On Tuesday evening, the No. 2 Michigan softball team (14-1 Big Ten, 41-6 overall) continued its recent theme of early struggles and late breakthroughs.

Through the first four innings of the matchup against visiting Western Michigan (6-12 MAC, 11-23 overall), the Wolverine lineup left eight runners on base before the hitters found their groove in a five-run fifth inning. The first batter of the sixth — junior first baseman Dorian Shaw — slammed a pitch over the center field fence to end the game mercy-rule style, 9-1.

Freshman pitcher Stephanie Speierman received the win in just her second start of the season. She gave up one run on two hits over her three innings of work. But not everything was working for her, as she walked four and was replaced by senior left-hander Nikki Nemitz in the fourth. Nemitz didn’t allow a hit and struck out seven in three innings.

Sophomore second baseman Amanda Chidester and senior third baseman Maggie Viefhaus had home runs of their own as well. Viefhaus briefly took over the team lead in home runs with 16 before Shaw tied it up yet again in the sixth frame.

On Wednesday evening, the Wolverines host Eastern Michigan, with junior Jordan Taylor likely get the start.

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