Perfection was missed by a matter of inches.
Through five and two-thirds innings, freshman left-hander Meghan Beaubien had retired every batter she faced. With two outs and two strikes at the bottom of the sixth inning, Beaubien threw two straight balls to load the count. On the final pitch of the at-bat, centerfielder Kassidy Cross was able to check her swing to prevent Beaubien from recording her twelfth strikeout and continue her perfect-game bid.
Beaubien remained composed, though, retiring every batter she faced after Cross –– earning her third no-hitter of the season.
“She’s as mentally tough a kid – especially as a freshman – as I’ve ever seen,” said Michigan coach Carol Hutchins. “… She has a part to do for us and her job is to minimize the opponent’s offense. She does that very well, whether she gives up a walk.”
In six innings pitched, Beaubien struck out 11 batters, and the No. 14 Michigan softball team went on to win 8-0 –– sweeping Maryland and extending its win streak to 14. The combination of off-speed pitches with Beaubien’s electric fastball kept hitters off balance all game as she surpassed 200 strikeouts on the season with a 0.74 earned run average.
The offense wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. Junior second baseman Faith Canfield led off the game with a home run to left-center field on the second pitch she saw.
“I haven’t hit a homerun in a while,” Canfield said. “So, it felt pretty good, and it’s such a good way to start the game. It kinda just sets the bar for the rest of the game.”
Canfield added: “She started out with a strike which was in the same spot as the ball I hit. I was just looking for that inside pitch and just turned on it.”
Canfield would go on to record two more hits and a walk on the afternoon.
Freshman designated player Lou Allan recorded her first hit in eight games — a two-RBI line-drive home run to left field in the second inning to give Michigan a 3-0 lead.
“It felt awesome just to hit it in front of your home crowd,” Allan said. “I haven’t done that yet so being able to go up there and – I was just looking for a good pitch. I wasn’t trying to do anything crazy. I just wanted to break out of my little slump that I’ve had and just hit the ball.”
The Wolverines scored in each of the first four innings of the game, and aggressive base running contributed, in-part, to four fielding errors by the Terrapins.
In the bottom of the third inning, senior utility player Nikki Wald rounded second when senior right fielder Aidan Falk reached base on an error. The subsequent throw from Maryland first baseman Taylor Wilson soared over third baseman Brigette Nordberg and into the Terrapin dugout, allowing Wald to score. Katie Alexander followed up by hitting a blooper RBI-single to center field and advanced to second base on the throw.
“Getting bases has been a main goal for us,” Canfield said. “So just taking advantage of what they’re giving us, if its walks, if its errors, no matter what just taking advantage of that. And I think that was a huge improvement this weekend.”
After the first three batters reached base in the bottom of the sixth inning, senior first baseman Tera Blanco hit the game-ending RBI-single past shortstop Bailey Boyd.
The Wolverines have now won 32 of their last 33 games and currently sit atop the Big Ten standings with their next opponent, Indiana, trailing by half a game.