That’s the most runs the No. 14 Michigan softball team had given up all season as it came against Indiana on Saturday. On Tuesday, the team surrendered eight runs to Western Michigan (12-9 MAC, 25-21 overall) in what was the Wolverines’ worst loss of the season.
Senior right-hander Tera Blanco started in the circle against the Broncos at Alumni Field. After a 1-2-3 first inning, Blanco ran into trouble in the second. A walk and a pair of singles loaded the bases with no outs, setting the table for first baseman Marlee Wilson who laced a two-RBI single down the third base line and gave her team a 2-0 lead.
Although Michigan cut the deficit to 2-1 in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI single from freshman shortstop Natalia Rodriguez, Eastern Michigan tacked on two more runs in the third inning to extend the lead, 4-1. The Broncos had Blanco’s number early, and she was pulled for freshman left-hander Sarah Schaefer after surrendering the third run of the game.
In a game where no Wolverine hitter recorded more than a single hit and the defense –– which ranks second in the nation in fielding percentage –– committed two errors, a comeback was out of the question.
“There wasn’t one aspect of our game that was even average,” said Michigan coach Carol Hutchins. “And our offense was absolutely horrible. We didn’t know a ball from a strike all night and nobody made an adjustment, nobody did anything different…those who are willing to change can get on the bus tomorrow.”
Eastern Michigan went on to score four more runs to Michigan’s one additional run in the fifth inning, and the game ended with a score of 8-2 –– the first home loss of the season for the Wolverines.
A lack of effort, sloppy play and the absence of plate discipline brought forth the team’s worst performance of the season. As the regular season comes to a close, Michigan can ill afford to play at this level if they hope to retain their half-game lead in the Big Ten. They will resume conference play on Wednesday in East Lansing against Michigan State (7-11, 21-24) in a one-off game before wrapping up the regular season with a home series against fourth-place Ohio State (13-6, 32-11).