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Michigan softball swept by Indiana in offensive fueled weekend

The Hoosiers’ firepower was too much for the Wolverines.

NCAA SOFTBALL: MAY 22 Playoff Regional - Michigan v Washington Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Coming into the weekend, the Michigan Wolverines softball team looked to add some marquee wins to the resume to solidify a postseason bid. But after suffering their first series sweep of the season, they suddenly look in danger of missing just their second NCAA Tournament since 1992.

It was assumed to be a high-risk, high-reward series, and unfortunately for Michigan, it ended up being all risk, no reward. The high-powered Indiana Hoosiers outscored the Wolverines by a 25-7 margin over three games, including a 15-1 blowout on Saturday.

Here’s how the weekend broke down for the Wolverines at Carol Hutchins Stadium:

Game 1

After torrential rains washed out the Friday slate at the Hutch, Michigan and Indiana finally got their series underway on Saturday afternoon with a doubleheader.

In a rare misstep for Wolverines ace Lauren Derkowski, the hurler didn’t have time to get settled in as the Hoosiers were able to notch three hits in the first inning, sprinting out to a 2-0 cushion before some fans even found their seats.

Though Derkowski was able to dig in for much of the game following, a triple by Indiana’s Cora Bassett to open the fifth was immediately turned into a run in the next at-bat, and Derkowski would leave the contest entirely after allowing a walk and a hit to start the top of the seventh, one of which ended up scoring.

While Michigan still very much had a chance to make a comeback in the bottom of the seventh, they could only muster a single run before Hoosiers pitcher Brianna Copeland retired the final batter, ending the game at 4-1.

Game 2

The unspoken assumption of doubleheaders is that the second game of the day usually favors the team with the better bats. That couldn’t have been more clear on Saturday.

With Derkowski done for the day, keeping the Hoosiers’ offense in check fell to Jessica LeBeau. Though LeBeau kept Indiana quiet in the top of the first, the Hoosiers broke the game wide open in the second and third innings, taking a 5-1 lead that forced Michigan to go to the bullpen. Reliever Emerson Aiken didn’t fare much better however, giving up a pair of homers to Indiana’s freshman sensation Taryn Kern that ballooned the lead even further to 10-1.

With the Wolverines’ plan B and plan C out of the game, the Hoosiers effectively took batting practice in the top of the sixth inning, plating another five runs to finish the day with 15. Effectively playing to prevent a run rule rather than making a comeback, Michigan’s 3-4-5 batters went down in order in the bottom of the sixth, ending the game and the day at large with Indiana on top.

Game 3

With the series already decided, the focus of Sunday for the Wolverines was to send their seniors off with a victory. Unfortunately, Indiana had other plans — once again getting the best of Derkowski by smashing three homers in the first three innings to take a 5-1 lead.

Not all hope was lost, however. In the bottom half of the third, the Wolverines clawed back into the game, with Keke Tholl and Melina Livingston knocking a pair of RBI singles to trim the deficit to 5-3. Though the Hoosiers grabbed another run off a fielding error in the top of the sixth, Ella McVey brought Michigan just one run away from tying things up in the bottom of the seventh with a two-RBI single that just barely snaked past the third base line.

Ultimately, the 6-5 score was where it stayed, as a pop up from Ellie Sieler sealed the series sweep for Indiana.

What’s next?

With five games left in the regular season, the Wolverines can’t afford to stumble any more than they have to secure a bid in the NCAA Tournament. Fortunately, midweek contests against Western Michigan and Oakland will, in theory, give Michigan a reset headed into its final Big Ten series at Minnesota.

Tuesday, May 2 - vs. Western Michigan (6 p.m. ET, B1G+)

Wednesday, May 3 - vs. Oakland (6 p.m. ET, B1G+)