As senior second baseman Sierra Romero made her way around third base after her two-run homer Friday, a mob of Wolverines were there waiting to greet her. But one player had already crossed home plate before her: senior center fielder Sierra Lawrence, who scored from first on the blast.
“If I can get on base, I am really confident she is going to be able to hit me in,” Lawrence said. “If she doesn’t do it once, then she will eventually get me in, because it is hard to get her out that many times.”
Though she benefited from a throwing error that allowed her to reach first base, the run exemplified Lawrence’s knack of getting on base in a myriad of fashions, whether it be by a hit, a walk or an error.
Lawrence racked up the hits, totaling seven of them in four games against the Seminoles and Virginia Tech — with one of them against the Seminoles being a three-run homer. Out of her 16 at-bats, Lawrence reached base nine times. Her .500 batting average in those four games did not go unnoticed, as she nabbed the Big Ten Player of the Week award.
Having Lawrence on base so often in the first spot of the lineup puts Michigan consistently in a place where it is able to score. In three of the Wolverines’ four games, Lawrence hit a single in her first at-bat, eventually scoring on two of them.
Michigan’s high-scoring offense possesses an abundance of talented hitters: Romero is a fearful presence early on, senior outfielder Kelsey Susalla an effective clean-up hitter and freshman catcher Alex Sobczak provides mettle at the bottom of the lineup. But it all starts with Lawrence. She sets the tone with her calm demeanor, patient hitting style and ability to make contact.
“(Lawrence) getting on base is critical for our offense,” said coach Carol Hutchins. “When she is doing her part of leadoff hitter, it really helps our offense.”
The calm and collected Lawrence exudes a swagger at the plate that translates onto the base path. She stole two bases versus the Seminoles and Virginia Tech, giving her a team high of four this season.
“When I get on base, it puts a lot of pressure on the other pitcher,” Lawrence said.
Getting on base is not the only consistent part of her game. She has been flawless in center field this season. In fact, Lawrence has just four errors in four years in Ann Arbor, with a .977 career-fielding percentage.
“Having Sierra out there … calms (Susalla and me) down,” said junior left fielder Kelly Christner. “Even if there is a ball coming in between me and (Lawrence), I know which ones she can get to and which ones I can get to.”
As she continues to close the gaps in the outfield, reach base in a constant manner and make herself the key to the Wolverines’ success, Lawrence will not be overlooked by opposing pitchers and coaches. It is easy to expect that there will be more of Lawrence greeting Romero at the plate, with the scoreboard rewarding them every time.