Sophomore left-hander Meghan Beaubien and the Michigan softball team will play in its fourth straight ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

When the No. 17 Michigan softball team takes the field this weekend, it will see a pair of unfamiliar foes on the other side of the diamond.

Michigan softball coach Carol Hutchins looks to have found her No. 2 starter, freshman right-hander Alex Storako

After last weekend, one thing was cleared up for the No. 19 Michigan softball team: who will back up sophomore left-hander Meghan Beaubien in the pitching rotation.

Alex Storako answered that question when the freshman right-hander made her collegiate debut in the first game of the season on Friday. Storako’s entrance at the top of the fifth inning, when the Wolverines were trailing North Carolina State by two, was a testament to the confidence she has earned from Michigan coach Carol Hutchins. She didn’t disappoint, pitching the final three innings without allowing a single hit, which allowed Michigan to squeeze out a narrow 4-3 win.

Coach Carol Hutchins and the softball team went 3-2 in opening weekend.

In the USF Opening Weekend Invitational, Michigan went 3-2, beating North Carolina State 4-3, South Florida 10-1 and Illinois State 11-4 but dropping games against Arizona and Florida, 2-1 and 6-0, respectively. Despite maintaining strong defense throughout most of the tournament, the team’s offense fluctuated, starting slow and building up to strong, high-scoring wins to end the weekend.

Sophomore outfielder Haley Hoogenraad led the team defensively in Michigan's opening weekend.

While Michigan didn’t win, strong defensive plays like that by Hoogenraad were instrumental to the success of the team all weekend, as she made several important catches in each game.

Senior catcher Katie Alexander had a .314 batting average last season with 24 runs batted in.

Regardless of how playing time is split, 2019 has the potential to be a special year behind the plate in Ann Arbor. With Alexander’s career set to come full circle, perhaps there isn’t a more fitting way to leave a lasting legacy than by setting an example for her successor.

Sophomore pitcher Meghan Beaubien pitched three no-hitters last season.

Though the exhibitions, by nature, didn’t yield reported scores or statistics, fall ball provided key insights into Michigan’s coming season. These three main takeaways from fall ball may be pivotal in defining the team's potential this season.

The Michigan softball team crashed and burned, losing to Notre Dame in the NCAA Lexington Regional

Looking more like a runaway train than a softball team, Michigan fell to Notre Dame in disappointing fashion.

Junior center fielder Natalie Peters got a late-game hit to keep Michigan alive, but it was too-little too-late

Between two evenly matched teams in Michigan and Notre Dame, it came down to who wanted it more. And as the smoke cleared and the scoreboard read 4-1, it was clear the Fighting Irish edged out the Wolverines in desire.

Michigan coach Carol Hutchins believers her team is thinking too much when batting.

Michigan's offense experienced a hot-and-cold weekend, and it reflected in its results.

Senior pitcher and first baseman Tera Blanco had the lone RBI in Michigan's 1-0 win over Florida State on Saturday.

Michigan earned a split against Notre Dame and Florida State at the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.