- Terra Molengraff/Daily
BY NATE SELL
Daily Sports Writer
Published February 17, 2013
Michigan’s softball team has some serious offensive firepower — now it just needs to keep that momentum throughout the whole game. Its explosiveness was on display this weekend, but just in spurts. The Wolverines drove in 13 runs in one inning against Massachusetts on Sunday, but they didn't score in any other inning of the game.
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“It’s better than not scoring,” said Michigan coach Carol Hutchins. “But I’d like to see us consistently have good at-bats and focus on one pitch at a time.”
The 14th-ranked Wolverines were in Florida for the FAU Kickoff Classic and won all but one game in their four-game stretch, beating Maryland, Massachusetts and Florida Atlantic, taking them to 6-2 on the season. Their sole loss came to LIU Brooklyn.
They started their weekend with a 10-2, five-inning win over Maryland. Sophomore Sara Driesenga pitched all five innings and allowed just three hits and two runs, while posting five RBI on the other side of the plate.
Michigan was powered by back-to-back home runs by Driesenga and senior second baseman Ashley Lane in the second inning, with Driesenga’s coming on a full count.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Michigan fell to LIU Brooklyn (2-7), 2-1, when it was unable to get things going offensively. Freshman Alice Fitzpatrick got her first start but gave up four hits in two-plus innings and took the loss.
The Wolverines fell behind 2-0 in the third inning and couldn’t come back. They threatened in the fourth and fifth, but couldn’t drive a run home until the seventh, when junior center fielder Lyndsay Doyle hit into left-center to bring home senior third baseman Amy Knapp.
Hutchins stressed to her players that they couldn’t dwell on the loss and had to come out strong on Saturday for their second game of the doubleheader. The team took their coach's advice to heart and drove in 13 runs in its first inning of their first game of the day against Massachusetts. Michigan would go on to win 13-2.
With the Wolverines up 1-0 and the bases loaded, freshman left fielder Sierra Lawrence stepped to the plate and sent a triple down the left-field line to clear the bases. This started a scoring frenzy that included fellow freshman Kelsey Susalla's first collegiate home run to put Michigan up 6-0.
“It was really cool seeing them at home cheering for me,” Susalla said. “It was just great knowing all of my teammates were proud of me.”
Susalla also had a two-run double later in the inning. She finished with four RBI. Driesenga went on to pick up her fifth win on the mound behind the 13-run lead and Fitzpatrick came in to close the game.
Driesenga would pick up another win in the second game against Florida Atlantic, 4-2. She pitched a complete game and allowed just six hits while having four strikeouts. When Driesenga was up to bat in the fifth, the Wolverines were down one with the bases loaded. She hit a grand slam to take the lead, which she protected with her lights-out pitching.
“We played from behind almost the entire game,” Hutchins said. “So we battled, and we had runners in scoring position three or four innings in a row, and we just had to keep coming at them until something broke open for us (while staying) in the game defensively, which we did.”
With two wins on Sunday, the main focus was that all the runs came from two innings —13 in the first against Massachusetts and four in the fifth against Florida Atlantic.
“We have a really explosive offense and we can really produce runs,” Knapp said. “We just need to be consistent with that and come out every game and attack. That’s our motto for the year: attack.”