Driesenga deals out another shutout as Michigan remains spotless at regional
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- For the second consecutive day, sophomore pitcher Sara Driesenga tossed a complete-game shutout as No. 7 Michigan blanked No. 18-ranked California 5-0 Saturday in an NCAA Regional game at the Wilpon Complex, home of Alumni Field. The Wolverines move into the final day of competition with a 2-0 record in the double-elimination tournament.
The righty yielded just five hits in her seven innings of work. She struck out eight batters, the seventh time this season she has set down eight or more in one game.
Driesenga worked out of two trouble spots in the middle of the game. The first Cal runner to reach third base came in the fourth inning following a fielder's choice and a base hit. Driesenga got the next hitter to fly out to left. The script was similar in the fifth, but this time with Cal runners on second and third. Again Driesenga got a fly out to left to end the threat.
Michigan took advantage of a few California miscues in the bottom of the second to pile up three runs. The Wolverines used one hit and two errors to push their runs across. It started with a bases-loaded grounder from freshman Sierra Lawrence that Cal's second baseman could not handle. The next batter, senior Amy Knapp, grounded out, but that was enough to bring sophomore Lauren Sweet home. Michigan had a 2-0 lead but had not recorded a hit in the game.
That changed with the very next hitter when junior Lyndsay Doyle laced a liner down the leftfield line. Pinch runner Brandi Virgil motored home with Michigan's third run, but Lawrence was gunned out at the plate. After two innings, the Wolverines had three runs and just one hit.
In the top of the fourth, the Maize and Blue needed just one hit to score another run, but this time it was Sweet belting her ninth home run of the season. Her leadoff homer sailed out to leftfield, an opposite-field shot and her first postseason homer. Sweet's home run knocked California's ace, Jolene Henderson (31 of Cal's 37 wins), out of the game.
Sweet was an equal-opportunity victimizer. She hit her second home run of the game -- and second leading off an inning -- in the sixth inning off reliever Nisa Ontiveros.
It is Driesenga's fourth complete-game shutout of the season and second in as many games. The starts Friday vs. Valparaiso and Saturday are the first two NCAA postseason starts of her career. She ended the game by stranding one more Cal runner on third on a bounce out to freshman Sierra Romero.