SEATTLE — It was fitting that the game ended on a strikeout.
Senior lefty pitcher Meghan Beaubien capped off her no-hitter in style with her 12th strikeout of the game, and finished off Michigan’s (37-6) 2-0 victory in their opening game of NCAA regional play.
“I honestly think I had a little bit of everything going,” Beaubien said. “There were points in the game where I felt maybe one pitch was a little off for a batter, but I always had something else I could go to and something else that was working for me. I think a combination of everything I got was really going for me today that helps keep hitters off balance.”
It was a pitcher’s duel all game on Friday.
Beaubien controlled play while she was on the mound. Through two innings, the southpaw struckout six opposing batters while allowing not a single hit. Seattle’s Carley Nance did her job on the mound as well, even though she allowed more Wolverines to get to base.
And after two innings of dominance from Beaubien, it was the outfield who stepped up to end the top of the third quickly. A pair of throws from senior shortstop Natalia Rodriguez to first, beating out the runner, sandwiched a routine catch by junior outfielder Lexie Blair for all three outs in a quick inning.
The offense continued the trend of speed with Blair making contact with the first pitch thrown her way to for a leadoff single. A quick bunt from Rodriguez gave Michigan runners at first and second. But two popouts from the Wolverines main sources of power — senior third baseman Taylor Bump and senior first baseman Lou Allan — only could advance Blair to third. It was an errant pitch from Nance that was what drove in a game-deciding run for Michigan, making it 1-0.
But Beaubien kept on pitching, which meant the Redhawks continued to struggle to find offense.
Michigan’s inability to stretch its lead enough kept Seattle in the game until the end. And, while a bottom of the sixth solo home run from Bump gave them a bit of insurance, the Redhwaks had an opportunity to tie or take the lead in the top of the seventh.
But, the story was the same. Three up, three down and the score went final.
“It’s just a different atmosphere to step on the field in the postseason,” Beaubien said. “And it just feels different too, a new place, and it feels like a new environment and I think the key to that is realizing that it’s the same game. No matter how much the game is hyped up by the outside, just staying within the game and staying within ourselves.”