In her 19 seasons coaching at Michigan, Carol Hutchins had never seen a more beautiful day – especially for a doubleheader. And as the sun began to set after the first game, the Wolverines kept shining, routing Eastern Michigan, 7-1 and 10-2.
“This is one of the most beautiful days and evenings that I can remember playing in Michigan softball,” Hutchins said. “It just couldn’t have been better.
“I told the players this is the first Michigan team in history to play under the lights. It’s exciting.”
The lights weren’t needed until about midway through the second game, but Michigan had already lit up the field.
Already with a 1-0 lead after the first inning, Michigan pounded the Eagles in the second.
Jessica Merchant was the catalyst with a lead-off double off the fence in left-center. Merchant had already belted a two-run homerun in the first game.
Grace Leutele fired a single up the middle, advancing Merchant to third. But junior Jessica Olds sent them around as she slammed a homerun into deep leftfield, stretching the lead to four.
Michelle Teschler then dropped in a single and freshman Tiffany Haas struck the top of the wall in left center.
After a single by Meghan Doe, the score was 5-0 – still with no outs.
Melinda Moulden followed with a sacrifice fly, and then Marissa Young cleared the bases with a three-run homerun into left-centerfield.
“We had a lot of good at bats, and we hit the ball well,” Hutchins said.
The seven-run second inning was enough for the Wolverines. The game ended early because of the mercy rule in the sixth after a Moulden homerun.
The ‘M’ tandem of Merchant and Moulden was joined by Lisa Mack as she contributed to the offensive show in the first game with two singles and four RBI’s. Moulden had three hits, including a double to lead off the fifth and a single to lead off the sixth.
“I try to get on base. Other people can hit me in,” Moulden said.
Merchant hit a two-run homerun in the fifth, only her second of the year.
The Wolverines produced 25 hits and four homeruns, proving it to be the most efficient day of the season.