That’s how many runs the Michigan softball team scored in its four-game sweep of Penn State this weekend.
The Wolverines’ previous best total for runs in a series, recorded a little less than a month ago against Ohio State.
The offensive explosion for Michigan was the catalyst to the four wins it enjoyed this weekend and is indicative of the team’s trend over the past month.
In the first game in Saturday’s double-header, Michigan came one run short of their best single-game run total of 11 in a 10-0 victory. They followed that game up with their best output of the season in a 12-2 victory. Both games ended in a six-inning mercy rule.
It wasn’t just one or two players providing the offense for the Wolverines — they got production out of almost everybody on the weekend. 12 different Michigan players got hits throughout the four-game set, and 11 drove home at least one run. Sophomore utility player Audrey Leclair recorded her first collegiate hit and RBI, showcasing the offensive depth that was on display all weekend.
Despite the team’s overall offensive success, some players stood above the rest.
Senior first baseman Lou Allan was the driving force behind the Wolverine offense and was a constant presence in the box score. Allan tallied two hits in all four games, drove home nine runs and hit her eighth home run of the year, tying for the team lead with senior third baseman Taylor Bump.
Bump also continued her upward-trending offensive production over the weekend. She tallied seven hits, six runs, six RBI and two home runs in the four-game set.
“I think that’s what your hope is as a staff and as a program, that your seniors play their best ball in their final year. And, that’s exactly what we’re seeing right now,” Michigan assistant coach Bonnie Tholl said last week. “ I think that … Taylor Bump and Lou Allan have never been more productive in a Michigan uniform than they have been over the past month, and I’m super excited for them. Because this is what everyone hopes their senior year is like.”
It wasn’t just the seniors showing out either. Sophomore second baseman Julia Jimenez and junior outfielder Lexie Blair had strong individual showings of their own.
Jimenez secured a hit in all four games — multiple hits in three of the four — drove in three runs and scored two runs herself. After only managing one hit last weekend, Jimenez bounced back with her strongest weekend of the year.
Blair simply continued producing as she has done all year. The Wolverines’ leader in batting average got four hits and RBI, while also scoring six runs for her team.
“We all just have one common goal,” Blair said. “Just to be on time, play with one heartbeat, and just focus on having quality at bats, you can, if you’re fouling off 8, 10, 12 pitches and you end up striking out we still consider that quality at bat because you made the pitcher work, you’re seeing the ball.”
The ease at which Michigan produced runs all weekend hasn’t been there all season.
At the beginning of the year when the Wolverines played their games in Florida, they frequently struggled to find consistent offense. To win games, Michigan had to rely on its stellar pitching, with final scores being relatively low. But the Wolverines have slowly righted the ship since then, finding offense not only more frequently but with a greater consistency. That trend culminated in their performance against the Nittany Lions.
“I mean we were not swinging well (in the early season), we weren’t striking out, we weren’t swinging well,” Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said last week. “We were very disconnected and what I can tell you is … I’ve never spent more time on the field with the hitters, we have just worked really hard to get our kids connected.”
“And they’ve responded.”