If Michigan’s dynamic duo of pitchers, Marissa Young and Nicole Motycka, continue to dominate the Big Ten, then only Mother Nature can keep the Wolverines from winning.
Michigan’s last four games before its competition this weekend had been cancelled, and while the layoff slowed down the Wolverines’ offense, their tag team on the mound showed no signs of being rusty.
The duo dominated a pair of good hitting teams in Minnesota and Wisconsin, allowing just one earned run in four games this weekend.
Young started the weekend off right, tossing a one-hit, complete-game gem Friday in Madison. Young struck out 10 and walked just one, and she had a shutout until she allowed a run in the sixth inning. On the other side of the ball, Young herself supplied some of the run support she needed, belting a solo homer in the second inning.
In Saturday’s game, Young relieved Motycka in the sixth inning and shut the door on the Badgers as the Wolverines squeaked out a 2-1 win.
The first game of yesterday’s doubleheader saw Young throwing like her usual dominant self, striking out nine and allowing just a solo homerun.
In the second game with Motycka on the mound, the sophomore found herself cruising until the seventh inning when she surrendered three hits and a run. With just one out and the tying run at the plate, Michigan coach Carol Hutchins put in Liz Elsner at first base to allow Young to warm up in the bullpen. But Hutchins kept Motycka in, and she retired the next two batters to end the game.
“Nicole did really well,” Young said. “Minnesota is a really good hitting team. She just kept them off balance and let the defense make plays.”
After mustering just 11 runs in the four games this weekend, Michigan needed these stellar performances on the mound.
During her team’s nine-day layoff due to cancelled games, Hutchins focused on keeping her two hurlers ready, and the plan paid off. The team simulated games indoors with Young and Motycka pitching.