Michigan 8, Canisius 1

May 20, 2005

Findlay, Merchant Homer in 8-1 Victory for Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. Freshman Samantha Findlay (Lockport, Ill./Lockport East HS) knocked in three runs, including her 19th home run of the season as the No. 1 University of Michigan softball team walked away with an 8-1 victory over Canisius in front of 1,837 fans in the first round of the NCAA Softball Regional at Michigan's Alumni Field. Michigan built a 7-0 lead through the fifth inning and junior Jennie Ritter (Dexter, Mich./Dexter HS) struck out eight batter en route to her 27th victory of the year.

After Ritter struck out the side in the top of the first, the Wolverines seized an early lead with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning. Junior Tiffany Haas (Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill HS) led off the inning with a single to the left side. After the next to Michigan batters were retired, Findlay hit her 19th home run of the season to give Michigan a 2-0 advantage.

The teams settled in defensively over the next two innings with neither squad allowing a base hit. The Wolverines doubled their lead with two runs in the bottom of the fourth to open up a 4-0 lead. Senior Jessica Merchant (Wayland, Mich./Wayland HS) sent the first pitch of the inning over the right field wall for her 20th home run of the season. The Golden Griffins then walked three of the next five batters to load the bases with two outs. Michigan took advantage with a single to third by sophomore Rebekah Milian (Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc HS) that scored Findlay.

The Maize and Blue broke the game open in the fifth inning with three more runs to push its lead to 7-0. Freshman Alessandra Giampaolo (Pasadena, Calif./Polytechnic HS) and Merchant hit back-to-back singles up the middle and then advanced on a wild pitch to put runners on second and third with no outs. Findlay then singled to center field to score Giampaolo, picking up her third RBI of the game. Merchant also scored on the play, sliding headfirst into home after a throwing error on Canisius. After the Wolverines' next batter lined out to right field, junior Grace Leutele (Sierra Vista, Ariz./Buena HS) picked up Michigan's fourth hit of the inning, bring Findlay around from second for U-M's seventh run of the game.

Canisius finally broke through in the sixth inning, to make the score 7-1. With one out and a runner on third, freshman Katie Miranto singled up the middle to bring in the run. Michigan, however, answered the Golden Griffins with a double by senior Nicole Motycka (Sarasota, Fla./Cardinal Mooney HS) that scored Haas and then retired the final three batters to close out the game.

Michigan (56-4) will face Seton Hall in the semifinal of the NCAA Softball Regional 1 on Saturday (May 21) at 1 p.m., while Canisius (22-18) will take on North Carolina on Saturday (May 21) at 3:30 p.m.

Q U O T E S

Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins

On the game ... "It's always a good start of the tournament to get out and win. I always say the first is the hardest. It's the first night, the big crowd, it's very exciting, but we got through it. I thought we had some good performances and I'm hoping we'll settle in."

On her decision to bring in Lorilyn Wilson & "I was hoping we would get a chance to bring her in to get some NCAA tournament experience. We're just trying to get her in because she's no quite there yet."

Michigan freshman first basemen Samantha Findlay

On her first NCAA tournament game & "The team definitely makes me feel comfortable. We have great senior leaders and we just do what we do in practice and try to put it on the field during the game."

Canisius head coach Mike Rappl

On the game & "(Michigan) is a very good team, offensively and defensively. They really attack you at the plate. We were trying to mix up the speeds, but they really got after Andrea (Bunten). They did a good job of keeping us off balance Ritter pitched a great game.

N O T E S

" The Wolverines hosted the third-largest crowd in Alumni Field history with 1,837 fans. Michigan has boasted more than 1,000 fans in each of the last six home games. Michigan's three largest crowds at Alumni Field have fallen within the last eight home dates.

" Michigan is 3-0 against Cansius in NCAA postseason play. All three games have come within the last four seasons.

" Earning their 57th win of the season, the Wolverines need just one more tally to match the school single-season wins record, set in 1998 and 1999.

" With her first-inning home run, freshman Samantha Findlay matched teammate Jessica Merchant's single-season home run record at 19. Merchant retook sole possession of the seasonal mark just three innings later, improving her home run tally to 20.

" U-M has a school-record 91 home runs this season with blasts in 52 of 60 games, including 26 in the last 15 contests.

" Findlay claimed Michigan's single-season RBI record, tallying three to bring her total to 63. Findlay leapfrogged Kelly Kovach -- who registered 61 in 1995 -- into the top spot.

" Junior Tiffany Haas scored a pair of runs to pass Sarah Griffin (1995-98) into the fifth spot on U-M's career runs list with 149. She needs just one more to tie Catherine Davie (1996-99) for the fourth spot.

" Junior pitcher Jennie Ritter climbed closer to the top of Michigan's single-season wins list with her 29th victory of the year. She needs just four more wins to reach the third position, currently held by Kelly Holmes (33, 1997).

-- Courtesy Michigan