The Michigan softball team has been predictable.
Most games are headlined by star pitchers Alex Storako and Meghan Beaubien. And while the Wolverines often squeak out a win with just enough runs to outscore their opponent, the offense isn’t normally something to marvel over. Batters make contact and get on base, but there is rarely the power to send them across home plate. It’s been the same story for years.
But this weekend, the offense proved it had it in them. It outscored Ohio State by a margin of 23-4 across a slate of four games in which No. 23 Michigan took three of four from the Buckeyes.
Those runs weren’t scored on bloops in the gap, sacrifice bunts nor standard singles, rather a majority of them came via homeruns. The Wolverines launched seven homers over the course of the series in Columbus, which is half of the total homeruns the team has hit this season.
“Well, you know, hitting is contagious so once you bust it open, I mean, it was just kind of like a domino effect after that,” senior first baseman Lou Allan said. “I think that we just were really focusing on trying to hit the ball hard, and that was the whole kind of what the game plan was. We wanted to hit the ball as hard as we could, and really focus on that.”
The team certainly struck with power, with Allan at the forefront. She hit one over the fence all three days of the series and in three out of the four games. Allan walked away with four hits and five RBIs on the weekend, bringing her OPS up to .976 on the year, second behind junior outfielder Lexie Blair.
Blair had a strong weekend herself, nabbing at least one hit in each game of the series, extending her hitting streak to 20 games — all of this year’s games — including her own homer on Sunday.
The biggest hit in the series came in the most lopsided game, one where Michigan found itself winning 11-0 with three total homeruns. The hit was delivered by senior infielder Taylor Bump, who launched the ball far past the fence and into the wall of the building adjacent to the field.
Bump has been banking on this type of a weekend for a while now, putting her faith in her teammates to come through.
“Our Strong Girls, and I’m one of them, we’re supposed to hit the ball far and that’s expected from us. We’re supposed to hit the ball hard,” Bump said two weeks ago.
On who the “Strong Girls” are on the team, Bump had more than just a few names:
“Lou Allan, Hannah Carson, Lexie Blair, Keke Tholl, who is a young freshman, but can hit, she can hit for some power. Sierra Kersten, obviously, can drive the ball. Haley Hoogenraad can get a hold of the ball. Juju (Julia) can get a hold of the ball too.”
As for homeruns this weekend, Allan? Check. Blair? Check. Sophomore infielder Julia Jimenez? Check.
Junior catcher Carson walked away with two doubles on the weekend, and Kersten walked away with a double as well. All in all, the “Strong Girls” showed up to hit.
It wasn’t all home runs and power hitting, though, as Michigan lost Saturday afternoon is a less-than-stellar showing.
“That game was on the offense. Because Meghan pitched her heart out,” Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said.
Still, this past weekend was an improvement for the Wolverines, whose key to success going forward just might be a group of really strong girls.