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April 09, 2014 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-04-09

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8A - Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Streak reaches 16: Michigan mercies WMU

All nine starters
get hits in mercy-
rule victory over
in-state foes
BY MAX BULTMAN
Daily Sports Writer
Though the lineup card coach
Carol Hutchins submitted
before
Tuesday's WESTERN 0
Michigan MICHIGAN 8
softball
game was different than usual,
'the final score looked much the
same.
The Wolverines (9-0 Big Ten,
30-6 overall) toppled Western
Michigan, 8-0, in a mercy-rule
victory that lasted just five
innings. Junior right-hander
Sara Driesenga started the game
in the circle and pitched three
reno-hit innings before yielding
to freshman right-hander
Megan Betsa, who capped off
the shutout.
Mercy-rule winshave become
old hat for this Michigan team.

which has ended 11 of its past
14 contests - all of them wins
- by way of the run rule. What
was impressive about Tuesday's
win, though, was the way the
Wolverines' scoring was spread
out.
All nine starters earned a hit,
and Michigan's eight runs came
from seven different players.
"I feel like we've got a lot of
depth," Hutchins said. "It was
really good to get some kids in
there like (sophomore second
baseman) Kelsey Susalla, who
just can't get enough at-bats
from me."
Hutchins shuffled the lineup
card before the game, giving
starting nods to Susalla and
freshman first baseman Kelly
Christner. Also in the lineup
was freshman third baseman
Lindsay Montemarano, who has
started 32 games this season,
but taken just 52 at-bats.
All three were slotted at the
bottom of the order, but none of
them played like it.
Christner got on base in
both of her plate appearances.
Montemarano and Susalla each
hit 1-for-3 and scored runs,
while each flashed the leather
on line drives early in the game.
Add in senior Caitlin
Blanchard, who moved behind
the plate Tuesday from her
usual post at first base, and
Michigan's six-through-nine
hitters batted 5-for-10 with
three runs scored and a walk.
The top of the order did its
share too, cranking out eight
RBI and hitting .583 on the
night.
"It doesn't matter where
people are at in the lineup,"
Driesenga said. "There's no
weak spot.
"Everyone's going to get it
done no matter where they are."
Michigan opened the game
strong, using two RBI doubles
from sophomore left fielder
Sierra Lawrence and senior
designated player Taylor
Hasselbach to open up a 3-0

lead after the first.
Those three runs would have
been plenty for the Wolverines,
as Driesenga allowed only one
baserunner in herthree innings.
Instead, Michigan continued
to pour it on, loading the bases
to start the second inning and
tallying three more runs.
The Wolverines' leadoff
hitter, senior center fielder
Lyndsay Doyle, came to bat in
each of the first three innings -
a sign that things were on their
way to getting ugly at Alumni
Field - as Michigan wore down
Western Michigan in the eight-
run onslaught.
The Broncos, though,
inserted freshman Erin
Binkowski to pitch the bottom
of the fourth, and she ended
the inning before any further
damage could be done.
Still, the stellar pitching
performances of the day
belonged to Driesenga and
Betsa who kept Western
Michigan from contention by
combining to allow only one hit
on the night.
Mostly, though, both pitchers
were just glad to get a game in
during the middle of the week
between series against Ohio
State and Michigan State.
"It keeps my arm loose and
gives me an opportunity to face
batters other than ours," Betsa
said.
Added Driesenga: "You
always want the ball and always
want to be there getting better."
Betsa and Driesenga have
shored up some control issues
recently, and both now appear
to be pitching with more
confidence.
Between the two right-
handers and junior lefty Haylie
Wagner, the Wolverines have
allowed only one run in their
last five games.
That's because right now, it
doesn't matter who Michigan is
sending to the circle, or to the
plate. The scoreboard looks just
as lopsided every time.

JAMES COLLER/Daily
Freshman right-hander Megan Betsa hasn't allowed an earned run in any of her last three outings for the Wolverines,
DURING MICHIGAN'S WINNING STREAK:
The Wolverines have outscored their opponents 140-19
Michigan has pitched a shutout in six of the last eight games
Sara Driesenga has posted a 0.33 earned-run average
THEY SAID IT-

"We can't control
the opponent,-
so just control
what you do."

Carol Hutchins
Sara Driesenga

"We could just
split games and
we'd still be
effective."

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