Megan Betsa fans 20 in Michigan’s doubleheader sweep against Iowa
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Megan Betsa (14-2) was spectacular from the pitching circle, striking out 20 batters through nine innings to headline the fourth-ranked Michigan's 6-0, 7-4 doubleheader sweep against Iowa on Saturday afternoon.
Betsa registered a career-best 16 strikeouts in the opener, striking out the side in the first, second, fourth and seventh innings, while scattering three hits and a walk en route to her second consecutive shutout and third this season. She added four strikeouts through two scoreless innings of relief in the nightcap to claim her second career save. Haylie Wagner (13-2) earned the victory in Game 2, striking out four while allowing four runs off six hits and a pair of walks.
Kelly Christner extended her hit streak to eight games with a home run in each contest, circling the bases for a solo inside-the-parker in the first slate before knocking out a three-run bomb in the second. Sierra Romero also posted multiple extra-base hits with a pair of doubles and a triple on the day; she cleared the bases with a three-run double in the nightcap.
Michigan took advantage of Hawkeyes pitching miscues to plate three runs in the first inning, and Romero's base running manufactured a run for the Wolverines in the bottom of the fourth. After walking and stealing second, she advanced to third after getting caught in a rundown off a comebacker to the circle. She stole home during the next at-bat, successfully converting on a double-steal attempt with pinch runner Nikki Wald.
Christner capped the Wolverines' Game 1 offensive output with her inside-the-park home run in the sixth inning on a high fly ball into right center field. The Hawkeyes center fielder covered the ground to get underneath the ball but ran hard into the wall as it reached her glove as it popped out, and Christner rounded the bases to score.
The Wolverine left fielder's home run in the second slate came with greater stakes. With U-M trailing 4-3 in the fifth inning -- and with two runners aboard after back-to-back singles -- Christner bombed a three-run blast over the wall in deep center field. Romero chipped a half-swing triple to the right field wall in the next at-bat, and pinch hitter Lauren Sweet, making her first appearance in seven games, drove her home on a soft groundout down the first base line.
The Hawkeyes retook the lead in the top of the fifth, plating three runs off four hits and an intentional walk and setting the stage for U-M's rally in the home half.
Betsa entered in the top of the sixth and, after walking the first batter she faced, issued back-to-back punchouts before fielding a comebacker to the circle. She added two more strikeouts in the seventh to put the game away.