University Michigan’s Ashley Lane tagged a 1-1 pitch from Louisiana –Lafayette’s Jordan Wallace over the left field fence in the bottom of the eighth to give the Wolverines a 4-3 victory walk-off win on May 24.
The teams will play again at noon on May 25. If Michigan (49-10) wins, the Wolverines move on to the Women’s College World Series. If the Ragin Cajuns (46-14) win the first game, the teams will play at 2 p.m. for the Super Regional title.
The game was full of action starting in the top of the first inning.
Louisiana-Lafayette’s Nerissa Myers (2-for-2, 1 run) started the excitement by drawing a walk from Michigan’s Sara Driesenga after battling her for a nine-pitch at-bat. Myers advanced to second after catcher Lauren Sweet overthrew first basemen Caitlin Blanchard on a pick-off attempt and to third on a sac fly to right field by Brianna Cherry. Sarah Draheim then drew a walk to put runners on first and third with one out. However, the Ragin’ Cajuns failed to capitalize on their opportunity as Matte Haack (2-for-4, 1 run and 1 RBI) hit a foul fly to left fielder Sierra Lawrence, who then mowed Myers down at the plate to complete the double play.
In the bottom of the first, Lyndsey Doyle (1-for-3, 1 run) led off with an infield single for Michigan. Nicole Sappingfield moved Doyle to second base with a sacrifice bunt. Sierra Romero (1-for-3, 1 run and 1 RBI) then lifted a short fly ball that dropped between Cherry and right-fielder Leandra Maly for an RBI double. Blanchard knocked in Romero with a single down the left field line to give the Wolverines a 2-0 lead.
Both pitchers took control of the game between the second and sixth innings, working out of jams when needed. Wallace (31-8) and Driesenga combined to allow no runs and surrendered just five hits and struck out nine batters through these five innings. For the game, Wallace gave up three earned runs on five hits and struck out 10 batters in seven innings of work while Driesenga allowed three runs on nine hits. Driesenga, who didn’t factor in the decision, walked three hitters and struck out five in 7.1 innings. Haylie Wagner (19-3) picked up the win for the Wolverines, retiring the two batters she faced.
The action picked up in the seventh inning. With two outs, Myers started a rally for Louisiana-Lafayette with a single to left field. Cherry then knotted the game up (2-2) with a two-run homer to right center.
The Ragin’ Cajuns kept things going in the eighth off Driesenga. Haack started things off with a home run to left field to give Louisiana-Lafayette their only lead of the game (3-2). After Driesenga got Shellie Landry to fly out, Sara Corbello singled. Meagan Thomas came into pinch run for Corbello and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Thomas then advanced to third on a single to left field by Samantha Walsh. However, the Ragin’ Cajuns were unable to capitalize as Wagner relieved Driesengaand slammed the door shut. Wagner struck out Maly and got Natalie Fernandez to foul out to 3B Amy Knapp.
Facing the possibility of letting one get away from them, Michigan went to work in the bottom of the eighth at-the-plate. Blanchard (1-for-3, 1 RBI) started things out by getting hit by Wallace’s first pitch of the inning. Ashley Lane (1-for-4, 1 run, 2 RBIs) followed Blanchard and promptly popped Wallace’s first pitch up to first basemen (in foul territory) Haack, however Haack was unable to secure the ball. With new life, Lane jacked Wallace’s third pitch of the at-bat over the left field fence to give the Wolverines’ the walk-off win.
- HRs: Cherry (14 and 55 RBIs), Haack (13 HRs and 58 RBIs) and Lane (18 HRs and 58 RBIs).
- Romero, the Big 10’s Freshman of the Year, drove in her 69th run of the season against the Ragin’ Cajuns.
- Michigan is playing in their eighth Super Regional. The Wolverines are just 2-5 in Super Regionals series.
- Louisiana-Lafayette is making their second straight appearance in the Super Regionals.
- Michigan has now defeated Louisiana-Lafayette twice this season but the all-time series is tied at 6-6.
- While their were four errors in the game, the Ragin’ Cajuns committed three and the Wolverines had one, there were some good defensive plays. For example, Nicole Sappingfield reached over the right field fence and robbed a home run from Haack in the sixth inning. Haack did get a single out of the hit.
- Michigan is 20-0 at home this season.