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April 21, 2014 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-04-21

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GOPHER
BROKE

Michigan rebounds
from Friday loss,
takes two of three
against Minnesota
By KELLY HALL
Daily Sports Writer
Freshman right-hander Megan
Betsa wasn't surprised to find that
she was starting for the Michigan
softball team
in Sunday's MINNESOTA 1
rubber match MICHIGAN 0
against No. 12
Minnesota. MINNESOTA 1
Despite MICHIGAN 3
having two
older pitchers MINESOTA
who have
experience
against the Golden Gophers,
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins
made her decision to start the
freshman Saturday night after

Minnesota evened the series.
Betsa's confidence was on display
throughout all seven innings. She
allowed just two hits - both solo
homers - to lead her team to a 7-2
victory over Minnesota. Betsa got
some help in the fifth when senior
first baseman Caitlin Blanchard
followed the intentional walk of
Romero with a three-run double and
Sweet hit a three-run homer. Betsa's
11 strikeouts were just as essential.
"I thinktI've beencthrowingpretty
well lately, and for (Hutchins) to just
throw me out there gave me high
confidence in myself," Betsa said. "I
knew they had confidence in me, so
I was kind of expecting (to start)."
All year, Michigan has scored
runs in bunches. The pattern held
when junior catcher Lauren Sweet
followed up Blanchard's hit with
a three-run homer. Nine hitters
came to bat in the bottom of the
fifth to score six runs. The game
was all butover for Minnesota(11-5
Big Ten, 33-8 overall).

But Betsa didn't have thatArun
support to start off the game. After
two scoreless innings for both
teams, sophomore shortstop Sierra
Romero lined a home run to dead
center field. The Wolverines (14-
1, 36-7) had a chance to boost the
lead when Blanchard followed with
a double over left fielder Sydney
Fabian's head, but the inning
abruptly ended when Fabian stole
a hit from sophomore left fielder
Sierra Lawrence with a diving catch.
After an uneventful fourth, Betsa
struck out the first two batters in
the top of the fifth, but then No. 9
hitter Sam Macken surprised the
Wolverines with a solo homer. The
inning closed when Blanchard
stretched for the throw from
Romero to get the runner out at first.
Michigan responded to the run
with intensity. After freshman
second baseman Abby Ramirez
reached on a botched grounder,
Doyle singled through the right
See MINNESOTA, Page 2B

LUNAANNA ARCHEY/Daily
Top: Lyndsay Doyle threw out a runner at home plate Saturday to swing momentum in the weekend series.
Bottom: Caitlin Blanchard hit a go-ahead three-run double Sunday as 'M' took control of the Big Ten.

On softball: When the momentum swings
unior Lauren Sweet got up Meyer started home to score center on a line. Sweet made the drew walks, Doyle drove make it a race, the Wolverines And Saturday, forced onto
from her catcher's stance the go-ahead run in the fifth tag, and the series was never them both in with a two-run maintained their stronghold on its heels for the first time in
as a fly ball sailed toward inning Saturday, a day after the the same. double to the gap, and Wagner the Big Ten. six weeks, Michigan needed
straightaway center field. The Gophers won the series opener, Junior left-hander Haylie slammed the door with six Michigan could only prove just what Sweet gave them:
runner at third was ready to run 1-0. The momentum Michigan Wagner, whose first pitch ended straight outs - giving her eight so much by pounding the first a momentum swing that
home, and built during a 20-game winning with that double play, pumped outs against seven batters faced. half of their Big Ten schedule energized Alumni Field for the
Sweet was streak was hanging in the her fist and shouted. The entire Michigan needed another into submission. Without a rest of the weekend.
preparing balance - a second straight team rushed out of the dugout. swing Sunday in a1-1 game. decent showing against No. "We were just building up
for a tag that loss would have brought the The crowd came to its feet. This time, it was senior first 12 Minnesota this weekend, all that energy," Wagner said.
no one in Gophers within a game in the One day after its first test of baseman Caitlin Blanchard, a dozen beatings of weak "We were very fired up from
the stadium Big Ten standings with one Big Ten play, Michigan wasn't who smacked a three-run opponents wouldn't have meant the beginning, and we were
- not more to play. going anywhere. double to left-center. Again, the much of anything. waiting for something big to
Michigan But Sweet stood her ground. "It felt like we won the crowd rose to its feet and gave The Gophers are the kind of happen. Once it happened, we
softball JAE "Controversial or not, Sweet game," Sweet said. Even in a tie Blanchard a standing ovation team the Wolverines will see in just exploded."
coach Carol LOURIM blocked the plate," Hutchins . game, even though Minnesota when she exited for a pinch- the NCAA Tournament. A one- We learned more about
Hutchins, said. "We've given away the had the momentum before the runner. run pitchers' duel is the kind of Michigan this week than we did
not center plate a few times, and your job double play, it still felt like the The explosion followed three game it will see. Sara Moulton, the previous five.
fielder Lyndsay Doyle, not even is to not let them touch our game had been decided. batters later when Sweet hit who ranks just behind Wagner Since March, we learned the
Sweet herself - thought she plate. That's your job." The rest of the game flowed a three-run homer to dead- in the Big Ten in earned-run Wolverines were capable of
could make. Sweet did her job, and Doyle from there: Sweet and freshman center, and for all the effort average, is the kind of pitcher it utterly dominating any weak
Minnesota runner Erica whipped the ball home from pinch-hitter Kelly Christner Minnesota used trying to will see. See ON SOFTBALL, Page 2B

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x - -

AFTER FOUR YEARS, SAYING GOODBYE
Zach Helfand and Everett Cook, former Co-Managing Sports Editors of the Daily,
pen their goodbye columns, writing that they'll miss the memories they made at 420
Maynard. Both will intern at the Los Angeles Times this summer.
SportsMonday Columns, Page 3B

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