LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Senior Samantha Findlay didn’t need to record a hit in the Michigan softball team’s 5-2 win over Louisville to make her presence felt.
Her vocal leadership was what No. 9 Michigan needed to ignite a stagnant offense Sunday at Ulmer Stadium.
In the top of the fifth, with the bases loaded and Michigan down by one run, Findlay was on first after being walked. When sophomore Maggie Viefhaus was down 0-2 in the count, Findlay got loud.
The second baseman yelled words of encouragement to Viefhaus loud enough to be heard in the stands.
The spark worked. Viefhaus hit a double to drive in two runs and give the Wolverines a lead they never relinquished.
“People are going to minimize Sam Findlay,” Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said. “But her energy, her consistent leadership – she didn’t cave in and swing at some of the pitches they threw. Sam has just been an outstanding leader for us.”
As senior captains, Findlay and Alessandra Giampaolo led the young Wolverines to two come-from-behind wins over the weekend. There was a noticeable change in Michigan’s demeanor as it rallied and shut down Louisville late in both victories.
“They really stepped up this weekend, and I don’t mean just because they hit the ball,” Hutchins said. “They both are leading this team right now the way I want it led – by example.”
Fantastic freshman: Pitcher Jordan Taylor showed maturity beyond her limited experience on the mound in the tournament. The freshman’s stellar weekend included her first career no-hitter in Saturday’s 12-0 stomping of Miami (Ohio).
“I wasn’t expecting to do that at all this year,” Taylor said. “It’s really cool to have that notch on my belt.”
In Sunday’s win, Taylor got hot early. She had seven strikeouts by the third inning and ended the game with 12.
“It’s really awesome to see a freshman step up and not even act like a freshman,” Giampaolo said. “She’s acting like she’s been there for years.”
Tournament Titans: Riding a 14-game win streak, the Wolverines have rolled through five weekend tournaments with a 21-2 record.
This weekend was Michigan’s first competition after a two-week hiatus. With one more tournament before Big Ten play begins in two weeks, the Wolverines needed a solid showing in Louisville against three unranked teams.
“This just shows that we can come back after a break and pick up right where we left off,” Viefhaus said. “We just have to keep it going, to build from here.”