In 2005, then-freshman Samantha Findlay crushed a three-run homer in the tenth inning to seal the National Championship for Michigan.
And in No. 12 Michigan’s five-win sweep of the NFCA Classic in Columbus, Ga., this weekend, she showed she isn’t just a clutch hitter – she’s one of the best sluggers in Michigan history.
With a second-inning grand slam in yesterday’s 9-0 win over Louisiana-Lafayette, the senior slid into first place on Michigan’s all-time career home run list with 47. Jessica Merchant set the previous record of 46 home runs when she graduated in 2005.
“It’s a great accomplishment, knowing that my name gets to be put up with all of the previous people who have been on that list,” Findlay said. “I think that it’s a great honor, knowing that I’ve accomplished something so great in Michigan history.”
The record-setting home run was Findlay’s second of the weekend and capped off a successful weekend for the Wolverines. Michigan (17-2) started Friday with a 2-1 win over No. 18 Mississippi State and a six-inning, 9-1 pounding of UC-Santa Barbara.
Saturday was no different. The Wolverines easily defeated North Carolina State (2-1) and Winthrop (4-1). The next day, Michigan kept its momentum in the win over Louisiana-Lafayette.
“We had a game plan to attack their freshman pitcher (Ashley Brignac) who is very well-regarded,” Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said. “They executed it well, and they were very focused.”
Before yesterday’s win, Michigan was winless in five tries against the Ragin’ Cajuns since 1993.
The Wolverines got to work early when freshman Dorian Shaw hit a solo, two-out home run off Brignac in the second inning.
After a pair of walks and a Ragin’ Cajun error, the bases were loaded with Findlay up.
Behind in the count, Findlay hammered a grand slam over the left-field fence to put the Wolverines up, 5-0. The Michigan bench erupted in cheers as its senior co-captain rounded the bases.
“The way she did it, too, with a grand slam home run, it just adds an emphasis to just how great a hitter she is – how she can stay relaxed under pressure with bases loaded,” sophomore Molly Bausher said.
Sophomore Maggie Viefhaus followed suit in the next at-bat and pounded another one out to the same spot past the left-field fence.
Freshman pitcher Jordan Taylor (10-1) kept the Ragin’ Cajuns at bay, giving up just two hits. Taylor struck out nine batters in the shutout, her third of the season.
“Jordan continues to be very composed on the mound,” Hutchins said. “Most importantly, she’s really even-keel, (has a) great demeanor and she’s doing her part to help us win.”
Sunday’s win marked the Wolverines’ 10th consecutive victory. And with the Big Ten season just a month away, Michigan looks to carry its momentum through its remaining weekend tournaments.
“Everybody felt great coming off of this weekend,” Bausher said. “It’s going to give us more confidence and a boost for the next weekend to come.”