SEATTLE — Boos rang out in a cacophony from the Seattle University fans as centerfielder Bailey Thompson was rung out on a changeup that floated in and picked the bottom right corner of the zone.
From the press vantage point, nearly behind the plate, the pitch thrown by senior left-hander Meghan Beaubien was objectively a strike. So why the jeers from the Redhawk crowd? They haven’t seen a pitcher of this caliber since Washington’s Gabbie Plain on March 13, and it was clear neither had the Seattle players.
Leaving the game with no hits allowed and 12 strikeouts, Beaubien was lethal. She picked apart hitters with surgical precision, choosing her placement and offspeed pitches systematically and scientifically.
“It’s a nice little pride thing,” Beaubien said. “It’s nice to throw that and say that no one got any hits on you that game.”
Meanwhile, the Redhawks looked flustered in nearly every at-bat, swinging at bad-opportunity pitches and watching good ones pass by them before turning around and heading back to the dugout.
“I think a combination of everything I got was really going for me today,” Beaubien said. “That helps keep hitters off balance.”
When Seattle did make contact, they were typically groundouts handled well by the Wolverine infielders. Rarely, Michigan’s outfielders had to get under a deep ball to convert the out.
Despite the controlling pitching appearance, the start of the game foreshadowed a much shakier outing. On the third batter of the game, Beaubien accidentally launched a ball backwards from her windup, counting as a ball. She came back with another pitch that soared high. The third came inside, striking Thompson on the forearm and giving up the free base. The entire at-bat for Beaubien was shambolic.
Beaubien came back the very next batter to prove everyone wrong. It took seven pitches as Seattle first baseman Madison Catchcart fought off Beaubien’s assault, but in the end Beaubien won, ringing Catchcart up on a heater and sending the Redhawks back to their dugout empty handed.
For the rest of the game, she was as stout as can be, not a single sign of uncertainty peeking through her confident performance.
And with little support from her offense, Beaubien needed to. She willed her team to a 2-0 victory in the opening game of the NCAA Seattle Regional.
“The most important thing is getting the win,” Beaubien said. “The no-hitter is a fun little accolade, but I think the best thing for me is that it gives you a little more confidence. It shows you what’s working and gives you confidence.”
And in its first non-conference test of the season, the Wolverine pitcher made a statement: Big Ten or not, there’s a reason Michigan has the top-ranked pitching staff in the nation.