regional history. The Wolverines previously scored an 11-2 win over Washington on May 28, 2005. It also marked the most runs scored by a Michigan team in NCAA Tournament history, with a previous high of 15 against Notre Dame on May 21, 1995.

Five Wolverines turned in multi-hit games, led by three apiece from sophomore Sierra Lawrence (Snellville, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian) and junior Lauren Sweet (Corona, Calif./Santiago). A trio of Wolverines chipped in two-hit games: seniors Caitlin Blanchard (Petersburg, Mich./Summerfield) and Taylor Hasselbach (Clarkston, Mich./ Clarkston) and sophomore Sierra Romero (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta).

Freshman Megan Betsa (McDonough, Ga./Union Grove) tossed 4.1 innings in relief without yielding a run and earned her 18th win of the season.

Lawrence put Michigan on the board in the first inning. Following back-to-back two-out hits from Romero and Blanchard and a passed ball, she scooted a single back up the middle. Florida State plated one in the first and two in the third behind pitcher Lacey Waldrop -- a player of the year candidate -- and the game had the makings of a seesaw affair.

But the Maize and Blue destroyed any notions of trading runs when it plated seven in the third inning to pull away. Lawrence, Sweet, freshman pinch hitter Kelly Christner (Tinley Park, Ill./Victor J. Andrew) and Romero each had run-scoring hits, as Michigan sent 12 batters to the plate. All four Michigan batters who walked in the inning came around to score, and FSU committed two errors in the third.

The Wolverines suddenly had an 8-3 lead after three and a half, and by that point the game was well in Betsa's hands. The freshman relieved starter Haylie Wagner (Orange, Calif./El Modena) in the second inning and went the rest of the game without giving up a run.

Betsa left the bases loaded in the fourth when she stranded a one-out triple, error and a walk. Then following U-M's eight-run explosion in the top of the fifth, she set down the side in order -- Michigan's only 1-2-3 inning of the game.

Michigan scored its second big inning of the game in the top of the fifth with eight runs on seven hits. Hasselbach and Sweet each had two hits in the inning -- including a two-run double from Sweet. Blanchard also knocked in two runs in the frame with her two-out single.

Betsa struck out FSU's final three hitters to put a punctuation mark on the game. She scattered three hits over her 4.1 innings. She struck out seven, compared to just one walk.

The Wolverines will play game two of the Super Regional against Florida State on Friday (May 23) in Tallahassee, Fla. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on ESPNU. The teams would play an if-necessary game three at 7 p.m.

Contact: Michael Kasiborski (mkasibor@umich.edu)

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