Michigan 4, Texas 0

June 3, 2005

OKLAHOMA CITY -- For the first time in the program's history, the No. 1-ranked University of Michigan softball team has opened play in the Women's College World Series with two consecutive victories. Michigan rallied behind a one-hit shutout from Jennie Ritter (Dexter, Mich./Dexter HS) to knock-off No. 4 seed Texas 4-0 Friday (June 3) at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

The Wolverines and Longhorns locked up in a duel between two NFCA first-team All-America pitchers, Ritter and Texas ace Cat Osterman. The duo matched zeros on the board for the first three innings, with Ritter yielding just one baserunner. Osterman looked to be cruising through three, striking out eight of the first 10 Wolverines she faced.

Michigan finally broke through in the fourth inning when centerfielder Alessandra Giampaolo (Pasadena, Calif./Polytechnic HS) hit a ball off of an outstretched Osterman's glove, beating out the throw from Texas second baseman Chez Sievers to lead off the inning. Jessica Merchant (Wayland, Mich./Wayland HS) followed with a single before Samantha Findlay (Lockport, Ill./East HS) laced an outside fastball off the left-centerfield wall, driving in Giampaolo and Merchant to put the Wolverines up 2-0.

Ritter continued to bear down on the Longhorns. The Wolverine hurler quietly racked up 12 strikeouts in a one-hit shutout. Ritter did not allow a hit past the first batter, and thanks to Becky Marx (St. Joseph, Mich./Lakeshore HS) throwing out the runner on a steal attempt; Ritter faced the minimum number of batters possible.

Merchant teamed up with Nicole Motycka (Sarasota, Fla./Cardinal Mooney HS) in the sixth inning to extend Michigan's lead to 3-0. With Merchant on second after a single and stolen base, Motycka drove a pitch into leftfield. As Merchant rounded third, Texas leftfielder Tina Boutelle fired to the plate. Merchant slid around the sweeping tag to score the run and chase Osterman from the Texas circle.

Michigan added another run in the final frame when Tiffany Haas (Santa Ana, Calif../Foothill HS) singled up the middle to drive in Stephanie Bercaw (Wooster Ohio/Hillsdale HS) from second base to give the Wolverines a 4-0 edge.

Ritter set down the final 20 batters in order, striking out the side in the sixth and retiring the side in order in the seventh to close out her second shutout of the 2005 WCWS.

Michigan (62-5) will take on an opponent to be determined in Game 12 of the WCWS on Sunday (June 5) at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Okla. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. CDT, and the game will be televised live on ESPN.

-- Courtesy Michigan