Oklahoma City, Okla. In Michigan”s first game of the Women”s College World Series, it was its offense that failed as it was unable to score one run in its 2-0 loss to Oklahoma. In the second game, it was its defense the strength of the team that failed. A season-high four errors led to four unearned California runs in the 5-2 loss which eliminated the Wolverines from the WCWS.
“Defense has been our forte all year, we”ve been stellar at it and we didn”t have it today,” second-team All-American Melissa Taylor said.
Michigan committed just four errors one other time during the season, a 5-2 loss to DePaul on March 30.
“It is hard to go out like that in your last game. It wasn”t the greatest game we”ve played,” senior Chrissy Garza said.
The game began well for the Wolverines as Stefanie Volpe hit a two-run homerun to give Michigan a 2-0 lead after three scoreless innings. Volpe attempted two bunts before sending the ball over the right field fence.
“It was and up pitch and it wasn”t a perfect strike. I just got on top of it and got it out,” Volpe said.
With her fourth homerun of the season, Volpe became the second player in Michigan history to hit a homerun in the WCWS.
California loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth on two walks and a single off senior Marie Barda. Marissa Young came on in relief of Barda and struck out the first batter she faced.
An inside pitch by Young caught California”s Amber Phillips, which brought home the Golden Bears” first run. Young nearly hit the next batter, Mikella Pedretti, who thought she had been hit in the wrist but was overruled by the home plate umpire. Young then struck out Pedretti and forced a ground out to end the inning.
Young”s second strikeout of the game gave her 185 for the season, breaking the previous best of 184 by Sara Griffin.
California got its first lead of the game in the next inning as an error by catcher Kim Bugel led to two runs for the Golden Bears.
The flood gates opened in the sixth inning as the Golden Bears scored two more runs off errors by the Volpe, Garza and Taylor.
“We were in the game and the wheels kind of came off,” Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said.
The three-run deficit was too much to overcome for Michigan as it couldn”t manage a hit in its final at-bat.
Michigan pitched away from California power-hitter, Veronica Nelson, which paid off as the firstbaseman failed to score or drive in a run.
“The game plan going in was not to pitch to Veronica Nelson,” Hutchins said.
Michigan finishes with a record of 43-17-1 and as the regular season Big Ten champions. The Wolverines lost just six of their last 36 games to earn the No. 4 seed at the WCWS.
“We have to be proud of what we accomplished this year,” Garza said.
This past season marked the fourth appearance for Michigan at the WCWS. The Wolverines have a combined record of 2-10.