Michigan blasts four home runs to complete undefeated weekend
TEMPE, Ariz. -- No. 3 Michigan used the long ball to wrap up its undefeated weekend, knocking out four home runs to defeat host No. 21 Arizona State, 6-2, on Sunday afternoon at Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium. The Wolverines pushed their win streak to 18 consecutive games.
Junior centerfielder Sierra Lawrence headlined the Wolverines' offensive efforts from the leadoff spot, going 3-for-4 with two home runs and three runs batted in. Junior rightfielder Kelsey Susalla and senior catcher Lauren Sweet also went deep. All six Michigan runs came off the long ball, upping its weekend total to 20 over five games.
Sophomore RHP Megan Betsa (8-0) earned the victory in relief, allowing just hits and no runs through 2.2 innings. Senior LHP Haylie Wagner, who started the game but was pulled in the fourth, reentered when Betsa took a comebacker off her throwing hand in the sixth and earned the save, retiring the final four ASU batters in order. She ended her appearance with one strikeout and two hits allowed.
Michigan claimed its early advantage on solo home runs from Susalla and Lawrence in the second and third innings, respectively. Susalla gave U-M its first lead on a one-out shot to rightfield, while Lawrence took a first-pitch liner deep over the leftfield wall.
The Sun Devils threatened in the bottom of the second and third before breaking through with a pair of runs to even the score in the fourth. Shortstop Chelsea Gonzales cut the U-M lead to one on a leadoff home run to leftfield.
First baseman Bethany Kemp walked in the next at-bat, inducing the Wolverine pitching change, before advancing on a hit batsman and fielder's choice and scoring on a squeeze bunt.
The Wolverines retook the lead in the sixth off the bat of Sweet, who followed a leadoff walk with a full-count, two-run blast high over the wall in rightfield. Susalla nearly followed suit in the next at-bat, but her one deep fly to leftfield was snagged on the track.
Arizona State threatened again in the home half, loading the bases with one out for rightfielder Sierra Rodriguez, who lined the ball back to the pitching circle. The ball struck Betsa, who recovered to throw out the lead runner at home. Wagner reentered and forced an inning-ending lineout to shortstop after three pitches.
Lawrence went yard again in the top of the seventh to cushion the Wolverines' lead, belting out her fifth home run of the weekend with a two-run shot deep over the right centerfield wall.