Tera Blanco dug in at the plate and waited for the pitch. The count was 3-2, and the sophomore first baseman was battling against Rutgers pitcher Whitney Jones as senior right fielder Kelsey Susalla stood on second base.

Blanco had been hit by a pitch twice already during the nine pitch at-bat, but the home plate umpire ruled she had made no attempt to avoid both pitches and thus did not grant her a free base. The second ruling had even resulted in coach Carol Hutchins arguing at home plate on Blanco’s behalf, but to no avail.

And on the tenth pitch of the at-bat, Blanco made Jones and the Scarlet Knights pay, launching the ball over the centerfield wall for a two-run home run.

The home run was emblematic of No. 2 Michigan’s performance — it could hardly do wrong as it finished off its sweep of Rutgers (8-15 Big Ten, 24-32 overall) with a 8-0, run-rule victory Sunday on Senior Day.

The Wolverines (21-2, 44-4) cruised to the easy victory behind a shutout performance from junior right-hander Megan Betsa, who struck out eight in just four innings pitched, and a balanced attack from the offense, with five players reaching base at least twice.

“I was concerned that there could (have been) some letdown,” Hutchins said. “We clinched yesterday, and that was kind of my pregame message: respect the game, and you have the chance to play the game today. There’s no such thing as a meaningless game. I thought they did a great job of representing the game well today.

“I was pleased with them today, and hopefully I’ll be pleased with them Tuesday (at practice).”

Like it did all weekend, Michigan wasted little time getting on the scoreboard. Senior second baseman Sierra Romero opened things up by cranking a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning, and the scoring would only continue from there. The Wolverines put up two runs each in the second and third innings and tallied three runs in the fourth.

And once fifth-year senior right-hander Sara Driesenga — who entered the game in relief for Betsa in the fifth inning — had secured the final out to end the game on account of the run-rule, the festivities began as Michigan honored its seven seniors and their families before celebrating its ninth consecutive Big Ten title, clinched in Saturday’s win over Rutgers.

Hutchins, who was unable to avoid a Gatorade bath courtesy of Betsa during the postgame celebration, reflected upon her graduating class which has won 202 games during its time in Ann Arbor with the potential for more as the team enters the postseason on a 17-game winning streak.

“They just like to have fun,” Hutchins said. “Ultimately, I hope that when they look back on their season and when they look back on their careers, they will look back with really big hearts (and think) this was the best time of their life.”

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