In the final bout of the four-game series, Michigan didn’t just bring out the brooms, it brought out the rakes.
With 3 homeruns in the game on a total of 12 hits, the 22nd-ranked Wolverines (21-4 Big Ten) crushed the Terrapins (11-17) in an 8-0 run-rule victory. It marked the sixth-straight win for the Michigan softball team and completed its weekend sweep of Maryland.
It began with the Wolverines’ first batter. Junior outfielder Lexie Blair battled the count to reach base on a walk before advancing to second on a wild pitch, then third on a sac bunt by teammate Natalia Rodriguez. A pitch in the dirt skipped off Terrapin catcher Katie Dustin’s pad and trickled behind her. Blair blitzed home, and in a close race, pitcher Courtney Wyche fumbled the ball trying to apply the tag, letting Blair score the first run for the Wolverines.
On the very next pitch, senior first baseman Lou Allan hit a rope to right-center which passed just above the fence and came back into play. Allan slid into second, not realizing she hit a homerun. After seeing the umpire’s signal, she got up, laughed it off and finished rounding the bases to give Michigan a 2-0 lead.
The offensive onslaught never let up. In the second, senior third baseman Taylor Bump hit it to left-center for a home run that bounced once and hopped over a wall into Ray Fisher Stadium.
In the third, Allan blasted a second homer, launched high over the left field wall for a solo shot to open the inning, her second of the game. Later in the frame, Bump knocked a single into the outfield, scoring sophomore utility player Lauren Esman and fifth-year senior outfielder Haley Hoogenraad from second and first, respectively.
Sitting at a score of 6-0, Michigan didn’t take its foot off the gas. Blair hit a rope over the Maryland shortstop’s outstretched glove to reach base, which was then followed by a Rodriguez triple to send Blair home. Rodriguez scored on a wild pitch to put Michigan above the run-rule lead threshold of eight runs. The bottom of the fourth ended with freshman Kaylee Rodriguez getting thrown out at home and freshman pinch-hitter Keke Tholl grounding out.
Defensively, the Wolverines didn’t let up either. Junior right-hander Alex Storako threw four whole innings with nine strikeouts and just two hits. Once Michigan had their sizeable lead in the top of the fifth, senior right-hander Sarah Schaeffer came in for Storako. Schaeffer closed out the game, fielding the final out herself, converting the play with a throw that beat the runner at first.
In the Wolverines’ first series at Alumni Field in nearly two years, they came away with the sweep.