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Michigan Athletics | March 7, 2015

No. 3 Michigan tallies pair of run-rule wins

Michigan 3-7 Kelly Christner belted two home runs on Friday as part of Michigan's run-rule victories.

FULLERTON, Calif. -- No. 3 Michigan rebounded from a tough day Thursday to claim a pair of run-rule victories, defeating San Jose State 9-1 and No. 9 Baylor 11-1 in five innings on the second day of action at the Judi Garman Classic on Friday at the Titan Softball Complex.

The Wolverines, who recorded double-digit hits in both games, earned the bulk of their production from the top of the lineup; U-M's first four batters combined for 15 hits on the day. Junior second baseman Sierra Romero headlined with a 5-for-6 effort with two home runs and six runs batted in. Sophomore left fielder Kelly Christner also knocked out a pair of home runs as part of a 4-for-6, three-RBI day and freshman first baseman/RHP Tera Blanco went 4-for-6 with two RBIs.

Senior LHP Haylie Wagner (8-1) was masterful in the nightcap against the Bears, requiring just 37 pitches to earn 12 outs through four innings. Wagner allowed just one hit -- a two-out single in the first -- and fanned three. Sophomore RHP Megan Betsa (9-2) also rebounded from a tough day yesterday with a gem in the first slate against San Jose State, striking out four while allowing three walks in a complete-game two-hitter.

Michigan posted big early innings against the ninth-ranked Bears, scoring three runs apiece in the first and second innings and five in the third to cruise to its second consecutive run rule victory. All of the Wolverines' runs in the latter two frames came with two outs.

Christner set the tone with a two-run blast to right center field in the second at-bat of the contest and after U-M quickly loaded the bases on back-to-back singles and a hit-by-pitch, freshman designated player Aidan Falk drove in another on an infield groundout.

Christner went yard again in her next turn at the plate, connecting with the 3-2 pitch -- the eighth of her at-bat -- and driving a solo shot over the right field fence for her first career multi-homer game. After Romero singled on the next pitch to bring a Baylor pitching change, the Wolverines took advantage of Bear miscues to plate two more, scoring on a throwing error to third base after a wild pitch and again on a field error.

Sophomore shortstop Abby Ramirez posted an infield single to kick off U-M's two-out rally in the third. With the bases loaded following back-to-back walks, Romero rolled a tapper in front of the plate, allowing Ramirez to slide in safely at home. Baylor again went to the bullpen after a bases-loaded walk to Blanco, but the Wolverines kept hitting. Senior catcher Lauren Sweet drove a two-run bloop single into a shallow right field, and two batters later, Falk drilled an RBI single into center field.

The Wolverines rolled to a run-rule decision against San Jose State in the morning slate, scoring multiple runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to end the game with bases loaded and one down in the latter frame.

Michigan broke the game open with a five-run third inning. After a leadoff hit-by-pitch, the Wolverines reeled off three consecutive hits, including an RBI double from junior center fielder Sierra Lawrence and a three-run blast to right center field from Romero. A walk, stolen base and sac bunt again put a runner in scoring position, and Susalla capitalized, lifting a single to center field to score the run.

Romero went yard again in the fourth, driving a two-run blast over the right center field fence for her second multi-homer game of the season.

SJSU spoiled Betsa's no-hit bid with two outs in the top of the fifth, stringing together a full-count walk and back-to-back singles to the outfield to plate its lone run of the game. Betsa issued another walk to load the bases but got out of the jam on a quick out.

Michigan responded quickly in the home half as freshman third baseman Taylor Swearingen connected with the second pitch to drive a leadoff solo shot deep over the fence in deep center field for her fifth home run of the season. The Spartans went to the bullpen, but the pitching change did not half U-M's momentum. Ramirez singled in the next at-bat before a walk and hit-by-pitch -- on five consecutive pitches -- loaded the bases for Blanco, who grounded an infield single to first to score Ramirez for the game-ending run.

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