Michigan 11, Washington 2

May 28, 2005

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 1-ranked University of Michigan softball team advanced to the 2005 Women's College World Series after an 11-2 victory over the University of Washington today (Saturday, May 28) at Alumni Field. After starting the day up one game in the best-of-three NCAA Super Regional series, the Wolverines dropped Game 2 in a tight 3-2 pitching battle to force the rubber match. Though the Huskies grabbed an early 2-0 lead, the Wolverines came back with 11 runs over the final five innings for the 11-2 victory care of the run-rule.

Washington took game two thanks to solo home runs from Caitlin Noble and Lauren Greer as well as an excellent 6.0-inning effort from Noble in the circle. She allowed just two runs and struck out five Wolverines. Ashley Boek came out of the bullpen with the tying run on and nobody out in the seventh. Michigan loaded the bases vs. Boek before she forced Nicole Motycka to popout and force a game three.

The heart of the Michigan lineup came through for the win game, as the 2-5 hitters drove in all of the Wolverine runs, combining for 10 of Michigan's 12 hits. Designated player Motycka was a prime catalyst in the win, finishing the game 2-for-4 with four runs batter in and one run scored. Third baseman Grace Leutele also put up a quality performance, hitting 3-for-4 with three RBI and one run scored, while first baseman Samantha Findlay finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored.

Pitcher Jennie Ritter again put up solid numbers for Michigan, earning both the win in game three and the loss in game two for the tournament's final day. Ritter (33-2) allowing a combined six hits, three runs (two earned) and four walks while striking out 15 over 10 innings. She shined in the elimination game, coming on in relief of starting pitcher Lorilyn Wilson after the Wolverines had earned a 4-2 lead. Ritter went on to shut down the opposition, rendering the Huskies hitless for the final four innings of the contest while striking out five of 12 batters.

After falling 3-2 in a game-two pitchers' duel, the Wolverines began the elimination game down early, surrendering a two-run home run in the top of the first to Washington's Kristen Rivera. After managing just seven hits and two runs in the day's first game, the Michigan bats came alive in the top of the second. Motycka put the first runs on the board, driving a two-run home run to leftfield to tie the game 2-2.

Wilson kept the Huskies at bay before the Wolverine offense continued to dominate in the top of the third. Centerfielder Alessandra Giampaolo hit her second home run of the series, blasting a solo shot over the fence in rightfield to give Michigan a 3-2 lead. Shortstop Jessica Merchant kept things going for U-M with a single. After a fielder's choice to move the her second, Leutele earned her first RBI of the day with a single to centerfield for a 4-2 advantage heading into the fourth.

The Wolverines broke the game open in the top of the fourth, taking advantage of some Washington errors. After a walks to catcher Becky Marx and Giampaolo, a passed ball on a strikeout by Merchant put runners on every base for Findlay. With two outs, the first baseman came through, ripping a double down the leftfield line to score two runs for a 6-2 lead. Motycka capped off the Wolverine drive with a two-run single for an 8-2 advantage.

Michigan (60-5) will take on No. 8 seed DePaul (45-19) in Game 3 of the WCWS on Wednesday (June 2) at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Okla. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CDT, and the game will be televised live on ESPN2.

-- Courtesy Michigan