Let's take off the tie, shall we? This is a good weekend for kicking back, enjoying some action-packed softball, and rooting for Michigan's ladies to get championship #2.
Yesterday's game against LSU - a pitcher's duel and ultimately a 2-0 win - was a gutty, intense affair that showed the same Michigan team I've already described in past weeks: talented, reliant on Megan Betsa's brilliance, a little eager to swing early in the pitch count, but gutsy and determined to get the job done. Great defense, great hitting, great mindset.
Tonight, we have a Romero sisters matchup: older sis Sierra takes on lil sis Sydney in Game 2 of the WCWS, at 9:30 PM on ESPN 2. The winner of that game will advance to the WCWS semifinals, while a loss would make Michigan's path a little tougher, but not impossible, to reach the championship series.
Kelly Christner got a hit and a run in yesterday's 2-0 win over LSU. Credit: MGoBlog
Stay tuned here for smaller updates throughout the weekend, as well as links to any separate game recaps that might go up. I'll update this page a couple times a day and we can also use it as a game thread if anyone feels interested in doing so. I might try switching out the poll below for a different one, too; regardless, we'll keep it pretty loose and casual in here.
A parting thought: I've really loved watching this team. A lot of intensity and heart. You couldn't ask for anything better.
Michigan 2, LSU 0: Walljasper was a really frustrating challenge in this one. Her pitches had tons of movement and Michigan's hitters never got a whole lot of traction against her. Tera Blanco had enough luck and good swings to go 2-3 with a 2-RBI double in the sixth to put the game away.
It was a testament to Betsa's ability that she pitched a shutout while the umpire took away the bottom part of the plate most of the night. Betsa started attacking the bottom of the zone with renewed purpose these last few weeks, and along with that her confidence has gone up and she's gotten into a rhythm at the perfect time of the year. That she could find a way around the shrunken strike zone, while dealing with LSU's patient hitters, was impressive.
No one on LSU had more than one hit, and nobody reached as far as third base all game long.
Oklahoma 7, Michigan 5: Oklahoma jumped out to an early lead and never quite let go, despite an excellent rally by Michigan in the seventh. OU pitcher Paige Parker was a warrior in this one, and even though she looked vulnerable at times, she kept Michigan's hitters from getting that timely hit they needed. Parker and Megan Betsa looked about equally as solid, but Betsa gave away too many walks and Michigan's defense could not handle OU's speed on the base paths. Oklahoma was aggressive from the beginning, while Michigan looked flat.
We'll have a WCWS recap up tomorrow, and look ahead to the off-season and who will be moving on.