Lou Allan had the game on her bat.
Right before the senior first baseman walked up to the plate, her teammate — senior third baseman Taylor Bump — just told her to hit to the green because they had runners at second and third and only needed one run. It was a 3-3 game in the bottom of the seventh, after all.
Allan thought to herself, “I can do that.”
The first pitch from Northwestern’s Danielle Williams streaked past Allan’s bat, just outside of the strike zone.
Allan took a steadying breath and wiped the dirt from the plate. This was the moment.
Williams’ next pitch was exactly what Allen wanted, and the ring of the bat’s contact with the ball told Alumni Field it was over. Michigan had won. Allan’s three-run walkoff homerun went further than just the green and sent the Wolverines in the dugout and the crowd into a frenzy.
“I just put a good swing on it,” Allan said postgame. “I mean, I was just trying to hit it to the outfield so that I could score a run and win the game. And I think that that was the best mindset I could have had because it was simple.”
That’s just how the doubleheader went for Michigan. They came up big in the moments that mattered most on Saturday as they took both games against Northwestern.
In the first game, the Wolverines got the clutch performance from another source — junior outfielder Lexie Blair. In the fifth inning, trailing 2-1, Blair found herself at the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. Runs had been hard to come by to this point in the game, so Blair needed to take advantage of her opportunity.
She hit one that went streaking low just out of reach of Northwestern’s shortstop Maeve Nelson. The ball’s journey continued along the turf past the Wildcats outfield — all the way until the far wall stopped its momentum. By the time Northwestern outfielder Angela Zedak corralled the ball and looked toward the infield, the bases had already been cleared and Blair was making her way home. An inside-the-park grand slam.
But again, that’s just how Michigan played all day Saturday.
“Sometimes I give them the one thing that they need to do without making it a big old mechanical thing,” Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said about her role at third base, trying to keep her batters in it. “But we try to keep Lexie Blair in her back heel and try to keep her loose, really strong in her feet. They work on it all the time. So it’s just a reminder.”
And, it wasn’t just clutch plays from the offense. Senior pitcher Meghan Beaubien made some big plays of her own in the second game on Saturday.
After an RBI double from sophomore pitcher Chandler Dennis to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth, Beaubien knew it was on her to keep the game a tie until her offense could get back at the plate.
She did just that. Beaubien kept the game tied through the top of the seventh, giving her team a chance to go for the win.
“I just knew it was important to go in there and get some quick outs and keep the momentum going for my team,” Beaubien said. “But again, I was really trying to focus on one pitch at a time and just one thought to focus on and not to overthink anything.”
The clutch performances from multiple players earned Michigan the doubleheader sweep on Saturday. No moment was too grand and no opportunity was wasted, because whenever the game was on the line, the Wolverines performed.