Michigan 6, North Carolina
Michigan 6, North Carolina 0May 22, 2005
ANN ARBOR, Mich. The No. 1 University of Michigan softball team advanced to the NCAA Super Regional following a 6-0 shutout victory over North Carolina in the NCAA Softball Regional final on Sunday (May 22) at Alumni Field. Junior pitcher Jennie Ritter (Dexter, Mich./Dexter HS) earned her third win of the weekend, fanning 10 batters and allowing just one hit through five innings.
Ritter hung to a perfect game through the opening four frames before giving up a double to Anna Evans in the fifth; the junior ace promptly sat down the subsequent two Tar Heel batters to erase the scoring threat. Ritter's final-game performance was indicative of her weekend as she struck out 27 and allowed just six hits through 17 shutout innings. Sophomore Lorilyn Wilson (Salem, Ore./Sprague HS) entered today's game in relief and continued the Wolverines' strong defensive effort with 1-2-3 sixth inning and a pair of back-to-back strikeouts in the bottom of the seventh to end the game.
After each pitcher went 1-2-3 in a quick opening inning, the Wolverines took charge in the second, scoring three runs on four hits to take the only advantage they would need. With the bases loaded, junior Becky Marx (St. Joseph, Mich./Lakeshore HS) sent a hard drive deep down the first-base line to score senior Nicole Motycka (Sarasota, Fla./Cardinal Mooney HS) and freshman Samantha Findlay (Lockport, Ill./Lockport East HS) on a bobbled play by the Tar Heel right fielder. Two batters later, junior Tiffany Haas (Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill HS) popped up to deep centerfield with just one U-M out, allowing junior Stephanie Bercaw (Wooster, Ohio/Hillsdale HS) to check up and trot home from third base.
U-M doubled its run output in the top of the fifth inning as Findlay tallied her 21st home run of the season one shy of teammate Jessica Merchant's (Wayland, Mich./Wayland HS) single-season record -- blasting a three-run shot deep over the leftfield fence, scoring Merchant and freshman Alessandra Giampaolo (Pasadena, Calif./Polytechnic HS).
North Carolina tightened on defense in the final two frames as Tar Heel reliever Alison Yin shutdown the Maize and Blue with two strikeouts and just one hit allowed.
Michigan (58-4) will host No. 16 seed Washington winner of the Lincoln, Neb. regional -- in a best-of-three Super Regional on Friday and Saturday (May 27-28) at Alumni Field in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Q U O T E S
Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins
On the weekend & "I'm very pleased with my group we had a great weekend and we played good softball. We played great defense, we pitched well that's the key to the postseason. We had a chance to get some timely hits and I think we did. North Carolina has a good pitching staff. They limited us to runs in only two innings."
On winning the regional championship & "I said last year that a regional championship isn't good enough because now there's a super regional. We just need to keep doing what we're doing, play good softball and not get caught up with anything except the next game. They understand that we need to fight and work for it."
On Jennie Ritter & "She's just been outstanding all year. Her ability to focus pitch to pitch, game to game she's really getting it done for us. She's one of the major reasons for where were at."
On Lorilyn Wilson & "I was pleased with her outing today. She hasn't been in many games, she's not quite as sharp, but I like her mindset. I was very pleased with Lorilyn today."
Junior pitcher Jennie Ritter
On advancing to the next round & "You have to keep working. We got two more games before we get (to the college world series). Take it one game at a time that's been our approach since the beginning."
Freshman first basemen Samantha Findlay
On the home run & "We've been working on seeing the ball and I just tried to get a good pitch and take a good hack at it. I don't look for home runs I just try to hit the ball hard."
N O T E S
" The win gave Michigan its eighth regional title in school history.
" With the win, Michigan is 6-1 all-time against North Carolina.
" Michigan beat North Carolina 5-0 earlier in the season on March 18 in the Kia Classic in Fullerton, California.
" Despite the loss, it was the furthest North Carolina had ever gone in the NCAA tournament. They were 1-2 in 2001, 2003 and 2004.
" With the loss, North Carolina is 2-12 this season against ranked opponents.
-- Courtesy Michigan