Two weeks ago, it seemed out of the cards. But after a pair of massive dominoes fell into place, the Michigan softball team was selected as one of the 16 host sites for the four-team regional round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
The senior catcher is far from the most reliable batter in the lineup with an average of .279. Though slump in March put her batting average well below .200, it has been steadily rising since Michigan’s home opener.
But when she gets contact with the ball, it’s gone.
While an early spark is definitely not out of the ordinary for Michigan, anyone who watched the Wolverines at the plate in their Friday quarterfinal game would find them unrecognizable. They got just seven hits against No. 9 seed Illinois, only one of which was translated into a run.
They needed to make a shift after the lack-luster performance.
Saturday’s Big Ten Tournament semifinal matchup between the No. 1 seed Michigan softball team and No. 5 seed Wisconsin began with a star-studded battle. With a trip to the championship game at stake, the Big Ten’s 2018 Pitcher of the Year began the day with a duel against its 2019 Player of the Year.
The Wolverines hung on to defeat No. 5 seed Wisconsin, 8-3, in the semifinal game of the Big Ten Tournament. The win signaled a revival of Michigan’s offense and advances the team to the final against No. 2 seed Northwestern or No. 3 seed Minnesota, depending on the outcome of Saturday afternoon’s matchup between the powerhouse teams.
BLOOMINGTON — Statistics suggested the game would be defined by offensive fireworks. But as postseason softball often goes, No. 1 seed Michigan’s 1-0 Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal win over No. 9 seed Illinois turned into a pitching duel on Friday.