So far, so good. In two games in the WCWS, Michigan softball has won comfortably, if not dominated. First came Alabama, a tight affair until a 4th inning gone horribly wrong for Bama pitcher Alexis Osorio.
GRAND SLAM LAUREN SWEET! Wolverines up 5-0 in 4th. #GoBlue— Michigan Softball (@umichsoftball) May 29, 2015
After leading Michigan to the winner's bracket, Megan Betsa couldn't follow up against the #7 UCLA Bruns. After falling behind 3-0, Haylie Wagner came on to relieve Betsa and let the Michigan hitters do the rest.
A hit-by-pitch brings in another run, and Haylie Wagner will relieve Betsa in the circle. Michigan trails UCLA 3-0.— Michigan Softball (@umichsoftball) May 30, 2015
Christner! Again! A hard shot to center scores Lawrence! Christner has 3 RBI tonight in a 3-5 effort, and UM takes a 10-4 lead! #GoBlue— Michigan Softball (@umichsoftball) May 30, 2015
More than anything else, it's been the team dynamic of Team 38 that is getting it this far. Three Michigan hitters were named All-Americans this year, yet the postgame press conference against UCLA featured Lindsay Montemarano and Kelsey Susalla, not Sierra Lawrence and Sierra Romero. The stars have played great - but the team has played greater.
Today, Michigan goes head-to-head with LSU, a team with impressive pitching (1.79 ERA, compared to 1.59 for Michigan) and hitters who can make contact. LSU can't put a candle to Michigan's power, but they're a complete, well-rounded team.
We'll see if LSU can successfully block the pizza deliveries to ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
Eighty years ago, the "greatest 45 minutes ever in sports" happened in Ann Arbor, Michigan, thanks to a Buckeye.
The youngest son of Henry Cleveland Owens and Mary Emma Fitzgerald was competing in the Big Ten outdoor track finals, watched by a crowd of 5,000 that included future Michigan great Tom Harmon. Owens tied the world record in the 100-yard dash, broke it in the long jump, broke it in the 220-yard low hurdles, and also broke it in the 220-yard dash.
"I always loved running. It was something you could do by yourself and under your own power," Owens explained later. "You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs."
That day, Owens re-wrote the history books - he did it so thoroughly, in fact, that his length in the long jump (26 feet, 8 1/4 inches) would have won the Big Ten in 2015. That day in 1935 was a launching pad for his appearance in the 1936 Olympics, where he became a legend.
The start was dramatic enough: the first inning in the NCAA Tournament, Michigan was threatened with runners in scoring position and one out. Matt Ogden got his way out of trouble, then Michigan's hitters had their way in a 4-run second inning. The fun was on.
Having secured a place in the winner's bracket, Michigan found a harder time against Louisville, in a 4-3 loss to the home team. This created a weird series:
FINAL--Louisville 4, Michigan 3. Michigan will face Bradley Sunday at 12 p.m. in an elimination game. Winner will play Louisville at 4.— Michigan Baseball (@umichbaseball) May 31, 2015
Michigan faces Bradley again today, an elimination game for the Maize and Blue but an opportunity for redemption tomorrow.
Softball and baseball aren't the only crews in action today:
Michigan has found it to be tough rowing so far, with competitive but disappointing finishes through Day 2.
Top 3 finishers in A/B Semifinals advance to tomorrow's Grand Finals. Michigan schedule today: 1V8 - 8:50 am, 2V8 - 9:30 am, 1V4 - 10:10 am— Michigan Rowing (@umichrowing) May 30, 2015
1V8 A/B Semi Results Cal 6:27.366 UVA 6:29.464 Texas 6:34.356 Michigan 6:37.173 Wash St. 6:41.679 Indiana 6:43.762 pic.twitter.com/NHbaSMrROc— Michigan Rowing (@umichrowing) May 30, 2015
2V8 A/B Semi Heat Results: OSU 6:32.249 Wash. 6:34.234 Cal 6:38.734 Texas 6:41.984 Michigan 6:42.182 Wisc. 6:42.724 pic.twitter.com/j4R5DqejVN— Michigan Rowing (@umichrowing) May 30, 2015
1V4 A/B Semi Heat Results Yale 7:19.27 OSU 7:24.03 Princeton 7:24.40 Cal 7:24.58 Michigan 7:32.63 Notre Dame 7:35.53 pic.twitter.com/xLn8n5ewaL— Michigan Rowing (@umichrowing) May 30, 2015
Congrats to them on a great, competitive season. Hopefully somebody is able to knock off Ohio State.
Kyle Mueller has had a similar time in the NCAA Golf Championships. The first Wolverine to play in the NCAA Finals in 30 years, Mueller played well in Day 1 but had some unforced errors in Day 2, sliding to 107th. He'll tee off again today in Florida.
Seven track and field athletes will make their way to Eugene, Oregon for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Here's a recap on both sides:
Denard was in attendance, since the event was taking place in Jacksonville.
That's it for this week. Catch Michigan softball today at 1:30 PM (then for another game later if necessary), and sound off on the poll below.
Jacksonville is looking to be a more physical rushing team in 2015; they added a number of linemen in the off-season, and drafted Alabama's T.J. Yeldon with the #36 pick in the NFL Draft. The 6'2", 221-pound Yeldon will be Denard's biggest competition for carries, but Denard has steadily carved a place for himself in the league. After a freshman season with 66 yards, Denard put up 706 total yards last season.