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Michigan Athletics | February 28, 2015

Michigan records two run-rule wins

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Third-ranked Michigan softball team pounded out 10 extra-base hits, including six home runs, to cruise to a pair of run-rule victories on Saturday, defeating Toledo 9-0 and Binghamton 15-0 in five innings on the second day of action at the ASU Louisville Slugger Invitational at Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium.

Junior second baseman Sierra Romero batted 3-for-3 with a pair of home runs and six runs batted in against Binghamton, while freshman first baseman/RHP Tera Blanco and senior catcher Lauren Sweet both drove in four runs on two hits, including a homer apiece, on the day. Freshmen Taylor Swearingen and Aidan Falk also belted out home runs.

The Wolverine pitching staff combined for 11 strikeouts and just six hits and three walks allowed en route to the back-to-back shutouts -- U-M's fourth and fifth this season. Sophomore RHP Megan Betsa (7-0) earned the first game's decision behind five strikeouts and two hits through 3.1 innings, while senior LHP Haylie Wagner (6-1) registered four-strikeout, two-hit effort through three innings against Binghamton. Blanco appeared in relief in both contests, striking out two while allowing two hits and two walks through 3.2 total innings.

U-M earned multiple runs in every inning against the Bearcats and built its early advantage with four runs off four hits, two walks and a hit batsman in the first. Romero drove in the game's first tally on an RBI single up the middle, and Sweet followed with a two-run double to left field before scoring on a wild pitch.

After sophomore left fielder Kelly Christner smacked in a run on an RBI triple in the second -- her second three-bagger of the season -- Romero knocked out her first of two home runs on a three-run shot to centerfield. Blanco went yard for three runs in the third, and Romero did it again in the fourth, driving another three-run rocket over the wall in leftfield. It was the fifth multi-homer effort of Romero's career.

Michigan used another fast start to defeat the Rockets in its first game of the day, scoring six in the first frame on three hits, two walks and a hit batter. Sweet and Swearingen went yard to drive in half of U-M's first-frame tallies, while the other half scored on a Blanco single to leftfield that got errantly past the Rocket outfielder and rolled to the wall.

The Wolverines took advantage of Toledo miscues to tack on three more in the third and push the game into run-rule territory. Sweet reached on a fielding error from the leadoff spot, advanced to second on a walk and scored when Falk drilled a single to centerfield. After U-M plated another on an overthrow to first base, Falk came home to score on a Lawrence sac fly to deep centerfield.

Michigan went to the bullpen with one down and nobody on in the fourth, bringing in Blanco for her first career appearance in the circle. The Wolverine rookie allowed just one base runner after hitting a batter, but Sweet promptly threw out her pinch runner attempting to steal second. Blanco retired the side in the fifth, issuing a four-pitch strikeout to end the game.

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