Only one run separated the Michigan softball team and No. 13 Florida State heading into the seventh inning Friday night. The Seminoles scored a run in the bottom of the sixth inning to cut Michigan’s lead to one.
Then, the top of the second-ranked Wolverines’ lineup came up to bat.
After senior centerfielder Sierra Lawrence reached first base on an error, the stage was set for senior second basemen Sierra Romero to make her mark.
Despite being hitless in three at-bats, Romero quickly put those struggles to bed as she launched a home run over the right-field fence, giving the Wolverines a 5-2 lead.
Michigan scored another insurance run in the inning, giving fifth-year right hander Sara Driesenga all the help she needed to close out the game and give the Wolverines (8-1) a 6-2 victory over the Seminoles.
“We expect things to be close,” said Michigan coach Carol Hutchins. “It was a tight game, but we kept swinging away.”
That set the tone for the Wolverines’ 4-0 weekend in which two wins came against Florida State.
After Friday night’s explosive finish, the Wolverines regrouped for a Saturday matchup against Virginia Tech, a team they beat 3-1 last weekend.
Saturday’s matinee, in stark contrast to the night before, was smooth sailing as junior right-hander Megan Betsa and sophomore right-hander Tera Blanco stifled the Hokies’ hitters at every turn to ensure a 6-1 win. The pair combined to record nine strikeouts while only allowing one hit.
With the pitching staff locked in, Michigan’s hitters soon also found themselves in rhythm in the bottom of the third inning.
Romero hit another two-run home run, with Lawrence crossing the plate first again. Then, hits started pouring in as Blanco singled, sophomore catcher Aidan Falk ripped a hit into center field, and freshman infielder Faith Canfield notched an RBI. The big inning propelled the Wolverines to a victory.
“(Lawrence) getting on base is critical for our offense,” Hutchins said. “When she is doing her part of leadoff hitter, it really helps our offense.”
Saturday night brought another date with Florida State as the host Seminoles looked to even their series with Michigan. But the Wolverines weren’t fazed, continuing to hit the ball well in the third inning.
Falk, continuing her fine weekend play, got the big inning going with a single. Junior shortstop Abby Ramirez followed Falk’s single with a hit, and sophomore infielder Amanda Vargas tallied up a single of her own as the runs started to pile up. By the end of the half-inning, Michigan built up a 6-0 lead to take all of Florida State’s momentum. Driesenga and Betsa dealt with the Seminoles’ lineup with ease as the Wolverines won, 10-3.
Sunday morning dealt the Wolverines a familiar opponent in Virginia Tech. From the start, it was not close.
A Lawrence hit, a Ramirez triple, a Romero single and a RBI line drive from Sobczak got the Wolverines off to a roaring start. The entire lineup came up to bat in the inning.
Driesenga put an exclamation point on her fine weekend, tossing six innings of nearly flawless softball, racking up three strikeouts and only giving up one earned run.
Freshman right-hander Leah Crockett made her collegiate debut in the seventh inning and closed out a 9-1 win for the Wolverines.