Given the current postseason outlook for the Michigan Wolverines softball team, it’s a near-certainty that any potential NCAA regional bid will see the Wolverines traveling rather than having a curtain call at Carol Hutchins Stadium.
If the Wolverines’ midweek slate was truly their final games on their home field then, they left things on a high note — blowing out Western Michigan and Oakland, respectively.
Here’s the lowdown on how Michigan said farewell to their home field over the week.
While the Hutch may have been cold and gloomy on Tuesday afternoon, the Wolverines’ bats were red hot. In their first two innings of work, Michigan scored a whopping five runs off a solo shot by Ellie Sieler, a two-run triple by Melina Livingston and a two-run homer by Lexie Blair.
Though the Broncos staved off a shutout bid with an RBI double, the Wolverines stayed on the offensive, with Keke Tholl joining in the extra base party off a two-run homer of her own in the bottom of the fourth. Michigan’s only run not to come from an extra base hit came in the bottom of the fifth, as pitcher Madysyn Lopez beaned pinch hitter Jessica Garmen with the bases loaded, driving in a run and setting the stage for Indiana Langford to end things early with a walk-off single.
Final: Michigan 9, WMU 1
If the Golden Grizzlies were hoping for a more competitive result than their 9-0 run rule loss a month ago, they were sorely mistaken.
After a quiet first inning, Michigan unequivocally opened a can of whoop on Oakland in the bottom of the second, blasting a two-run homer over the wall before promptly re-loading the bases and notching a grand slam off the bat of Tholl. An RBI-single by Lexi Voss capped things off in the inning for a grand total of seven runs.
After adding only a single additional run in the bottom of the third, the Wolverines came back for a bona fide second helping in the bottom of the fourth. Avery Fantucci started the scoring off with a two-run triple, while Lexi Blair concluded her career at the Hutch with a three-run homer, pushing the score to 13-0.
The Wolverines conclude their regular season with a road trip to Minneapolis, where they’ll face the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
With a 14-6 record, the Golden Gophers are third in the Big Ten headed into the final weekend of play, but are out of contention for the regular season crown. They have the conference’s current longest win streak, having won six consecutive and 12 of their last 13.
At the plate, Minnesota is led by catcher Taylor Krapf, who has a .365 batting average and an 1.159 on-base plus slugging. The Golden Gophers boast four players in the starting lineup with a BA over .300, and three with over 10 home runs.
On the mound, Autumn Pease is one of the Big Ten’s best pitchers, entering the weekend with a 1.41 earned run average and a 23-6 record.
Schedule (All times EDT, television and streaming options where available)
Friday, May 5 at Minnesota (7:30 p.m., B1G+)
Saturday, May 6 at Minnesota (Noon, Big Ten Network)
Sunday, May 7 at Minnesota (2 p.m., Big Ten Network)