To say Katie Alexander has had a power surge is an understatement.
In the past week, the Michigan’s senior catcher has fired four balls out of the park, doubling her home run total from four to eight.
The first of those blasts came in the top of the fourth inning in the series opener against Ohio State. In her next at-bat at the top of the sixth inning, Alexander did it again, sending a long ball straight over the centerfield wall. She was responsible for bringing home three of the Wolverines’ 10 runs in the game.
This wasn’t the first time she’s has had two big flies in a game — and it wouldn’t be the last. Though Alexander hit two homers in a game against Rutgers her sophomore year, the feeling of a multi-home run game still felt fresh as she watched the ball leave the field on Friday.
“I was seeing the ball really well that night,” Alexander said on Sunday. “I was confident and my swing felt really good.”
Alexander continued to see the ball well early the following week against Michigan State. She lit the spark with a homer in the second inning to ignite Michigan’s offense to a 12-1 win over the Spartans. To put the cherry on top, she closed out the game the same way she started it, with another bomb in the seventh inning.
This show of power isn’t typical of Alexander this season, whose last home run before facing the Buckeyes was over a month ago against Kent State. This newfound hitting prowess propelled the Wolverines to victory in the low scoring matchup against the Buckeyes. With the postseason approaching, Alexander’s surge could come in handy for a team not known for their power hitting.
While she’s been a huge asset to the Wolverines recently — driving home eight runs this past week — Alexander has shortcomings offensively. Her batting average has been the lowest of any of the starting players all season. Still, her power adds immense value to the middle of the lineup, serving as a constant threat to the opposing pitcher.
She didn’t get a hit in any of the games against Indiana earlier this month, but her swings have been improving, raising her batting average to .233.
“Offensively, she’s been up and down,” said Michigan coach Carol Hutchins. “She’s been very supportive when we’ve had to utilize other players in place of her — pinch hitters. She’s been taking good care of Michigan and of the game, and I think the game pays you back.”
Maybe her newfound power is the game paying her back, or maybe it’s just sheer determination. Either way, her hot streak is undeniable. Out of her 13 at-bats in the past week, Alexander has six hits, giving her a mark of .462. She’s currently tied with senior first baseman Alex Sobczak for the most home runs on the team.
“It’s great because we come in and work every singe day,” Alexander said. “Obviously, I want to be able to (hit a home run) every single time because I know I can.”
Alexander isn’t alone in her offensive surge. While the Wolverines originally struggled to find power in their lineup, they’ve been steadily improving. In the first month of the season, Michigan averaged just 0.26 homers per game. That number skyrockets to 1.375 per game over the second month and an average of 1.75 per game in the past four games.
This newfound power could make Alexander an integral part of Michigan’s postseason run, where it'll most likely meet a high-caliber opponent which the Wolverines struggled against early on in the season. Michigan still suffers from a lack of production from time to time, like Sunday’s one run series finale against Ohio State.
But if Alexander is able to maintain this hot streak, she may be the key to the Wolverines’ offensive success.