As she waited for the game to resume during a second-inning injury timeout, Michigan freshman first baseman Dorian Shaw tossed a ground ball to sophomore Molly Bausher.
In textbook form, Bausher planted her left leg and winged the ball back across the infield – right into the Michigan dugout.
As the warm-up throw sailed over Shaw’s head, it appeared the Wolverines’ normally reliable infield defense might become a liability after the loss of junior Teddi Ewing, the team’s regular shortstop.
The Olathe, Kan., native received a deep gash on her leg in a collision yesterday while covering second base in the second inning of Michigan’s series-opener against Illinois. Michigan coach Carol Hutchins moved Bausher from her usual spot in centerfield over to shortstop.
Bausher started at second base for Michigan last year before moving to centerfield this season, so she was familiar with infield defense. But her experience at shortstop was limited to just a few fall scrimmages.
“I was playing outfield, so I was used to having a totally different approach to my throwing,” Bausher said. “I just had to get back to my infield throw.”
Bausher’s errant warm-up toss was her only miscue of the day, as she easily handled the one ground ball hit to her.
In the top of the fourth inning, Danielle Vaji slapped a ball to short. Bausher backhanded it in the hole, planted and threw across to first.
It was just like in warm-ups, except this time the ball slammed right into Shaw’s glove.
Bumbling baserunners: In two games against Illinois Sunday, Michigan put 32 runners on base.
Thirteen of those runners crossed the plate, and Michigan won comfortably in both games.
But the output could have been much greater.
Sloppy baserunning cost the Wolverines potential runs in three consecutive innings in the second game, when Michigan led 1-0.
With no outs in the second inning, freshman Alycia Ryan was on third base and Shaw on second. Hutchins told Ryan to make sure any ball hit on the ground traveled beyond the infield before breaking for home.
But when sophomore Roya St. Clair grounded the ball to short, Ryan took off at the crack of the bat and was gunned down easily at the plate.
“Those kind of mistakes make you edgy when you’re coaching,” Hutchins said.
An inning later, senior Alessandra Giampaolo broke for second on contact, but senior Samantha Findlay popped up her bunt attempt. The Illinois first baseman raced in and snagged the ball out of the air. Giampaolo, who had run nearly all the way to second base, was easily doubled off.
Michigan scored four runs in the sixth inning to render the baserunning follies moot, but Hutchins knows that might not always be the case.
“I have confidence in my pitching,” Hutchins said. “But it’s hard to expect your pitching to hold a team to no runs.”
Notes: Three sets of metal bleachers were delivered before Sunday’s first game, bringing Alumni Field’s total capacity to more than 2,800 . Samantha Findlay didn’t drive home any runs this weekend. She remains tied for the Michigan career RBI record with 184 . Maggie Viefhaus’ third-inning home run was the first round-tripper by a Michigan batter at the newly-renovated Alumni Field. As she rounded the bases, an air raid-style siren sounded, and team personnel threw t-shirts to fans in the grandstand.